An International Interdenominational Conference of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Christians took place in Moscow last week - to enable prayer, solidarity, theological reflection and understanding.
Among those involved were 26 people from Russia, Moldova, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Estonia, Belarus, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Romania and Norway.
Participants came from a number of Christian denominations: Orthodox, Catholics, Metropolitan Community Church, Lutherans, Baptists, Pentecostals, Adventists, Quakers, and Jehovah's Witnesses.
The Conference theme, 'Receiving Power' was derived from a biblical verse from Acts of the Apostles (1.8), which tells the story of the formation and spread of the early Christian churches: "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth."
The Conference included storytelling, comparisons of different country situations - including new repressive moves from governments around the world - and prayer for all LGBT Christians who have found themselves at a spiritual crossroads and are forced to remain in the closet, struggling with accepting themselves as loved and created by God.
Many spoke of being unable, for family and cultural reasons, to come out within Churches and communities.
Greetings were received from the Russian LGBT Network, the LGBT Christians of Ukraine movement, British Catholic LGBT groups and other partner organisations.
Participants were invited to reflect on the Christian roots of the idea of human rights, and how the notion that "all human beings are born free and equal with dignity and rights" is directly reflected in Scripture.
Liturgical celebrations were led from a variety of traditions, including services led by Orthodox and Lutheran priests.
A Statement addressed to Churches, the LGBT community and LGBT Christians was agreed and signed, and can be read in full here: http://nuntiare.org/?p=1918