Australia’s first Anglican Church to apologize to the LGBTI community.  
St Marks,
, Victoria. Address by Father Stuart Soley on
19 July 2014

There is a heavy burden the Christian church carries.  It is the burden of homophobia, the side-lining of the hurt of GLBTI people as an urgent issue but above all the denial of the reality GLBTI people exist within the church and who need to heard.

This depletes its resources and discredits its reputation and is a major break on its ability to be an effective carrier of the good news of Jesus Christ.

Instead, many who profess to be of genuine Christian commitment have uttered words of censure, condemnation or a heavily conditional acceptance.

We have received these messages as a denial of our basic God given human dignity, that we are not worthy of being in the church, that we are really unwelcome, that we are an abomination.

These words have caused deep and lasting hurt and wounds. Their repetition reopens and deepens those wounds.

Many of us have struggled with depression and anxiety.

Many have kept this crucial aspect of our lives secret – from loved ones, work colleagues, close friends

Many, too many, have chosen death as the only way out of the anguish caused by these sentiments.

And, when some get sick, such as with being diagnosed with HIV, a new round of blame and accusation starts. Censure and stigma piled on censure and stigma.

The trouble is the noise drowns out the consistent and gentle voice of God who says ‘I love you’ in the only way God knows in the birth, life, death and resurrection of the one we call Jesus the Christ.

The reliance on a few texts has nothing to do with Jesus the Christ, who promised to lift our burdens and not impose more, who promised life – and in its abundance, who said that he chooses us and imposed no caveats on that choice.

As I am associated with the church and therefore those who have uttered these things I want to dissociate myself from their content and affirm that we are all loved by God – no ifs or buts – no conditions.

So for the noise when your voices have been drowned out and for the silences when something should have been said I’m sorry.

I commit myself to living and being the difference and the new way of being.

Fr Stuart Soley

Parish Priest

St Mark the Evangelist Anglican Church, Fitzroy

Saturday 19 July 2014

Read Anthony Venn-Brown’s address and response here 

Images courtesy of Hadden Media Group