The fight for LGBT inclusion across the UK Church is to get a boost as two groups that have for decades lobbied for change merge.
Changing Attitude and the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) announced on Friday that they will be joining forces.
“We’ve been working closely with Changing Attitude for some time now and we have so much in common, and so much to gain from working together,” said LGCM’s chief executive Tracey Byrne.
“We both bring wisdom and experience to our work, and Changing Attitude’s deep understanding of the Church of England is complemented by LGCM’s insights from across and beyond the denominations. We want to see all that energy, commitment and vision combined to bring about real and lasting change.”
LGCM has been working for more than 40 years to lobby for the full inclusion of gay, lesbian and bisexual people in the life of Christian churches, while Changing Attitude has focused on the Church of England for two decades.
“We have a really firm foundation from which to build a new movement which draws in all people of goodwill who want to see the Church welcome LGBT people on equal terms with our sisters and brothers,” Byrne said.
A spokesperson for Changing Attitude, Jeremy Timm, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for us to further LGCM and Changing Attitude’s work, to make ourselves a resource and a force for change in the Churches as they continue in their journey of understanding in relation to sexuality and gender.
“We firmly believe we can do this better together and as both boards of trustees have been talking and listening to one another over the past six months, we’ve become really excited and energised about what the future holds.”
Jeremy Pemberton, LGCM’s chair of trustees and a Church of England clergyman who in December lost a claim he was discriminated against when his licence to practise was removed after he married his gay partner, said the new merger would bring transformation for LGBT people in the Church.
“If we’re going to reach out to a new generation with the message that the gospel is good news for everyone, then we’ll all need to commit ourselves to making that a credible and authentic claim for LGBT people too,” he said.
“That will involve humble listening and prophetic action at every level of the Churches, from our leaders and from the many people we know are longing for change. The new movement will be uniquely placed to resource that kind of transformation.”