News & events from the Open Table Network

News & events from the Open Table Network

'Any table of Christ from which you have been excluded was not yet Christ's table'

News & events from the Open Table Network of LGBTQIA+ affirming Christian worship communities - 21st July 2021

'Any table of Christ from which you have been excluded was not yet Christ's table'

THESE WORDS from our guest blogger Dr Anneke Schmidt echo Pastor Jonathan Martin Page at the Evolving Faith conference in 2019. This is what he said, just before preparing the table for Holy Communion:

'If Jesus is not the one in charge of the guest list, it’s not Christ’s table.'

Anneke's reflection on her experience as a gay Christian who instantly felt excluded from her (then conservative evangelical) church community and large parts of her (also evangelical) family when she revealed her sexual orientation to them at the age of twenty, led her to conclude that for LBGTQIA+ Christians, the line between active exclusion and passive withdrawal from Church can be thin.

We know, from 13 years' experience of the first Open Table community in Liverpool, and 6 years of supporting more than 100 churches to explore this ministry, that this is the reality for many. In our recent survey of OTN members and volunteers,

• 56% said being LGBTQIA+ is a barrier to belonging in a faith community, but

• 92% said being in an Open Table community increased their sense of belonging.

So we're delighted to share a series of personal stories about the difference that Open Table communities are making in the lives of our members. If you have a story to share, please contact us.

This past month, we've also supported a member who experienced hate crime from a member of the same church, who asks how should churches deal with situations in which one member commits a serious offence against another?

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised, please contact us to explore what support is available for you.

Open Table Network

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