A Pentecostal Church in Adelaide have announced they are breaking ties with their denomination in order to stand in solidarity with their LGBTI members, leaders and community.
Activate Church, a member church of the over 1,1000 strong Australian Christian Churches (ACC) denomination (formerly Assemblies of God) already had members of the LGBTI community in leadership positions.
“This puts us outside of the Australian Christian Churches position on human sexuality,” Pastor Brad Chilcott told the South Australian Advertiser.
Although Activate church’s unique affirming position has been in place for some time it was the recent decision by the ACC to join Marriage Alliance (an anti-marriage equality group) that prompted their decision to move on.
“For this reason, and in solidarity with people who are currently not afforded full participation in society and the church because of their sexuality, we have chosen to leave the Australian Christian Churches denomination and I have chosen to resign my credentials as a pastor in that movement.” Pastor Chilcott said on Facebook after the official announcement at the church on Sunday morning.
Present to hear the announcement was Anthony Venn-Brown, a former Assemblies of God minister who resigned in 1991 when he came out as gay. Venn-Brown through his organisation Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International, now works to bridge the divide between the LGBTI community and the Christian Church. For him it was an emotional and bitter-sweet moment.
“I was sad to see that it had come to this for Brad and Activate, a church that has been demonstrating the true gospel of unconditional love and acceptance reflected in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Some churches have moved from being anti-gay to accepting LGBTI people in their churches, although they are not allowed to hold positions of leadership. Activate had taken the brave step of full inclusion.” he said.
“Within the Christian world the defining issue was and still is in many places, homosexuality itself, but now that seems to have shifted to marriage equality.” Venn-Brown added.
“When we look at any progress made for equality, such as civil rights, votes for women etc., history tells us it’s a struggle that lasts decades. One step ahead you’re a leader, two steps ahead you’re an innovator. Three you are a martyr. There are always those who will pay a price for being at the forefront of change.” Venn-Brown concluded.
Anthony Venn-Brown +61 (0)416 015 231 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Author of A Life of Unlearning and Founder of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International
Brad Chilcott +61 (0)410 548 637 or email@example.com
Founder and Lead Pastor of Activate and founder of Welcome to Australia