Heartwarming Story of Inclusion in the C. of E.

Having my own particular understanding of the difficulties faced by people in our Church whose sexual/gender identity is different from the ‘binary norm’, I was pleased, today, to find this particular link – on the website of ‘Inclusive Church’ in the U.K. – telling the story of Vee Pinto, a member of the Church of England General Synod, who is also a Trustee of I.C.

What heartens me is the fact that Ivy, in her particular circumstances – those of a gay, black woman Anglican in England – can be elected by the Church of England General Synod to the membership of the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC). The CNC selects the candidate that the Church wishes to nominate as the next diocesan bishop of a vacant diocese. This nomination is made to Her Majesty the Queen through the Prime Minister.

This choice of Vee Pinto should surely help critics of the Church of England’s ‘Living in Love and Faith’ (LLF) programme, which is still working on problems of institutional racism, sexism and homophobia, which have no place in our Churches.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

__________________________________________________________

I first heard about Inclusive Church (IC) when I first moved to Leicester in 2020. I’ve been immensely encouraged and inspired by the work various individuals are doing here in Leicester to promote not just inclusion but safe spaces for LGBT+ people like myself where we can support one another, walk alongside one another, and celebrate the beautiful people LGBT+ are—deeply loved, seen, and cherished by God.

Because of the journey I’ve been on, my beliefs about inclusion are deeply rooted in my belief that God is radically inclusive—God not only welcomes everyone but loves all people. The Gospel message is one of reversal—the first will be last, and the last will be first. The people with the least power in society are those that God gives the most honoured place at the table. Jesus includes all the people that the religious leaders, the rich and powerful, want to exclude. And so, if all are included and loved by God, then all of our churches should model that too—living out a truly radical, inclusive life.

Christina Baron and I were recently elected by the General Synod as a lay pair as central members of the Crown Nominations Commission (CNC). The CNC selects the candidate that the Church wishes to nominate as the next diocesan bishop of a vacant diocese. This nomination is made to Her Majesty the Queen through the Prime Minister, and although it is essential that CNCs cast their nets more widely, looking for potential diocesans from all backgrounds, I am deeply committed to praying and working for an inclusive church which fully mirrors and serves and loves all people, and I want to see bishops, as stated in the words of the Ordinal, that will ‘’.. proclaim the Gospel boldly, confront injustice, and work for righteousness and peace in all the world.” IC enables many church communities to truly welcome and love those who have been pushed to the margins of society and to become a place of belonging for those individuals.

I lived in the shadows for a long period of time, but through IC, I have met deeply affirming Christians who helped me to unashamedly affirm and celebrate who I am as a black LGBT+ woman. I can confidently say that I am proud to be part of the Inclusive Church family, not just as a trustee but as a member, making the church a much better place through education and self-awareness. Any financial contributions you can make are really appreciated in order to continue building our beautiful and prophetic network. Thank you!

Vee Pinto is a trustee of Inclusive Church, a lay member of General Synod and a member of the Crown Nominations Committee. You can find out more about all our trustees on our website.

About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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