This month marks 50 years since homosexual acts were decriminalised. In the decades that followed further pro-LGB+T measures brought increased hope, recognition and liberation to countless people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.
But we cannot pretend that the job is done. Recent research shows that LGB+T people are up to 12 times more likely to take their own life and significantly more likely to experience poor mental health or to self-harm than the general population. Alarmingly and tragically, a recent report by the Oasis Foundation found that opposition of the Church to same-sex relationships is one of the biggest factors fuelling a climate that makes people more likely to experience poor mental health.
We are simply not prepared to sit back and let this continue.
Since 2013 Oasis has been involved with a dynamic range of activities to change attitudes in the Church and provide pastoral support to those who have been spiritually abused. In the last week we have launched ‘The Open Church Network’, a brand new digital platform with a focus on changing attitudes within the Church and local churches, so that LGB+T people begin to see them as the places of sanctuary we know they can be.
In our Waterloo church we have also launched ‘Open House’ – a place of sanctuary that is providing hospitality, pastoral support and healing from spiritual abuse.
But we are determined to do more – and we need your help to do it.
In the next six months we intend to:
- Launch a campaign to change attitudes within the Church and help inclusive people in local churches across the world stand up and be counted
- Roll out our ‘Open House’ support service to other churches and community hubs across the country
- Kick off a ‘Open Church’ regional roadshow, to help provide church leaders and attendees across the country with the theological tools around the need of LGBT inclusion as well as the practical steps to take to make it a reality
This vital work to change attitudes within the Church and to help LGB+T people who have been hurt or rejected requires funding. There are no Government grants for this kind of work. And, more than this, it is also the sort of project that sadly, some churches and Christians are reluctant to support or fund, even if they quietly agree with it. That’s why we need your help to develop and sustain this important part of Oasis’ work.