Glamorous group supports Methodist gays and lesbians
Gay and lesbian members of the Methodist Church of NZ have created an informal network to provide each other support and information.
The network is called Gay Lesbian and Methodist (or GLAM), and it welcomes ordained and lay people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
Hamilton presbyter Rev Dr Susan Thompson says GLAM includes those who are open about their sexual identity and those who cannot be, for various reasons. “GLAM is open to people who are on different stages in their journey. For this reason we guarantee confidentiality to all who join,” Susan says.
“We formed the network after Conference 2006. After Conference we felt we needed to be more intentional in offering one another support. The Church can be a very lonely place for gay and lesbian people, particularly if you are not able to be open about your identity.
“We wanted to find a way for those people to feel connected, supported and affirmed and to give them a sense of being a part of something. I know of 16 people who are linked through our email network, and we have encouraged them to forward messages to their own contacts.”
Susan says GLAM is not an official group but a support network that provides communication and maybe some advocacy. She is the only person who knows the identity of all members of GLAM. She sends out email correspondence via blind copies so those who wish to remain anonymous can do so.
“There is a lot of diversity within group, and we are not trying to develop a particular gay or lesbian theology. We did make a joint response to the review of the role of church president. Mainly we share our stories, and sometimes I send out bits of news or a prayer or poem for people to read, reflect upon and discuss.
“For the moment our purpose is to support one another. Ideas for the future include ‘glamorous’ events like meeting at Conference and leading a Sunday worship service at Conference.
“We definitely want to be more visible in the church but we will do that gently and with sense of grace rather than in a strident fashion. And we are not into forcing people to be open so anyone who would like to contact us should have no fear of that.”
To join GLAM and be part of the email network send a note to Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org.