We marched with many other Christians last year during the London Pride, aka Gay Pride. The Christians at Pride (CaP) group bring together Christians from so many different denominations and give them that opportunity to show those within the LGBT community and the many onlookers that there is a real vibrant different alternative Christian viewpoint to being gay, bisexual, lesbian, intersex, transgender and/or queer.
This year we were faced with the decision whether to march or be ourselves
‘on-lookers’. We were convinced by the
Rev Sally Hitchiner, who encouraged us that it would be great for Christians to be alongside the march and cheer on the thousands who do march at Pride. As even though there is a significant contingent of Christians marching, seen by the thousands in the crowd, those also on the march may not see, and hence know, that they are truly loved by God.
We met at 11am, near to Pall Mall, by Matthew from Two23. This group, now with regular meetings at the Bloomsbury Baptist Church, are one of many focal points for the Christian LGBT community in London. We met up with other parents from Diverse Church: a national group which supports 18-30 year old LGBT Christians…parents aged 18-30? Well, we are Christian parents who have children who identify as LGBT. There are now 60 of us within Diverse Church Parents or DCP, across the country, providing support and encouragement on our respective journeys. It’s brilliant!
As we waited for the Pride March to start, we had some amazing people with us, who adorned in Angel costumes, were already making quite a sight and providing an opportunity for selfies! Here’s Dawn, the inspiring Community Minister from Bloomsbury Baptist Church, and the Angels!
Christian Voice, a group who state that “in an age when oestrogen is overwhelming the church, this is Christianity with testosterone”, – yes bizarre – had elected to have a counter-protest on one of the corners of the Pride March. They were ‘corralled’ by Police but with loud hailers and their Old Testament verses on bright yellow placards they berated the Pride attendees and asked: “are your minds closed?”
With the angels and ourselves about 10 yards away we took our position at the side of the road.
Wow! How amazing to cheer and wave at those marching, to give high 5s as people went by, to be hugged and to receive ‘thank you’: sometimes shouted, other times just quietly mouthed.
It was at this time that it really sunk in.
For many LGBT people they have not heard affirmation from the Church just negative criticism: ‘Is your mind closed?’ rather than God truly loves you.
For many LGBT people they may not have had a positive reaction from parents. One lady ran across the road and hugged Mandy. No words were spoken – did they need to?
One person on Facebook wrote:
Thank you for being there. I saw you and you made me cry happy tears!
Similar reactions were noted by the Angels, and by the other Diverse Church/Two23 people across the road. People had not expected the Church to be standing prominently saying God Loves You!
It must be difficult enough coming to terms with being the person you really were meant to be, fighting against some elements from society, possibly receiving negative reactions from parents and family, and often the Church, and then…. to feel free to hold hands in public, to kiss, to show affection without recrimination, without fear.
It was wonderful to watch, to behold.
We want to encourage all within the Church, that many within the LGBT community have not heard a resounding ‘God Loves You’ from the Church: don’t we all need to hear that? We need to confirm God’s love to all, regardless of gender and/or sexuality.
We want to encourage all within the LGBT community that your joy, your laughter, your happiness was so wonderful to hear and experience. It will be our lasting memory of London Pride 2016.
May it remain in your lives for evermore.