An ecumenical memorial service was held on 23 April at Hinde Street Methodist Church, London by OneBodyOneFaith, a support and advocacy organisation for the LGBT+ community in the church.
The purpose of this special service, the first of its kind, was to commemorate and remember members of the LGBT+ community who have lost their lives or experienced harm following exclusion from church communities. With approximately seventy people in attendance OneBodyOneFaith, said “We have been encouraged by the number of faith leaders willing to attend.”
The service had a distinctly ecumenical feel from the outset. Led by theologian and Co-chair of OneBodyOneFaith Andrea King, a warm welcome was given by Methodist Minister Rev Peter Cornick. Bible readings were heard from Rev Alex Clare Young of the URC and Rev Jide Macaulay of the Church of England and prayers were led by Fr Lee Taylor of the Roman Catholic Church and Rev Jarel Robinson-Brown, also from the Church of England. A number of CTE member churches also sent representatives including the Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church, the Church of England, the Salvation Army, the Baptist Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Quakers. I attended on behalf of CTE.
The service contained space for reflecting on past and present pain as well as looking forward in hope to more respectful and loving dialogue. Purple and white tulips were laid at the altar at different times during the service as signs of both remembrance and hope. A beautiful and contrasting image which symbolises the issues that cause so much pain and disunity both within and between our churches. There is much work still to do as we seek to live well with our diversity.