ONE of Queensland’s major Anglican congregations is donating contributions to their monthly charitable outreach program to the Queensland AIDS Council in continuing efforts to support marginalised communities.

St John’s Cathedral in Brisbane city has been one of Queensland’s most progressive congregations and a long time supporter of the LGBTI community, led by its Dean, Dr Peter Catt.

Highlighting a need to support programs in marginalised communities, Dr Catt hoped that their monthly program addresses issues of HIV education advocacy and isolation.

“St John’s uses its monthly outreach program to support programs that receive little or no government support and as a way of educating its community,” Dr Catt told the Star Observer.

“We often try to address situations where people are experiencing marginalisation. Those who live with HIV are often subject to marginalisation. We are hopeful that our involvement will signal that we wish to be an agent in overcoming that marginalisation.”

Dr Catt believes that position to be able engage with the LGBTI community is one of great value.

Speaking to the general issue of religious inclusion of the LGBTI community and addressing HIV and AIDS, he said there was a role for all churches, even less progressive ones, to play.

“I think this already occurring in many places. Most religious communities would hold to the idea of at least ‘loving the sinner’,” Dr Catt said.

“And while this can lead a form of qualified acceptance, that can be difficult, there is scope in that system to be of support to people and to overcome the sense of isolation that many experience.”

The Dean said that it was the responsibility of both LGBTI and religious institutions to work together in an effort to address their historically splintered relationship.

“Each person/group needs to do what they can, and can only do what they can.” Dr Catt said.

“I am constantly impressed by the number of LGBTI Christians who persist with membership of the church and the generosity of spirit they manifest. It is powerful witness.”

Dr Catt was one of the driving forces behind establishing the inclusive rights advocacy group A Progressive Christian Voice, and said that the body has been making advances in community and political circles.

“We are steadily building a presence and I am finding that the work of the group is getting to be known in the wider community,” he said.

“Members of the LGBTI community seem to be particularly aware. I have the sense that it is providing many people with sense of hope.”

(Image credit: Australian Marriage Equality)

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