A group of gay evangelical Christians have claimed that they are being forced to leave their churches due to their sexuality.
In a report in The Sunday Times, seven evangelical Christians spoke out about the mistreatment they say they have experienced due to their sexuality.
Several have claimed they were “booted out” of the Church by clergy after coming out, while others state they were allowed to remain but prevented from taking any meaningful role in the congregation, with some even being banned from making tea and coffee.
Noted gay rights activist Jayne Ozanne is one of the people to come forward and says she has heard “dozens” of similar stories recently.
The activist told The Times that these stories were likely to prompt a “#MeToo” movement within the church.
Ozanne previously sat on the Archbishop’s Council from 1999 to 2004 was originally part of the Orthodox wing of the church, prior to coming out as a lesbian in 2015.
At next month’s meeting of the General Synod – the governing body of the Church of England – Ozanne intends to raise these issues and ask whether these churches are breaking official Church of England guidelines.
Several other LGBT Christians told their stories to The Times, including one woman in her thirties who was condemned by her priest after he discovered she was in a lesbian affair.
The unnamed woman said: “He told me I had to stop this relationship immediately. I could have the thoughts, but not act.
“I was a Sunday club leader, a women’s study group leader. I was booted out within three weeks.
“They don’t think fundamentalist Christians would behave like that… My parents would have described it as a cult. My non-Christian friends think it is barking mad.”
A former youth leader in the north of England was reportedly asked to step down from his position because he was in a civil partnership, despite staying celibate.
Other Christians were reportedly chastised for showing support for LGBT people on social media.
In May, the Church of England appointed a new Bishop who stated that the institution must do more to reach out to LGBT Christians.
It was announced in May that Rev. Vivienne Faull, who is currently Dean of York, would become the next Bishop of Bristol.
Christian Today notes that Faull is an outspoken supporter of LGBT-inclusive Christianity, who has previously criticised the Church’s “dreadful” stance on gay unions.
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The Church does not permit members of the clergy to perform or bless same-sex weddings, though they are permitted to carry out informal prayers.
Speaking to the Radio Times in 2014, she said: “That’s a very, very significant change [on LGBT issues] and I’m not sure the House of Bishops has quite got that.
“It’s very difficult for leaders of organisations to be right in touch with how fast things are changing in the country.”
She said: “The blessing of a gay relationship is not theologically a problem for me personally, but I’m under the discipline of the Church and I keep the rules.
“[But] when people have come to me in the past and said, ‘We’re looking for a way of celebrating our civil partnership, how shall we do it?’, we’ve found ways of doing it.
She added of the Church’s ban on gay blessings: “I’m getting approached by young people of the same gender planning their marriages.
“They understand in their heads what the Church’s position is, but they no longer understand in their hearts.
“It’s driving people away and that’s dreadful.”
Faull joins a number of other Bishops who believe in reform on the issue.