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By Anthony Skelton

April 2016

LGBT & Faith

Pastoral Letter from Anthony Skelton

Dear Fellow Members of LGBT Community,

The problems we experience in coming to terms with our sexuality may differ slightly because all our personal emotions and lifestyles are personal to each one of us, so please forgive me if I seem to suggest we all share the same problems, since some of you may have suffered different degrees of pain and distress depending on your own personal circumstances.

We encounter prejudice at a very early age, and at school we may experience bullying and ridicule which can affect our mental health later in life. Our faith can be a source of strength that helps us cope with prejudice, or it can be a source of distress and confusion when struggling to accept with our sexuality. Personally I suffered bullying throughout all my school life in many different schools. It was so bad at one school that nobody dared be my friend after a teacher humiliated me in class. He called me and a girl to the front of the class and got us both to read into a microphone and then he played it back to the class telling my class mates that I sounded more like a girl than the girls, after which the bullying got worse to the point that I was pushed from behind down a bank and broke my arm.

My personal faith in Jesus who was my only friend at times, kept me going because I was unaware why people saw me to be different. It was not until my teens and in the Christian Youth Group with members from local churches, that I experienced yet more humiliation over sexuality. At the age of seventeen and unaware of my own sexuality, the vicar of the parish attended the Christian Youth Group for a talk on sex. I was horrified at the way the vicar was mocking two men having sex and stood up full of the Holy Spirit speaking out to the vicar and fellow members of the youth group and saying; “What if two men love one another - I am sure God would not mind that!” I cannot remember what everyone said in reply, but they all laughed at me mocking me. After that meeting my fellow members of the youth group would try and fix me up with a girls, which was another mockery since even the girls were mocking me as well.

I moved to London at the age of twenty to seek a vocation in the church and worked in a homeless hostel for physically and mentally handicapped men, when I discovered that one of my colleagues was gay. One evening we were alone and I got on the floor in front of a coal fire with him and made love. We realised we were not right for each other and went separate ways and he got married. I hope it was not because he was unable to accept his sexuality due his position in the church.

When I look back at how I discovered my sexuality and how beautiful an experience it was, somehow I feel I was also making love with the Jesus in him at the time, like Christ is in all of us.

My husband and I have just upgraded our civil partnership to marriage and we have been together for thirty one years this year. We met on the 31 Bus to Camden and how we met was even more beautiful than my first encounter when I discovered my sexuality, for I just knew he was chosen for me by Christ. I will save this story for later.

I want you to know that you are, what you are and who you are is important, for Christ died on the Cross to set us all free so that we could live our lives to the full and be the person God created us to be. Those with closed minds, who judge us, are not free.

They are bound to the written word and not the living word of the Spirit of God. Sacred Scripture is our Sacred History and we to accept that and look to the future with Christ and let The Holy Spirit enlighten us and lead us into eternity with God.

When God said; “Go in My Spirit and multiply.” We need to realise it was not just procreation God was talking about, but the fruits of the Holy Spirit. These are, Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control. Something our persecutors seriously lack.

So with confidence I urge you to accept your sexuality and marry it with a deep personal faith because we are all part of a diverse family of God, and the only true faith is in God, whatever religion or none you belong. Therefore respect the roots of your faith and others without compromising on your sexuality, for some are called to parenthood and others to serve God and humanity in other ways. Let us then cry out “I am what I am” to God, giving Him thanks for what we are to God our Creator and live our lives to the full, like Christ intended and whom suffered and died so that we can be free.

Yours Faithfully,

Anthony Skelton

Faithful & True

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