A new report has revealed that the majority of LGBT+ Christians don’t feel comfortable in churches.
Research found that more than two thirds of LGBT+ Christians do not feel “safe to be themselves” when visiting places of worship. The survey was conducted by The Ozanne Foundation, Dignity and Worth and OneBodyOneFaith, amongst other organisations.
There were 1,121 responses from UK residents, with 754 stating that they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender or non-binary Christians. Of that group, 69 per cent said that they went to church almost every week – most were part of Church of England congregations.
A third of LGBT+ congregants also said they had noticed no change in how safe they had felt inside churches over the last 5 years.
The report comes as the Archbishops of Canterbury and York released a statement as part of LGBT+ History Month.
They said: “As we work together to discover what it means to be a diverse church receiving the gift of everyone, our prayer is that this would be a time of truly valuing each other as God’s precious and beloved children.
“Let us pray that the Spirit of God would stir in us a deeper sense of belonging to each other as the Body of Christ.
“We also take this opportunity to lament and reject all prejudice, hatred, oppression, and violence against LGBT+ people.
“We pray that LGBT+ people around the world would be able to live lives free from fear and find joy in the love of God.
“Let us commit to building communities in which everyone experiences the unconditional love of God in Christ Jesus.”
When asked how churches could be made to feel safer for members of the LGBT+ community, many respondents said that having other openly-gay people within the congregation would help them feel more comfortable.
Other popular suggestions included having church leaders openly affirm same-sex relationships, and having positive recognition of LGBT+ people in semons.
Having an inclusive statement on the church website was another popular response.