In an act of reconciliation that demonstrates times are changing, Australian Christian Ministers are signing a document which says sorry to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and at least 100 representatives are marching in this year’s Sydney Mardi Gras parade to show it’s not just words.
“This wonderful act reminds me of the time the NSW Police marched in the parade for the first time. It was a sign of progress when the same organisation that had imprisoned the first marchers in 1978, joined the parade as participants, 20 or so years later.” said Anthony Venn-Brown, author and former evangelist within the Assemblies of God.
“These ministers are the closest example I can see, of the Jesus we read about the New Testament and that a more informed understanding of homosexuality is reaching all denominations” Venn-Brown added.
The group, calling itself 100 Revs, was launched last weekend by Pastor Mike Hercock at a gathering gay Pentecostals Freedom2b and at Surry Hills Baptist Church. Ministers are adding their names to a formal apology, which states that churches have often been “profoundly unloving” towards homosexuals.
“As ministers of various churches and denominations we recognise that the churches we belong to, and the church in general, have not been places of welcome for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people, For these things we apologise. We are deeply sorry and ask the forgiveness of the GBLT community”, it said in the statement.
“I see this statement as a step towards a very important dialogue. Most within the gay community consider all Christians are anti-gay. How did they get that message?” Venn-Brown asks. “It could only have come from one place, but the 100 Revs have identified that showing genuine love and compassion is far more Christ-like than trying to win a theological debate.
Those signing this statement, like the leadership of Surry Hills Baptist, have taken the time to listen to our stories of rejection, isolation, and sometimes even hatred. Our journeys to find personal reconciliation have often been lonely ones. We applaud their willingness to acknowledge the wrongs. It’s a way forward of healing for many”, Venn-Brown added.
Venn-Brown believes that those who sign the 100 Revs statement may become targets of anger, hostility, misunderstanding, judgement and even be ostracised for their willingness to admit the wrongs. Not unlike the experience of many gay and lesbian people, he added.
“Thank you for standing with us and welcome to our world” Venn-Brown concluded.
This apology is carefully worded so as not to offend church leaders. That’s a little sad, but it is also a step in the right direction.
Perhaps someday the ‘careful wording’ to avoid giving offense can be dropped. Kevin Rudd’s speech to Parliament in apology to the Stolen Generations was not ‘carefully worded’ it gave offense to some. Truth is offensive.
Jesus never ‘carefully worded’ anything he said. He gave offense.
Still, I don’t condemn, merely point out that perhaps it is not quite enough. It is a start though.
Also sad is the fact that even though you have not made any statement, and not wanted to have any theological debate, some just can’t keep those itchy fingers away from starting one. (I come under that myself in some ways. 🙂 )
Thank you for having the guts to apologize. I pray for greater fortitude for you also.
(I’d give a url, but don’t want to have people hound me to my website for further debate)
Ooops Anthony I commented here by mistake, thinking I was commenting to the 100Revs blog which I had open at the same time.
*laughs* silly me. But my sentiments remain the same. It’s good, but not as good as it could be.
A definite start, though.
thats okay….you can leave your words here as well.
I dont actually think you’d be hounded if you leave you details….. I’ve recieved 1000’s of emails…..less than 10 have been negative
Really this is just a heap of publicity seeking crap.
Who cares what any member of any Church group says.
They are all hypocrites who base their beliefs on lies and superstitions written 2000 odd years ago (incidently by some many different people that that also destroys any sense of validity!!)… that alone makes them stand out as deranged…who cares if they say sorry or not,I don’t, I don’t want their apology or to have them as part of the gay and lesbian community. Let them keep right away from us. They have only one agenda that is to either “convert us” or destroy us, don’t be sucked into these “apologies”. Christians will NEVER accept gays or lesbians no matter what a few might say.
well anonymous…..that is one way of looking at it. Other may have a differing opinion to you and are working to bring change where we can.
Whilst the task is far from over there are some encouraging signs. For that i’m grateful