THE STUDENT CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT (SCM) has launched a new campaign, ‘Honest Church’ this weekend at the Greenbelt Festival. The campaign calls on all churches to be transparent about the welcome that LGBTQ+ people receive in their church, asking church leaders to reflect on what they teach, imply and model with regard to LGBTQ+ people.  

Through this campaign, SCM wants to encourage greater honesty about the true welcome that LGBTQ+ people receive in a church. The aim is to go beyond the church’s official stance on LGBTQ+ issues and to consider how it feels for people to be part of that church community.

As part of the campaign a toolkit has been published that churches can use to help them examine themselves. It also provides suggestions for how to communicate what their welcome is like in their publicity, and when students, graduates and others come and ask questions about the inclusiveness of the welcome.

Students, graduates and anyone looking for a new church can use the Honest Church questions from the toolkit to get to the heart of what kind of church it is for LGBTQ+ people and their allies.

Tom Packer-Stucki, a PhD candidate and chair of Trustees at SCM said: “Churches often say that they are open and welcoming to everyone but then it turns out that the welcome is conditional. If that’s the case, then they need to say so. Otherwise, it can lead to hurt and rejection, and that’s how people end up walking away from church.”

“At SCM we hear real horror stories resulting from churches passively pretending they are more welcoming than they really are,” said the Rev Naomi Nixon, CEO of SCM. “At the same time, we know people who would try out a church if they said anything about LGBTQ+ people at all. We are needlessly letting young people down. Let’s just be honest.”

The Student Christian Movement is an ecumenical student-led movement passionate about faith and justice. It brings students together to explore how to live out the Christian faith in today’s world.

* More information about the Honest Church campaign, and the Honest Church toolkit here.

* Source: Student Christian Movement