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From Exclusion to Embrace

From the event description:

LGBTQ+ inclusivity in the church and the way forward! A faith symposium for members of the LGBTQ+ community who have experienced rejection, hurt or exclusion from the Church.

As an LGBTQ+ identifying person, or as a parent of a child who ‘comes out’ as LGBTQ+, the church can feel like a very hostile and unwelcoming place to be! But does it need to be this way and are there positive things we can do, that will make it easier for us all to feel accepted and welcome in the church family going forward?

The Third Order Society of St Francis, (TSSF) an Anglican Tertiary Order, is pleased to organise its annual symposium, with support from Changing Attitude Ireland, (CAI) on Saturday 15th April from 10.00am to 3.30pm, to give voice to deep concerns we all share at the exclusion of LGBTQ+ people from church life & leadership in Northern Ireland and Ireland.

As part of our joint commitment to social justice and inclusivity, TSSF and CAI have invited four guest speakers to join us at First Church Hall, Rosemary Street, Belfast, to discuss their diverse experiences, their beliefs and their hopes for the future inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in the church at large. Speakers include:

Canon Ginnie Kennerley is a former journalist and university lecturer and she came to Ireland with her husband from London After working for the Irish Times and the Sunday Press up to 1984, she graduated from TCD in Theology and Biblical Studies and was one of the first women ordained deacon and then priest in 1990, when this became possible in the Church of Ireland in 1990. She was recruited to Changing Attitude Ireland around 2010 after preaching in Christ Church Cathedral against the Anglican Covenant proposals.

Dr. Leo Kilroy is an out, gay Irish man who identifies as a Christian. While a member of the General Synod of the Church of Ireland he sat on the Church’s Select Committee on Human Sexuality. In 2017 he proposed a motion to the Synod on church blessings for gay couples. He served as secretary of Changing Attitude Ireland for a number of years.

David Austin is a vicar in Oldham, the CJP officer for Mersey Valley TSSF and the Chair of Oldham LGBTQI Pride Festival. He became a Christian at the age of 14 and immediately felt called to full time church ministry. He has always felt drawn to work with the marginalized – based upon his own experiences as a Gay man.

Mrs Lesley Macaulay lives in Portstewart with her husband Tony. They were both active members within the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, until 2018 when they resigned as members of the Church, when it ruled that anyone in a same-sex relationship could not be a full member of the Church. Lesley’s daughter Beth was in a same sex relationship. Lesley has continued to support the LGBT+ community and parents of LGBT+ children.

In addition to presentations from the four guest speakers, there will be time for discussion of the topics covered by speakers, in groups, plus opportunity to hear briefly about the work of TSSF and CAI and to have a light lunch.

The TSSF and CAI intend this day to be a one that offers encouragement, affirmation, and support, especially for people who have experienced hurt, rejection or discrimination in the church because of their sexuality.

Places are limited to just 60, and selling fast, so we encourage you to book your place in advance to avoid disappointment. As a light lunch and refreshments will be served at the event, we are making a small charge of £10pp, or £5pp if a student or unwaged.

Please contact Jo Pawson – – if you have any questions.

The Third Order Society of St Francis, supported by Changing Attitude Ireland, present a faith symposium on matters LGBTQ+ and the Church

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