As Anglicans bicker over gay rights and the Vatican’s homophobic rhetoric continues, the queer community seems more excluded than ever from spirituality.

Some community members hope to change that by organising a new community forum that will touch on gay and lesbian spirituality among other topical issues.

Dubbed Quorum -“ an amalgamation of queer and forum -“ the initiative is the idea of Metropolitan Community Church Sydney board member and former Catholic priest Glenn Boyd.

Boyd set up a similar group, Spirituality in the Pub, in Albury five years ago. When he moved to Sydney, he saw the need for a forum that would encourage community debate but not deter people wary of religion.

Beginning later this month, Quorum will provide adult education on topics that perhaps don’t get discussed at any organised level and maybe even discussed at all, but in a relaxed and sometimes entertaining way, in a venue that’s not churchy, Boyd says.

The first session on 28 August will examine the theme, Is our sexuality sacred too? but Boyd insists Quorum is not about religion.

It is spirituality, those issues that give meaning to our lives, what makes us get out of bed in the morning, topics that we’re passionate about, whatever affects our quality of life.

Future sessions will look at topics such as racism in the gay community and the growing influence of the religious Right.

The first Quorum’s speakers will be media personality Julie McCrossin and theology student Karl Hand, and there will be an open discussion session.

McCrossin will talk about feeling excluded from religion as an adult because of her sexuality, and the value she has found as a regular speaker at Spirituality in the Pub.

I would describe it as a spiritually healing experience to be welcome there as a lesbian woman, McCrossin said.

I have found it an incredibly interesting and connecting activity, where people really are looking for what they have in common, not what they have different.

Disclaimer: Ian Gould will speak at Quorum later in the year.

Quorum is held on the fourth Monday of the month at the Taxi Club, Darlinghurst, beginning 28 August. The sessions run from 7:30pm to 9pm. For more information call MCC Sydney on 9569 5122.

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