The message we have been waiting to hear

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Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
October 28, 2009, 10:04

thought you all might be interested in the statement from Bayside.

“Bayside Church is a place where everyone is welcome. We believe that God loves everyone and that He sent His Son Jesus to bring salvation (through His death and resurrection) to all of humanity. A study of the life of Jesus clearly reveals His love and care towards those who are often marginalized by the rest of society. Bayside Church welcomes GLBT people to find God’s love and grace and to worship Him freely within our community.”

Ann Maree
Joined in 2008
October 28, 2009, 10:15


This is good, really good actually. A written statement seems to be more of a commitment somehow. Did they just put this statement out?

Ann Maree

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
October 28, 2009, 14:03

‘World first’ as Pentecostals welcome gays

Written by Peter Hackney

Wednesday, 28 October 2009 11:05

In what’s believed to be a world first, a pastor from a Pentecostal Christian church has issued a call for acceptance of GLBT people, and unequivocally invited queer people to join his congregation.

Pastor Rob Buckingham of the Christian City Church, also known as the C3 Church, issued the call during his weekly sermon on Sunday.

Buckingham is Senior Pastor of Melbourne’s Bayside C3 Church, which has three locations in Melbourne (Cheltenham, Frankston and South Melbourne) and a combined congregation of several thousand.

In the ground-breaking sermon delivered by Buckingham, the pastor said that real Christianity was accepting, and that people – not God – were anti-gay.

“Often the church is viewed as anti-homosexual,” he said. “Real Christianity is accepting … God is not presenting the attitudes sometimes presented by Christians and by the church.”

Referring to research published in the landmark book unChristian, by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, Buckingham said the church’s stance on homosexuality was its number one problem today.

“Christians’ criticism of gay people doesn’t just drive a wedge between the church and the gay community. Many [heterosexuals] in our community are not anti-gay, so when they hear an anti-gay message coming from the church it actually drives a wedge between Christianity and them as well.”

Buckingham went on to say that Bible stories were being erroneously presented as anti-gay. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah did not concern homosexuals, he said, but rather people who were “overfed, unconcerned, lazy, had lots of resources” and refused to help the poor and needy.

Speaking to SX after his sermon, Buckingham – a married heterosexual with three children – said he had broken with Pentecostal tradition because he firmly believed that GLBT people had a place in his church.

“This is simply something that we feel strongly about,” he told SX. “We believe that God loves everyone and that he sent his son Jesus to bring salvation to all … Bayside Church welcomes GLBT people to find God’s love and grace and to worship him freely within our community.”

Anthony Venn-Brown, convenor of Freedom 2 B[e] – a support group for queer people from Pentecostal, Evangelical and Charismatic Christian backgrounds – said Buckingham’s stance was “very significant because Pentecostalism is traditionally quite conservative”.

But he said it also represented changes that had already occurred within the denomination.

“More than half of the Pentecostals anonymously polled in the Australian Church Life Survey [in 2004] said ‘yes’ when asked if homosexuals should be accepted as members of the church on the same basis as heterosexuals,” he said.

It remains unclear whether Buckingham’s views are shared by others in the C3 hierarchy.

A spokesperson from the church’s main Australian campus at Oxford Falls, Sydney was unable to provide a statement to SX by press time.

Buckingham told SX he did not “in any way speak for Christian City Church on this issue”.

Joined in 2009
October 28, 2009, 14:39

Great article – I particularly liked the bit where he says that the anti-gay stance of many churches has not only driven a wedge between the GLBTIQ community but between the church and heterosexuals too. Excellent observation.

Interesting that he says that it doesn’t represent the view of CCC – I wonder how much hot water he has gotten himself into with his oversight.

Also interesting the results of the survey – thats something that surprises me in a way but not hard to believe when you think about it.

Joined in 2007
October 28, 2009, 16:42

Thanks for sharing the article with us, Anthony. It’s certainly an encouraging story. I’m praying that this will not just all disappear now, but that more pastors (pray God one near me) will begin to search their hearts on this and change their stance.

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
October 28, 2009, 23:02

the survey was actually done in 2001 and slipped under the radar. I have mentioned it hear on the forum before and sometimes when I’ve spoken publicly about change……seemed appropriate to bring it up for this article…….for such a time as this…….eh. 😀

Joined in 2009
October 29, 2009, 18:13

Hi Ann Maree,

I havent been far away and yep I am ok thanks 😀 sometimes life gets a little busy and presents some lovely surprises too 😉

I am undecided as to whether I want to mention the name of the church I went to for a few reasons. Certainly their practices were cultic. Many people were taken advantage of and those that were not taken advantage of were considered to be of no benefit to this church. That may sound harsh but thats looking back on it all with hindsight and seeing the whole picture.

Its excellent that you have learnt form those days – its my firm belief that we can learn from everything altho its not always possible to do so immediately due to the nature of the abuse.

No I dont know Rob Buckingham – I have only heard the podcast and seen the video at the Bayside website. Thats all I know except for the other info on the website and his blogs. I’d want to see more of him and see what he is like to feel like I can fully trust. I know that I came way from the church I attended for many years not knowing what or who to believe or what to think, say or do – right into a spiritual wasteland for many years. Its taken a long time to get to where I am now which is a much better place – a few years ago I most probably wouldnt have listened to Robs message.

I know I want to trust immediately but I cant bring myself to do so – yess I am responsible for my own reaction to what has happened in the past but then so is the church. While we are encouraged to forgive this does not exempt the churches from the abuse it has done.

In this respect I am glad Rob Buckingham has opened up the church he pastors to acceptance of GLBTIQ people – its a good start and I hope that it is genuine and not just to boost numbers or the coffers. I really do hope that many will follow this example.

It does take time to recover from spiritual abuse – be patient and kind to yourself – most importantly take the time to love you and all that you are. Cos youre worth it. (and no this isnt a L’Oreal commercial hehe)

Anthony Venn-Brown
Joined in 2005
October 29, 2009, 18:41

Latest article on Bayside

Church advocates for gay acceptance

Author: Andie Noonan Posted:Thursday, 29 October 2009

‘You are welcome here’ is not a phrase GLBT people have come to expect from organised Christianity.

However, a progressive minister at Melbourne’s Pentecostal Bayside Church received a standing ovation earlier this month for preaching just that in a special sermon on how the church should embrace GLBT people.

Bayside Church pastor Rob Buckingham said he wants to “shatter” preconceived ideas that religion must be inherently homophobic.

“I believe the Christian message is for everyone and it breaks my heart that some sections of the church have left people out and even shunned them,” Buckingham told Southern Star.

Based in Cheltenham, Bayside Church is thought to have taken the most prominent stand to date on GLBT acceptance in the worldwide Pentecostal movement.

“I said [GLBT] people were welcome to be with us on this, or any, occasion. At that point the whole congregation applauded,” Buckingham said.

The pioneering pastor has since received an outpouring of support from church-goers and the GLBT community both in Australia and internationally.

“Some of the stories are heartbreaking and I have been in tears a few times this week reading them,” he said.

Buckingham agreed many parts of the Bible are selectively taken literally when it comes to homosexuality.

“I think it’s time we took a closer look at all the Scriptures relating to homosexuality and, at least, stop bashing gay people with the same verses in the Bible,” he said.

“So much of the Bible speaks of the love and grace of God towards everyone. Why not focus on this?”

Buckingham, who lives with his wife Christie and their three daughters, said both the GLBT community and the church need to form some kind of truce to move forward.

“It’s easy to keep our distance and shoot at each other. I am asking people to stop firing and get to know each other.”

GLBT Christian online network, Freedom2b[e], founder Anthony Venn-Brown said the message was “historic”.

“To have a heterosexual, Pentecostal, megachurch pastor get up in front of the congregation and say the things he said and then for the church to give him a standing ovation, I don’t think that’s happened anywhere in the world,” Venn-Brown said.

“This is not about ‘Yes, you can come and find Jesus and we’ll make you heterosexual’. You’re welcome as you are, without an agenda.”

Joined in 2009
October 29, 2009, 18:51

“It’s easy to keep our distance and shoot at each other. I am asking people to stop firing and get to know each other.”

I like this statement 🙂

Ann Maree
Joined in 2008
October 29, 2009, 19:24

Hi AVB and Ant

Yes, I too like the sentence that you highlighted, Ant. In fact, I very am encouraged by the whole article. It feels totally genuine and heart felt. And right now I can’t think of any way it could be better.

AVB, can you pass on my thanks to Rob?

And thanks to you too for all your hard work that has led to this and will continue reaping rewards into the future.

Ann Maree

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