On October 12, 60 people joined us for an informal evening of honest conversation with a panel of ordinary Christians, who have come from different backgrounds and experiences to reach a position of support for marriage equality.
In Part A our panelists made a short introduction as to where they’ve come from and highlighted some of their most prevalent thoughts. In Part B, they responded to questions from the audience; this covered Biblical thought and then focused on what Christians can practically do to care for LGBTIQ+ people who are in their church communities.
Big thanks to my event co-organiser, Mia, who emceed the event, and to Pitt Street Uniting Church for donating the venue, and Warwick for the AV!
Part A: Our Panelists
Steff Fenton – Why the Anglican Church’s approach to gay people (i.e. me), didn’t line up with everything else we believed.
Steff is a self-identified gay Anglican Christian, currently studying theology by distance through Moore Theological College. Steff is involved in many LGBT Christian groups in order to advocate for better inclusion of same-sex attracted people in the Anglican Church. She blogs at queervangelical.com.
Rev. Dr Keith Mascord – How we can use the Bible to track God’s blessing of marriage in different contexts, and how to apply that today.
Rev. Dr Keith Mascord is the author of Faith without Fear: risky choices facing contemporary Christians, 2016. He is an executive member of Equal Voices a cross-denominational, grassroots movement of Australian Christians committed to apology, reconciliation and inclusive churches.
Rosie Clare Shorter – Shaking up the Christian conversation of “marriage = happiness”, creating communities of diverse but Godly sexualities.
Rosie Clare Shorter is a postgraduate cultural studies student at Macquarie University. Her research considers how an idea or promise of future happiness is used to regulate behaviour in Protestant Evangelical teaching on marriage and sexuality. Rosie Clare has attended Sydney Anglican churches for most of her life, except for a short stint in a Church of England parish in West London.
Karl Hand – How the postal plebiscite has affected LGBTIQ+ people, and how to restore broken relationships moving forward.
Karl Hand is an ordained minister in Metropolitan Community Church, and the founding pastor of Crave MCC in Sydney Australia. He has taught Exegesis and Greek courses at UTC as well as Australian Catholic University, and the University of Newcastle. He holds two masters degrees in theology and philosophy, and has completed a PhD through Charles Sturt University, which is about the source history of the gospel of Luke.
Karl has an evangelical theology, a pentecostal spirituality, and a liberationist hermeneutic. He is passionate about social transformation, and was the co-convenor of Community Action Against Homophobia.
Part B – Q & A
1. I’ve been called sexually immoral for being gay, does the Bible support or contradict this?
2. Why do you think there is such strong resistance to the queer community in Christianity?
3. For an average church-goer, what is a wise way to be in community with people who think and believe different things to you, and maybe have different interpretations of scripture?
4. How do we better support the gay community as Christians?
5. What’s one thing you would like people to do in response to this conversation?