Nervous about church

(23 Posts)
SteadyClimber Sat 03-May-14 15:53:05

Hi all,

I really really want to start attending church regularly but am getting a little nervous and was wondering if somebody could reassure me that I'm being daft? My issue is basically that I'm gay, and also look pretty 'stereotypically gay' and have had some bad experiences with other Christians not exactly being welcoming because of this in the past. I don't want this to put me off church forever because I know plenty of Christians would be welcoming and don't give a hoot about it, but I suppose it'd just be helpful to hear that from somebody else.

Appletini Sat 03-May-14 15:56:56

I'm sorry you've had bad experiences in the past. I don't think you're daft - your feelings are valid, it's just a shame you've ended up having to have them.

I suppose it all depends on the church - mine is very 'anything goes' in terms of clothes etc and people here are nice and not prejudiced but others may be different. It may be a case of having to shop around a bit for a church you feel comfortable in, as it could be for anyone.

I hope you do find somewhere you like smile

makeminea6x Sat 03-May-14 15:58:59

I guess it would maybe be sensible to pick your church - it might vary a bit how welcome you feel? This would be true whatever your sexuality but of course is particularly pertinent to you, especially if you've been hurt in the past. Do you know any other LGBT Christians locally?

pebblyshit Sat 03-May-14 16:09:00

I'm not gay, I'm bi and in a hetero relationship so I'm probably not all that helpful. Like you I 'look gay', I've got no hair and right now I'm wearing a plaid shirt. My priest is homophobic, as are some members of my congregation. When I first moved to where I live now (10+ years ago) someone said something, not directed at me, but just generally homophobic and I didn't go back to church for 3 years. One day I thought 'fuck it, it's my church too' and I went back. I struggled enormously during the marriage equality debate where people were being encouraged to write to their MP but in general I feel strong enough in my faith and myself to stick up for myself. I'm making it sound like a battle, which it's not really. The vast majority of the time, it's a non issue. There is a lot of online support and LGBT Christian groups. (There is one near me but I don't go because I feel the privilege I borrow from being in a straight relationship means I shy away from stuff like that, but that's another story)

SteadyClimber Sat 03-May-14 16:11:12

Thankyou very much for your replies smile I don't really know any other LGBT Christians, although have met others in the past. Most of my experience with church has been being brought up in the URC, which I would have thought would be more welcoming than others but I just found that as I grew up and become more obviously gay people became gradually more and more distant, until I felt like they'd really rather I wasn't there.

At uni I then tried to become involved in the Christian Union, thinking that other younger people might be more liberal, but it was incredibly conservative and not somewhere I felt comfortable at all. But now I'm trying again. Any suggestions of where I might find more accepting people? I was thinking of trying a Methodist church tomorrow. I'm not hugely keen on the CofE (I'd really rather not worship somewhere that doesn't have equality between the ministry opportunities for men and women, but I guess at this point I can't afford to be that choosy right from the start).

SteadyClimber Sat 03-May-14 16:14:10

x post with Pepplyshit, thanks for your thoughts smile I wish I was strong enough right now to just think 'fuck it' and go. I think if I found a welcoming church I'd be strong enough to give the Christian Union here another go (I'm a med student so at uni forever!), but I'm not really there yet.

Smudge588 Sat 03-May-14 18:11:23

Just to say you would be very welcome at our Methodist church!

BetterLatteThanNever Sat 03-May-14 18:47:35

I've found my local Anglican Church to be far more sensitive to different situations, and broader-minded, than the "younger" hipper church! It's sometimes very healthy to pick somewhere with a good mix of ages and life experience. I think it's also good to remember that people in church can be equally shy or find it hard to start up conversations, so may end up with you not feeling as welcomed. Definitely worth trying out a few places, and I would also try ringing the church leader first for a chat, and asking if they could suggest someone who can look out for you and be your contact point for your first few visits.

Appletini Sat 03-May-14 23:46:11

I'm C of E and you would be very welcome at my church.

Clobbered Sun 04-May-14 00:00:53

Maybe try one of the bigger local churches, or even a cathedral if you have one near you? Sometimes more room for 'difference' in a bigger crowd, if you see what I mean?

ancientbuchanan Sun 04-May-14 00:06:51

Where about are you?

Two friends had their civil ceremony blessed recently at a cofe church, we have quite a few gay people at ours, lots of my gay friends go to church. Tbh they tend to go cofe, even if they don't like the inequality,, because both RC and some if the protestant churches can be quite opposed.

Hope you find somewhere that suits you,. There will be, somewhere. And I'm sorry you've had a bad time in the past.

I would echo the suggestion of a cathedral and most university towns have one. They are big enough for you to observe from the edges and decide if this is for you.

As far as local churches go why not ask the university chaplain for recommendations?

SteadyClimber Sun 04-May-14 13:03:51

Thankyou all very much for your suggestions. I've heard some good things about the cathefral in my city so maybe that's a good place to look smile

mummytime Sun 04-May-14 13:25:16

CU is unlikely to be welcoming TBH, sorry. If there is a Christian Students group that could be much better.
Cathedrals and High C of E tend to be more tolerant, but I might sound out the clergy first. (The equality will almost certainly come this summer, with actually a much better resolution.)
Don't be put off by people being middle aged or look very "middle class", I know mine is very tolerant and lots have discretely gay clergy.

glorious Sun 04-May-14 20:10:24

CUs are almost always very intolerant unfortunately. There are movements within the CofE that are pro equality, can't remember names sorry and browser keeps crashing but sure you could Google. Generally you'd want to avoid anything that says 'evangelical' especially with 'conservative'.

I'm not Anglican though, I'm Catholic and often very uncomfortable with things like you describe being said sad So wouldn't recommend that, though on the plus side most people in the congregation are more liberal and would be far too polite (and hopefully bon judgemental) to ask/criticise.

There's a great site called Ship of Fools with lots of mystery worshipper church reviews and forums which might help you find somewhere.

niminypiminy Mon 05-May-14 10:59:13

Ship of Fools is also a good place to interact with other gay Christians, as well as the Mystery Worshipper (but you can lose hours reading the church reviews!). In the CofE you could look at the websites for Inclusive Church and Changing Attitude. In general you will tend to find more welcoming and inclusive churches at the 'liberal catholic' end of the CofE spectrum.

springydaffs Mon 26-May-14 14:59:50

I'm so sorry to hear you've had a bad time, and I'm also so sorry to say that I'm not surprised tbh. It just does seem to be a huge stumbling block for the majority of christians, unfortunately. Could you call them first to see what kind of reception you're likely to get? God accepts you and is looking forward to seeing you, if that helps.

Weegiemum Mon 26-May-14 15:07:33

I'd say try the Methodists or liberal Church of England (or the liberal CofS congregations in Scotland).

I was blush an intolerant evangelical at uni. I'd steer well clear of the CU but I'd think that SCM (Student Christian Movement) would be more tolerant.

However, that's not really a church, and I'd think that finding an accepting church is better long term.

Good luck (and sending Shalom your way). I'm rather embarrassed about my dogmatic past, and hope and pray you'll find a way!

Weegiemum Mon 26-May-14 15:09:28

Also pop into the Christian Prayer thread on here. They couldn't be more lovely!!

hoboken Mon 26-May-14 15:17:19

You are right to be cautious and protect yourself. Members of my family who are devoutly religious can't even speak civilly to friends of mine who are gay.

I have no personal experience but this website might help changingattitude.org.uk/find-a-church - you could make contact with congregations in your area beforehand.

TheFarceAndTheSpurious Mon 26-May-14 15:24:52

Are you ok saying which city you are in?

CUs unfortunately tend to be evangelical and therefore clear on their position on homosexuality.

Im a Christian of no particular denomination. You would be very welcome in my church. smile

u2rmysunshine Fri 30-May-14 21:08:30

Hi, I think it's great you are thinking of going to church, and as a sort of Pentecostal type believer I have a firm belief that God wants a relationship with his children, and it's wonderful that you are following your heart and not being de railed by potential prejudice. It boils down to a relationship between you and God in the end, and sounds like you are responding to his call, which can only open the way to blessing, for you and others.

SteadyClimber I am so sorry you have had crap experiences in the past. Do your research, maybe speak to a minister/vicar or priest if you need to. I think the C of E is generally a very tolerant place. I am actually an evangelical but I know the evangelical church is sadly very intolerant. you may just like to take a look at

www.acceptingevangelicals.org/

But I would stear clear generally of evangelical churches (I hate to hear myself say this but you may get a warm welcome but not always an accepting one).

I think someone mentioned this....

changingattitude.org.uk/find-a-church

and you could contact this organisation...

inclusive-church.org.uk/

It's Saturday night so you must have an idea where you will go tomorrow,
hope it goes well.

Good luck.

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