fbpx In the Name of Love: The Bible, Gender Identity and Same-Sex Relationships | Open Church Network
14th November 2018
In the Name of Love: The Bible, Gender Identity and Same-Sex Relationships

A series of one-day events hitting towns and cities around the UK in 2019:

  • 23 February 2019 –Bristol - FINISHED
  • 6 April 2019 – Birmingham - FINISHED
  • 27 April 2019 – Salford, Greater Manchester - BOOK NOW
  • 18 May 2019 – Sheffield - BOOK NOW
  • 22 June 2019 – Southampton - BOOK NOW

In 2019, Steve Chalke, founder of Oasis, and the team from the Open Church Network will be travelling to some of the UK’s biggest towns and cities for a series of one-day events to explore the Bible, gender-identity and same-sex relationships. 

The events are aimed at the significant number of Christians in UK churches who long to celebrate their friends and family who are in same-sex relationships - or loved ones with a non-traditional understanding of their gender - but just can’t make their peace with the bits of the Bible that seem to oppose LGBT inclusion. 

It will also be a vital event for those who already support LGBT inclusion but want to be more confident in speaking out about it at church and help their local community take the next step in its journey.

At each event, Steve will be joined by a team of expert speakers – including many people who identify as LGBT – to explore:

  • What the Bible really says about same-sex relationships
  • How we apply the message of scripture to understanding gender-identity and gender-transition
  • The overarching narrative of the Bible and how we can better understand and apply its timeless wisdom
  • How we can form a theology that supports LGBT people, supports same-sex relationships and embraces and affirms people with a non-traditional gender-identity
  • How best to understand the verses in both Old and New Testament that seem to forbid same-sex relationships

However, each day will not just explore issues; we will also attempt to better understand the lives of LGBT people.  As such, learning from lived experience will be at the heart of each event.

Details and booking

Each event will start at 9:30 and finish by 5pm.  Tickets cost £35 and include lunch.  Book now by clicking the links below:

  • 23 February 2019 –Bristol - FINISHED
  • 6 April 2019 – Birmingham - FINISHED
  • 27 April 2019 – Salford, Greater Manchester - BOOK NOW
  • 18 May 2019 – Sheffield - BOOK NOW
  • 22 June 2019 – Southampton - BOOK NOW

We understand that the cost may be prohibitive to some individuals. Being committed to radical inclusion as an organisation and realising this is a topic that people from all walk of life who are interested should be able to attend, we've established a small fund to help cover the cost of places. If you'd like to apply for assitance with the event fee or support the HelpOUT scheme please find more details here.

Speakers and participant

Rev’d Steve Chalke - Steve is a youth worker, church leader, well-known Christian speaker and broadcaster.  In 1985, he founded Oasis which today works with thousands of young people and their families around the world.  Steve has extensively researched and published theology around LGBT inclusion and is the leader of Oasis Church Waterloo in central London, which provides LGBT outreach to LGBT people.

(The speakers and participants listed below will feature at at least one of the events.  The specific line up of each event will vary).

Dr. David Bailey, DTh Min, MA, FHEA - David is Senior Lecturer in Practical Theology at Oasis College and Oasis’ Theology and Training specialist.  He has 18 years’ experience of working with young people in the voluntary sector, an MA in Youth Ministry and Theological Education (Kings College London) and a research Doctorate in Theology and Ministry (also from Kings College). His research interests are the interplay and dialogue between Trinitarian theology, missiology and youth ministry practice. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, publishes regularly, and is a contributor and speaker at academic conferences. David is Associate Editor for the Journal of Youth and Theology, published by Brill.

Toby Draper - Toby is the LGBT+ officer at the London School of Economics where he studies Anthropology.  Having grown up in the church as a trans and bisexual man his activism and academic interests have focused on the intersection of queer and trans identities with faith and spirituality.  He is a founding member of Queer Christian Collective which is a support space for LGBT+ Christians and also sits on the board of Christians at Pride.  He has been conducting research looking at the lives and experiences of LGBT+ Christians over the past year.

Jayne Ozanne – Jayne is a well-known gay evangelical who works to ensure full inclusion of all LGBTI Christians at every level of the Church.  She is Director of the Ozanne Foundation, which works with religious organisations around the world to eliminate discrimination based on sexuality or gender in order to embrace and celebrate the equality and diversity of all. Having been a founding member of the Archbishops’ Council for the Church of England (1999 – 2004) she is now once again a member of General Synod where she is involved in campaigning for a range of issues.  In 2017 she led a debate on the dangers of Conversion Therapy within the Church of England, which resulted in them calling on the government to ban it.   She is actively engaged through her writings and broadcasts in helping the Church develop and promote a positive Christian ethic towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

Dr. Christine Rose - Christine is an established diversity and inclusion consultant working with a wide range of clients with a particular passion for seeing positive outcomes in the church. Dr. Rose has had the privilege of carrying out research with organisations such as the EHRC (Equality and Human Rights Commission) and Press for Change, and delivering national conferences with organisations such as Stonewall, Ofsted, AoC (Association of Colleges), and Gires (Gender Identity Research and Education Society). In addition, she’s provided training and support to schools, colleges and universities across the length and breadth of England to share best practice for the inclusion of trans staff and students. In particular, Dr. Rose co-authored the Open Church Network’s TRANSforming Churches resource with Steve Chalke. You can read more about Christine at www.christinerose.org.

Anji Barker - Anji is the former leader of Oasis Hub Foundry in Birmingham and now operates Newbigin Community House with her husband Ash and son Aiden alongside a few alpacas and a bustling community of people in Winson Green. Previously, Anji and her family lived in a slum in Bangkok, where they founded Urban Changemakers of Hope, a multi-national faith-based charity and leadership college which identifies leaders in vulnerable communities, equipping them with the skills to change their communities from the ground up. Anji has had her fair share of interactions with large evangelical organisations and through that process, alongside the various people she's advocated to include, has become a fierce champion for LGBT people in the church. With a strong theological backing, various speaking engagements under her belt, and a wildy diverse set of experiences, Anji has a fantastic story to share about how she's become an ally. You can watch Anji on BBC's Songs of Praise here.

Jill Rowe – Jill Rowe qualified as a teacher and youth & community worker and spent 6 years living and working in the heart of the inner city in Derby. In 1997 she joined Oasis, a charity and movement committed to inclusion and engaged in the transformation of local communities in the UK and around the world. Jill is part of the Oasis Group Executive Team serving as the Director of Ethos & Formation. Her role is to help ensure that Oasis is true to its organisational identity and ethos, and to resource and equip all Oasis leaders, staff, students, volunteers and wider community members to have opportunity to engage in their own personal development and character formation. As a part of this work, Jill has developed the organisation-wide Oasis 9 Habits formation programme. She is also a speaker and writer and is part of the leadership team of Oasis Church Waterloo. You can follow Jill on twitter here

Gareth Streeter – Gareth has been part of the Oasis family for almost 20 years since participating in the Oasis gap year programme as a youngster.  He has also served as a member of the leadership team at Oasis Church Waterloo and helped to establish an Oasis Community Hub in Croydon.  In 2017, Gareth co-authored the report “In the Name of Love: The Church, Exclusion And LGB Mental Health Issues” which demonstrated how traditional church teaching was undermining the mental wellbeing of sexual minorities. You can read that report here.


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