“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

This extract from the Great Commission has dwelt on my mind since, to paraphrase W.H. Auden, ‘the clocks stopped’ (originally intended as words to the music of Benjamin Britten for a 1930s play written by Auden in collaboration with Christopher Isherwood) with the death of our Queen. I had prepared a totally different blog until that moment. 

For most of my generation, the Queen was there as an eternal figure holding us together no matter what; a hard act to follow, King Charles III, especially when one recalls the fate of the first King of that name. Though I would not describe myself as an ardent royalist, I remember vividly standing on the pavement as a junior school pupil waving my Union Jack as Her Majesty’s car processed slowly past.

The Queen was always neutral about everything and her views on our community were never expressed publicly, save for the supposed ‘leak’ by the Daily Mail, a NINO (newspaper in name only). During her reign, LGBTQ+ rights in Britain were transformed by successive prime ministers – the Queen had 15 prime ministers from Winston Churchill to Liz Truss. The Queen was on the throne when our relationships were partially decriminalised in 1967, when civil partnership and same sex marriage were legislated, and when the Gender Recognition Act was passed. Both she and her mother were known for their inclusive employment policies.

And that neutrality is what infuses this blog. Our community does not need to be praised or commended. We do not require gongs and applause. We do not wish to hear “you are allowed here”; what we want is “it doesn’t matter what/who you are”. Neutrality is what we have fought for throughout the existence of OneBodyOneFaith. We would be quite happy with “we don’t give a damn”.

But the Church in all its capitalised glory insists on viewing us as the ‘other’; something to be dealt with; the equivalent of the embarrassingly flatulent aunt at teatime. It/they dole out concessions like so many sweeties and metaphorically pat us on our heads and ask us, very politely, to wait until they join the 20th Century – yes the 20th. The latest move by Welby is a reminder of Bill Clinton’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy which ran from 1993 to 2011. Yes, you may come in, but don’t wipe your dirty feet on our mat please.

My Christianity is very simple:

  1. There is a God, but I have no idea what he/she or it is like;
  2. Jesus is my saviour – doesn’t have to be yours; there are many paths to the mountain top; and
  3. There is a life after this one which I call the next great adventure because, again, I have no concept of its nature.

If I can adhere to the above, why is it that literally thousands of clerics over thousands of years have been more concerned with complicating religion – religion, not God – and excluding worshippers than actually fulfilling the Great Commission. Which bit of ‘Love thy neighbour’ do they not get? Is this ‘problem’ really going to cloud our view of the Cross until the ‘very end of the age’?

One of the joys of acting as your Treasurer and trustee is being reminded that the membership and the Board of OneBodyOneFaith is comprised of people; not non-binary LGBT+ people; just people. Some tall, some short, some bald, some hairy as Esau, but all just people frantically knocking on the Church’s door and asking to be let in as people, not anything else.

I am old enough to remember Peter Finch’s memorable 1975 portrayal of news anchor Howard Beale a great film dominated by one memorable line. All together now:

“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this any more!”

It is our good fortune that Christ will be with us until the end of the age because Christ will win this battle for us. He will lift the Mosaic veil from the Church’s cloistered eyes and they will see and sob in recognition of their heresy in dooming his true church to irrelevance. 

Neutrality will be our victory and we will love and forgive the losers, because that is the Christian way.


David Owen, Treasurer and Trustee