A group of Christian ministers from mainstream denominations will march in the Mardi Gras parade to apologise for the church’s hostility to gay and lesbian people.
The apology statement by the group calling itself the 100 Reverends asked for forgiveness, but insisted the signatories were individuals and not official representatives of any denominations.
“The church has been responsible for fostering hatred towards and exacerbating the marginalisation of the GLBT community,” Pastor Mike Hercock said.
“We choose to stand with the Lord of the church and offer friendship and welcome.”
Metropolitan Community Church, which caters to gay and lesbian Christians, has given support to the statement and float, but will not play a major role.
“Not everyone who is part of that approves of homosexual people, they’re just apologising for the way the church has behaved,” MCC Reverend Karl Hand said.
“We’re listed but we’re not going to be one of the main ones because that could be seen as too narrow.”
The group has taken no unified stance on the biblical position on gay and lesbian relationships, but calls for churches to be more welcoming.
“I don’t think anyone stands to gain from mainstream churches demonising gay and lesbian Christians. MCC was hoping when it was founded that within 10 or 15 years it wouldn’t be needed anymore. It didn’t turn out to be the case,” Hand said.
“In Sydney because it’s so conservative here, we’re really quite stuck in our role as a gay and lesbian church because that’s what’s needed.”
Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen and many of his Sydney bishop colleagues have pulled out of the Lambeth Conference, held every 10 years, over the issue of gay clergy.
Bishop of Newcastle Brian Farren has told other media the church should follow the decision of the last Lambeth Conference.
“We should have a listening process with gay and lesbian Christians,” Farren said.
Dialogue between MCC and Anglican bishops has been negligible, Hand said.
The MCC parade float will feature JBear as a white leather angel and a three-dimensional structured cross with someone playing Jesus in the centre.
The 100 Reverends parade entry is open to any supporters, organised via www.100revs.blogspot.com.
Have your say: Do you feel welcomed by church groups?