Homosexuality and the World Council of Churches

Ecumenical News International 
Daily News Service 
22 February 2006 

Openly homosexual church leaders urge inclusive Christianity

By Maurice Malanes 

Porto Alegre, Brazil, 22 February (ENI)–A group of openly
homosexual church leaders meeting during the assembly of the
World Council of Churches have advocated a more inclusive
Christian faith that embraces people of all sexual orientations.

“We are here, because we do not wish to be segregated or
isolated,” said the Rev. Nancy Wilson, moderator of the US-based
Metropolitan Community Churches. “And we are here to encourage
the churches to do justice within their own communions when it
comes to people with HIV/AIDS; and those who are lesbian, gay,
bisexual or transgendered.” 

She was delivering a message during a 20 February service at the
chapel of the Pontifical University of Rio de Grande do Sul in
Porto Alegre, Brazil while speakers in another venue at the ninth
assembly of the World Council of Churches were debating church

The Metropolitan Community Churches was launched in 1968 to
minister to ‘gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons. It
has since grown to include 43 000 adherents in almost 300
congregations in 22 countries. 

“We come to the WCC as a denomination and movement of people who
have been healed and transformed by the powerful touch of a
living Saviour, whose mercy and love have reached where the
institutional church would and could not reach,” said Wilson. 

Also as the service was held, South African Anglican Archbishop
Desmond Tutu was delivering an address to the main session of the
assembly in which he stated that “gay, lesbian, so-called
straight, all belong and are loved” by God. 

“I struggled against racism because it sought to prejudice
someone because of something about which they could do nothing,
their skin colour,” Tutu later told journalists. “I could not
keep quiet so long as people were being penalised about something
which they could do nothing about * their sexual orientation.” 

In her message at the service of the Metropolitan Community
Churches, Wilson said she and others in the denomination could
empathise with the persecution experienced by Christian Dalits,
once called untouchables, in India, who also brought their
stories to the WCC assembly. 

Wilson also highlighted the murder in the last 18 months of 12
gay men in Jamaica, some of whom were HIV/AIDS workers and
community organizers and lamented that “no one in the government,
university or the churches is speaking up, offering support or
shelter or help”. 

She stressed that the Metropolitan Community Churches was at the
WCC gathering “to publicly call on the WCC and its member
churches to repudiate violence against people for their sexuality
or their HIV status.” But she added, “We came, even more, because
we have so much to offer to the wider church and community * and
because the Lord is upon us.” [465 words] 

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