A brief history of Open Table – a journey in grace and truth | A brave faith

THIS is an extract from a newly published book, Journeys in Grace and Truth, which asks:

Is it possible to hold a positive view of same-sex relationships while being a biblically rooted Evangelical?

It features essays from twelve senior Anglican Evangelicals who believe so, and share how they came to new insights. These include the current and former Bishops of Liverpool, the city where the following journey unfolds. Warren Hartley, and I, Kieran Bohan, are a lay couple, formally authorised by the current Bishop of Liverpool as Local Missional Leaders to care for Open Table, a monthly worshipping community for LGBT Christians, family, friends and allies – this is the story of that community:

St Bride’s Liverpool relaunched in November 2007 with a vision for a ‘creative, progressive, inclusive’ community. Open Table is a Fresh Expression which began shortly afterwards, in July 2008, as a manifestation of this vision.

It takes the form of a monthly service, usually a Eucharist, which aims to create a safe, sacred space with a warm and affirming welcome for Liverpool’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, who have traditionally not been well served by mainstream church. Our primary goal is to explore faith amongst LGBT Christians, and assist them in integrating their spiritual and sexual or gender identities – as for some these have been in direct conflict. We also welcome and affirm family members, friends and other allies who also seek an inclusive Church community.

An early member once asked us: ‘Will it be “open table”?’ (i.e. welcoming everyone to share in the Eucharist). Sadly, this is because LGBT Christians have often either felt or been intentionally excluded from the Eucharist.

Source: A brave faith

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