I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting all of you, but for the many I have met, I’m so grateful for the warm welcome I have received. My regret is that I do not live locally, which makes attending services difficult. This may raise questions as to why I took the post here whilst living 25 miles away down the M6. There are two reasons for this:
1) Throughout my faith journey there has always been a sense of God’s leading, being in the right place at the right time. The Message translation of Proverbs 3.5-6 says: ‘Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.’ Trusting God has always brought me out of my comfort zone, but when God says yes, it’s very difficult to say no. St Peter’s is no exception. I feel called here. Ever since the interview, I felt a shalom (peace) that this is where I’m meant to be.
2) It is probably no secret that I am gay. The fact that I can write this without fear of reprieve is because my experience of St Peter’s has been one of openness, solidarity, and acceptance. My discipleship in the Charismatic Evangelical tradition of the Church of England has not always afforded me that experience or kindness. Although I loved my previous church community immensely and left on good terms; my coming out, and subsequent relationship with my partner Jonny prohibited me from serving in a place of leadership. Despite many years of loneliness, anguish and prayer for God to make me straight, I finally came to the realisation that perhaps God had made me this way and wanted me to stay this way. This new found self-acceptance did not jeopardise my employed role in the church, my vicar was very clear on that; but it did disqualify me from other forms of ministry, from leading worship, groups, and preaching. No longer being
able to do the things I felt called to, what I was trained to do, was deeply devastating and discouraging. It still is. The past few months have been a process of healing and rebuilding my trust with the Church. Although I’m not quite there yet, I’m thankful to be a part of a community where I can work and serve, where my gifts are welcome, and most of all where my partner and I are welcome. There are not many safe spaces for LGBT+
people, let alone churches. St Peter’s is a special place (for many reasons) because of this.
Whatever your viewpoint on sexuality and marriage is, whether traditional or inclusive, I believe there is common ground for us to be able to love each other as Christ calls us to. To worship together in unity. The Living in Love & Faith course is an opportunity to listen to and share different views and experiences. The course starts on Wednesday 9th March, at 11.30am in the Veranda Room at St Peter’s House for five weeks until 6th April. There is a course booklet to guide us through each session. If you’re on the fence about whether or not to attend, please do come. Each church that takes part in LLF will give feedback (deadline 30th
April 2022). Your views could help shape some important outcomes for the Church of England. Your voice matters. Alex Potts, Parish Administrator and PA to Vicar
Winter 2023 MiA Newsletter Christmas Tree Festival: our entry! December’s inaugural Christmas Tree Festival proved a great way to showcase the various groups associated with our church. The Mission in Action team had fun with the invitation to think...