Church of England Bishop becomes a patron of Pride event
A Church of England Bishop has become a patron of his local Pride event.
The Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev Paul Bayes, was announced as a patron for the Liverpool Pride festival, which takes place this month.
The church leader is a strong proponent of LGBT rights, supporting equal marriage and backing a recent motion calling for a ban on gay ‘cure’ therapy.
In a statement, the Bishop referenced the homophobic murder of local gay teen Michael Causer.
The Bishop said: “Ever since the tragic death of Michael Causer, Liverpool Pride has stood for the struggle for justice as well as the celebration of LGBTI+ life in our city and region.
“I am privileged to identify with Pride’s contribution to tackling prejudice and promoting awareness of the richness of our LGBTI+ community.
“As a Christian, I really believe that Jesus wants a community where all are included and free from fear.
“Now we all know that the Christian church in general, and the Church of England as part of that, can get itself into a twist over inclusion and equality issues. I myself have been advocating in the church for LGBTI+ inclusion, and all Christians have to agree that homophobia and hate crime are evil and are to be resisted.
“At the recent meeting of our General Synod the Church of England made some clear and positive statements resisting so-called conversion therapy and exploring services of welcome for trans people who want their true identity to be recognised before God.
“When I came to Liverpool three years ago and met LGBTI+ Christians across Merseyside, and in particular our Open Table LGBTI+ Christian community, I saw again the real joy we can know as a church when we are open and welcoming to all.”
Liverpool Pride’s Lucy Day added: “We are all delighted that the Bishop is to be a patron of Liverpool Pride, and we welcome him to the Liverpool Pride family. We’re very much looking forward to him joining us at Pride weekend this month.
“Pride respects people of all religious beliefs.”
The Bishop will address the crowd at the launch of the Pride parade later this month.
Liverpool Pride 2017 takes place on Saturday 29 July and Sunday 30 July.
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The free Pride festival, sponsored by Barclays, will be headlined by Atomic Kitten.
Meanwhile, a host of Liverpool landmarks will be lit in rainbow colours as part of the Come Out of the Shadows initiative – helping make Liverpool the most visibly LGBT+ city in the UK.
The Bishop recently admitted that some of his ultra-conservative colleagues refuse to be in the same room as him.
Rt Rev Paul Bayes wrote in a blog post: “My own experience, since I began speaking out for the beginnings of change in the Church, is that I am profoundly suspected by many who disagree with me and that indeed some of them cannot in conscience remain in the same room as me, or work with me.
“This has not made me change my mind, but it does help me to understand still further what it is to be a bishop, a bastard bishop, in the Church today.”