A welcoming church
As a Methodist Minister, Bob describes the 2018 Trans Day of Remembrance held at Todmorden Central Methodist Church and talks about his welcoming approach to LGBTIQ+ communities.
TRANSCRIPTWe live in such a wonderful valley, of Todmorden and Hebden Bridge and the Calder Valley. I'm told, before I arrived here, that Hebden Bridge was a - is it the lesbian capital of Britain, the Daily Express said? I think, oh, that's interesting. And the people I speak to! We had a Trans Day of Remembrance last year at Todmorden and we weren't expecting many, we got ten. And you might think, ten? That's a quarter of Coventry Cathedral's attendance. People came from Keighley, they came from Lancashire, if they could afford. And they came and - one woman said to me, 'I haven't been to a church for 60 years. Can I say a prayer?'
And I'm thinking, we have touched upon something here, in the LGBT community. We are hoping now to continue that. Maybe not directly in church services at 10.30 on a Sunday morning, but outside, because we're a 24/7 church now. We're modern, we want to work with people outside, that's my work, is outside the church.
So, we have a monthly faith group, which is LGBTQ inclusive. We welcome, we discuss things about LGBTQ because we want to. And we want to show that our faith actually is entwined in our understanding and welcoming LGBTQ, a fact of humanity, rather than as a separate entity. Bring everyone in together, let's try and - I'm aware people want to use labels, LGBTQ, I understand that, because of their marginalisation over the last, I don't know how many years. What I want to see is when people come into a church or faith understanding: we welcome you as a person who you truly are.