OneBodyOneFaith Visible Congregations - standing up and being counted.
Every Church likes to say that it is welcoming and friendly, and we all know that isn’t always the case. We also know the it can be particularly hard for LGBTQIA people to find local Churches and congregations where they will be welcomed and fully affirmed. Even Churches that advertise themselves as inclusive and welcoming can be problematic and many of us in the LGBTQIA communities can share very negative experiences of going to a new Church for the first time. When we are on holiday or have moved to a new area, finding a community where we can be sure of a welcome is a genuine concern.
OneBodyOneFaith maintains a list of local churches and congregations where our members have found a warm and truly inclusive welcome, and can recommend and be present to welcome new LGBTQIA people as they find their feet in a new place, or whilst on holiday.
Visible Congregations exist all across the country and registering as a Visible Congregation is simple and straightforward. Registering doesn’t presume that everyone present in the congregation is fully affirming, nor does it require the PCC or ruling Church body to sign up to OneBody’s agenda for the full acceptance of LGBTQIA people in every area of the Church’s life. What is does mean is that LGBTQIA people have been made fully welcome in the past, are present in the congregation today and can be part of the welcome and settling in of new members or the welcome and hospitality offered to visitors.
We ask that the local minister agrees to the registration and that someone is named as a point of contact at the Church, usually that person would be LGBTQIA themselves or an ally in the struggle for acceptance. Most are members of OneBodyOneFaith, and in many places the minister is also the contact, though that is less than ideal for obvious reasons.
As we all know the Church can be a very challenging place for LGBTQIA people and knowing what sort of response one is likely to get is important, and Churches that have signed up have often received new members as a result.
You can check out the full list of Churches on the OneBody here and if you would like to know more, or to register your congregation or Church then you can sign up here. Please do not hesitate to be in touch with me and I will happily answer your questions and get your community registered.
Visible Congregations Co-Ordinator