McCauley Key, Community Worker for the Doncaster Circuit explains how the Circuit support Doncaster Pride 2022.
He said: "This year members from across Doncaster Methodist Circuit were involved with Doncaster Pride. This involved a stall in the town centre for 'City Pride' and a stall in Elmfield Park for the 'Main Event'.
"One lady who visited our stall had not long broken up from her girlfriend and the experience for her was very saddening as it was her first relationship. We prayed and asked God for reassurance and comfort. On another occasion, two young women in a relationship teared up after hearing how much they are loved because it's not something they hear very often.
"Other people enquired about inclusive churches and we even ended up inviting a few people to one of the churches that we represent. Some gay couples were also interested in getting married in the Methodist Church upon hearing about the God in Love Unites us report.
"People were curious as we were the only ones at the event talking about faith. Whilst we were there representing the Christian faith, there where people of other faiths such paganism and atheism. We were interested in hearing more about this and asked how people connect their faith, whatever that might be, with their sexuality. Interestingly, although people hadn't really given it much thought, people found that there is often a tendency in many households to not talk about sexuality in the same way that people do not talk about religion, because it is almost seen as something personal and private.
"The definition of sexuality, outlined by the World Health Organisation, describes how 'sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles and relationships.' Faith can therefore be a really important factor in how someone chooses to express their sexuality.
"We suspect people were puzzled by our stall because it came across as a clash of cultures, with sexuality being on one side and a belief in God being on the other. These perceptions were heightened by the decision made at the international Anglican Bishops Lambeth Conference to reaffirm the traditional understanding of marriage the same week we were doing our pride stall.
"We found that because of these perceptions, we were using a theology of embodiment to get the idea across that as Christians, we do not make sense of our faith in a vacuum. Rather, we explore our faith and test our calling through lived experiences. This means journeying alongside people as they are bullied because of their sexuality, or who won't go into a church through fear of being condemned.
"This wasn't a stall that provoked debate or talked about faith on an abstract level, this was a stall that was actively listening to the problems found in society and then responding on a deeper, more meaningful level."
Suggested reading: Andrew Marin. (2016). Us versus Us: The Untold Story of Religion and the LGBT Community. Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers.
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