The tide of gracious inclusion – A message for Open Table from Steve Chalke

LAST MONTH, Open Table – an ecumenical Christian worship community which offers a warm welcome to people who are: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer / Questioning, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA) and all who seek an inclusive Church – hosted an event for members of the 11 existing Open Table communities, and those considering whether Open Table is a ministry they wish to offer, to come together and share experience, insight and visions for the future.

Steve Chalke, Baptist minister, founder of the Oasis Charitable Trust, outspoken Christian leader and social activist.

During the event, called ‘Dreaming Around An Open Table’, we heard contributions from organisations with whom we are working in partnership to raise the profile of the inclusive faith communities in our network.

The first of these was Steve Chalke who, as he was unable to attend in person, sent us a short video message of support, in which he affirmed Open Table’s contribution to promoting greater inclusion of LGBT+ people in our faith communities. He said:

Of course, we all know, and it’s good news, that the tide of gracious inclusion is sweeping gently in, and it’s overwhelming this sandcastle of hostile resistance.

Acknowledging Open Table’s past, present and future role in turning that tide,  he committed to working in coalition with us.

Earlier this year The Oasis Trust launched a new Open Church Network website full of resources on a range of issues including LGBT inclusion, and information on campaigns including support for gender reassignment and opposing conversion therapies.

Churches can also sign the Open Church Charter and display the Open Church Network logo as a sign of their commitment to inclusion. This is one of the recommendations Open Table makes for churches wishing to host a worship community using its model, to help promote inclusive ministry and community.

You can watch Steve Chalke’s message in full here (4 minutes):

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