THIS LENT, Open Table Liverpool will offer a six-week program to explore the 'queerness' of the Christian tradition.
Participants will read and discuss Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know About Life and Love and How It Can Revitalize Christianity (Beacon Press, 2016), written by the American Episcopal priest Elizabeth Edman.
“Authentic Christianity is and must be queer,” said Edman. “This isn’t about sexuality, it’s about Jesus’ demand that we challenge - or ‘queer’ - simplistic, black and white thinking that pits us against each other. The world badly needs to hear this aspect of our faith, now more than ever.”
The six-week study will guide participants in reading the book Queer Virtue, which lifts up queer ethics as a model for progressive Christian practice. At each session, participants will watch a short video together, and be given prompts for individual reflection, one-on-one conversation, and small or large group discussion. Participants will need copies of Queer Virtue, which is available online in print and e-editions.
Queer Virtue explores several aspects of queer experience, including Identity and Pride, Risk and Coming Out, Scandal, and Adoption. These experiences forge an ethical path that is deeply resonant with the ethical path that Christians are called to follow. Each session will explore one or two steps on this path. By paying attention to queer experience, Edman asserts, Christian communities can learn a great deal about how to live their faith – how to be the church more effectively and with greater consequence.
“Lent is a crucial time to explore these queer aspects of our faith,” said Edman. “During Lent, we pray, repent, and ponder the courage that Jesus showed and that he demands of us. Reading Queer Virtue together can help church members prepare to walk with Jesus through the strenuous events of Holy Week, and emerge into a new and even more powerful understanding of what Easter means.”
Open Table is an ecumenical Christian worship community which offers a warm welcome to people who are: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer / Questioning, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA) and all who seek an inclusive Church. Open Table began in St Bride's Liverpool in June 2008. Now Open Table communities gather across the UK, hosted by inclusive churches.
Warren Hartley, LGBTQIA+ Ministry Facilitator at St Bride’s Liverpool, said; “Open Table aims to create a safe sacred space for you to explore your faith and what it means for you. The Queer Virtue Lent study group is an excellent opportunity for us to do this together in a supportive community.”