Honest Church

The Student Christian Movement’s Honest Church campaign asks churches to write “with greater honesty about the true welcome that LGBTQ+ people receive” and to be honest about women’s opportunities or limits in the church.

In the spirit of supporting this, we want to make clear where we stand:

We are part of the United Reformed Church (URC), a Christian denomination which has publicly affirmed the dignity of transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people, opposed so-called conversion ‘therapy’, and which allowed individual churches to offer same-sex marriage since 2016 if they wish to do so. There are no limits whatsoever on the role women can play, and for over a hundred years, women have been welcomed as ordained ministers, often occupying the most senior roles in the denomination. Local churches hold a range of views on inclusion with integrity, so here is a little about St. Andrew’s with Castle Gate:

  • We have affirmed our support for LGBTQ+ people by registering as a church where we can conduct Same-Sex Marriages.
  • We have LGBTQ+ people in the congregation and some in leadership roles.
  • Our church has hosted the service for Christians at Pride Nottingham and a communion service requested by members of the Nottingham LGBTQ+ community.
  • We are pleased to host The OpenHouse, a group for LGBTQ+ people of faith in Nottingham, and this is led by members of our church.
  • Those in leadership, including those leading worship, speak positively about LGBTQ+ relationships, as they would opposite-sex relationships.
  • We have talked honestly and openly as a church, both in discussion groups and at a whole church meeting, about the topics of LGBTQ+ inclusion and same-sex marriage.
  • Female ministers are common in the United Reformed Church and we often have services led by women.
  • Women may preside at Holy Communion and do at our church.
  • Many of our Elders are women and our church secretarial team includes women.
  • When creating decision-making groups, we make sure to consider gender balance.

 

The honest church campaign asks churches to score themselves from 1-5 on the scales outlined in the Honest Church “toolkit”. (To understand the scoring system better please visit the individual toolkits on the Honest Church website). For both LGBTQ+ welcome and women’s roles we think we are a “4”. Here is why we don’t think we are a full 5:

  • We are not a church that expects everyone to agree on everything. Whilst a majority of members support same sex marriage for example, a few were unsure or didn’t think we should. (Like any “family” we accept that we will not agree all the time, but are pleased to be part of a congregation which respects and loves each other regardless, and recognises that opinions can change over time.)
  • We are not a church started by, or led primarily by, LGBTQ+ people.

 

We really hope that by being honest, everyone (including students and young people) can decide whether we are a church where they might feel safe and welcome. Taking the first step into a new church can be a daunting experience, but whoever you are, and wherever you are on life’s journey, we hope you feel welcome here.

You may read our general “welcome statement” HERE.