“A Life of Unlearning – a journey to find the truth” is the blog of Anthony Venn-Brown, one of the speakers at this afternoon’s Claiming Our Place/Celebrating our Diversity gathering at Pitt Street Uniting Church, and a very engaging speaker he is. He avers that Hillsong has already made significant changes. Read his blog to see more.
Anthony was a leader in the Assemblies of God and a regular preacher in the mega Pentecostal churches of Australia. For 22 years, he tried desperately to change his same sex orienation through psychiatric treatment, exorcisms, ex-gay programs, 40-day fasts. After 16 years of marriage, he eventually had to admit that nothing had changed. In 1991, he faced the toughest decision of his life; be true to himself and lose everything he held dear or continue to live a lie.
See also the Freedom 2 B[e] site.
Other speakers included Catholic gay activist Michael Kelly, Sydney Anglican David Reeder, and South Sydney Uniting Church’s Dorothy McRae-McMahon; Andrew Collis officiated, and the Sydney Morning Herald journalist David Marr moderated the discussions, with the wall plaques of ancestral Fairfaxes watching on.
The Herald-Sun has been very quick off the mark, as I am only just home!
SYDNEY’S gay and lesbian community today urged tolerance and acceptance at a church service coinciding with the Pope’s arrival in Sydney.
The group, of about 100 people, gathered to celebrate sexual diversity in the Christian faith at Sydney’s Pitt St Uniting Church, where a red carpet symbolising the path to faith was placed in the aisle.
“On this carpet lie the tears of many people who have been turned away as those who are not worthy to walk it – who have been betrayed by Christ’s church,” Uniting Church Reverend Dorothy McRae-McMahon told the congregation.
“They experienced hate or judgment, simply because they were not like others, or because they loved in different ways.
“On this day as we claim our place, we place our feet on the pathway of faith.”
Speakers from different Christian denominations urged religious communities to fight ignorance.
Pentecostal minister Anthony Venn-Brown said he had learned from his experience as a gay Christian not to blame church leaders alone for discrimination.
“We should do all we can to educate and inform ourselves and others,” Mr Venn-Brown told the church.
“It’s up to gay Christians to live their faith boldly and honorably and its up to our heterosexual friends and supporters to not be silent.”
Anglican parishioner David Reeder said young Australians need to educate others about sexual diversity.
“I think it’s over to the young people here to keep up the fight,” Mr Reeder said.
Make that more like 200, as a matter of fact.
The reporter may have left early as those speakers were in the first half; in the second half a panel of young people asked questions of the speakers.
I found it a very inspiring event, and a healthy alternative to the more conventional approaches such as the NoToPope Coalition, televisual as that will probably be.
SBS was filming at Pitt Street UC this afternoon, however.
There was a brief report on SBS News.