A Gay Christian Minister Comes Out
Ray Vincent, Associate Chaplain
The attitude of Christian churches towards homosexuality has generally been negative, and in many places still is. Forty years ago it took great courage on the part of a few Christians to speak up for greater acceptance, and especially to come out publicly about their own sexuality.
The exhibition ‘Christian Voices Coming Out’ that is being shown at the Meeting House this week tells the story of some of these people and of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement which they founded in 1976. It is a refreshing reminder that there are Christians who believe that the God whose character is shown in Jesus of Nazareth loves all people and rejoices in variety.
I recently experienced this personally in a heart-warming way. The exhibition was shown over the weekend at St David’s Uniting Church, Pontypridd, where I am a member. We backed it up with the showing of a film called For the Bible Tells Me So, a documentary about some families in America and the different ways in which they reacted to their children being lesbian or gay. Following the film, I was interviewed by the minister about my own experience.
One or two people in the church already knew I was gay, and offered warm acceptance and support, as have many others over the years, but this was the first time for me to come out to a whole congregation. It was a lovely experience of being warmly embraced (literally by some and in spirit by many more!). At the end of the meeting, someone who was already in the know about what was going to happen brought out a cake to celebrate the occasion!
If only all churches were like that! We can only pray that one day they will be.