A PENTECOSTAL Church in Adelaide broken ties with its denomination in order to stand in solidarity with its LGBTI members.

Activate Church announced on Sunday that it would no longer remain a member church of the over 1,1000 strong Australian Christian Churches (ACC) denomination, formerly known as the Assemblies of God.

The church already had LGBTI members in leadership which put Activate Church outside the ACC’s position on human sexuality and the ACC’s recent affiliation with the anti-marriage equality group Marriage Alliance helped the church to make the decision to sever ties.

“For this reason, and in solidarity with people who are currently not afforded full participation in society and the church because of their sexuality, we have chosen to leave the Australian Christian Churches denomination and I have chosen to resign my credentials as a pastor in that movement.” Activate’s Pastor Brad Chilcott said on Facebook after the official announcement at the church on Sunday morning.

Present to hear the announcement was Anthony Venn-Brown, a former Assemblies of God minister who resigned in 1991 when he came out as gay.

Through his organisation Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International, Venn-Brown now works to bridge the divide between the LGBTI community and the Christian Church.

“I was sad to see that it had come to this for Brad and Activate, a church that has been demonstrating the true gospel of unconditional love and acceptance reflected in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ,” he said.

“Some churches have moved from being anti-gay to accepting LGBTI people in their churches, although they are not allowed to hold positions of leadership. Activate had taken the brave step of full inclusion.”

 

“When we look at any progress made for equality, such as civil rights, votes for women etc., history tells us it’s a struggle that lasts decades. One step ahead you’re a leader, two steps ahead you’re an innovator. Three you are a martyr. There are always those who will pay a price for being at the forefront of change.

“We live in hope that other churches and Christian leaders will also take brave steps to speak out and say like Activate, ALL are welcome at our table.”

Chilcott said on Facebook that everyone was welcome at his church.

“I hope for the day when we can stop talking about who is included and excluded and unite around a vision of a world set free from violence, greed, exploitation and inequality, where all people have equal access to peace, freedom, belonging and the opportunity to thrive,” he said.

“Activate is a church that welcomes and affirms people who identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer.”

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