Launch of Equal Voices Toowoomba
This Friday night, Equal Voices Toowoomba is holding their first Rainbow Faith Dinner for LGBTQIA+persons of faith, their families and allies. The dinner aims to provide a safe gathering for Christians who have difficulty expressing their identity and finding affirmation in their own faith community.
The Reverend Deborah Bird observed that while churches are generally friendly, welcoming places, LGBTQIA Christians still routinely experience misunderstanding, discrimination and rejection. “It can be tough to find a message of hope or a place of belonging if your gender or sexuality is diverse. But the church should always be a sanctuary – a safe place for all of God’s children.
“We hope Friday’s dinner will be a place to begin creating sanctuary for each other.” The dinner is also the launch of Equal Voices Toowoomba – the local branch of a national body that aims to support, sustain and empower the expression of diverse identities in faith communities and the public domain. Its members are Christians of multiple denominations who believe the church has a responsibility to protect the dignity and gifts of human diversity.
“It is well established that our LGBTQIA communities are particularly vulnerable to the effects of discrimination, most especially so if they are a person of faith. We can’t say we’re upholding the commandment to love one another if we’re not serious about making sure all of God’s children have a place to belong and a community that affirms them.”
The dinner follows last year’s successful visit of Susan Cottrell, a US mother whose work is to help Christian parents understand their LGBTQIA children. “Susan’s events proved to be a great place for parents, friends and diverse people to meet and share their stories. We all need that kind of mutual support, and we all grow when we learn each other’s stories. That’s why the Christian tradition tells us community is so important. We do better together.”
The Rainbow Faith Dinner is a fully affirming place for LGBTQIA Christians of all denominations to express faith, sexuality and gender. 6pm Friday February 7, 2020 at the St James Parish Centre, corner of Mort and Russell Street, Toowoomba. Entry is free. (RSVP: RSVPS are not essential but will assist us with catering. Please also advise of any dietary issues).
(Rev’d) Deborah Bird