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Open Table June 2016 Newsletter
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#WeAreOrlando - Solidarity with those lost and injured in terror attack #OnePulse #LoveWins


Dear friends,

Such a sad few days since news of the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub broke on Sunday. The worst terror attack on US soil since 9/11, the worst gun crime in US history, and perhaps the largest murder of LGBT people since the Holocaust. How do we respond in the face of such horror? 
We have shared on the Open Table Liverpool Facebook page a range of responses, including our own:

Pray for the victims, the attacker (also killed), and especially those who will judge this incident with homophobia, islamophobia and racism not compassion.

Some Church leaders have issued responses - Presiding Bishop of the US Episcopal Church Michael Curry recorded a video offering prayers for the victims of the Orlando, recognising the significance of this event as part of the struggle for equal civil rights for all people. The Vatican released a statement from Pope Francis which was criticised for not acknowledging the LGBT identities of the victims. The Church of England at first recycled its prayer for Paris and Lahore, then the Archbishops of Canterbury and York issued a joint statement which, while it did acknowledge that LGBTI people were the victims of this brutal incident, was criticised for not going far enough in acknowledging the role of Christian communities in contributing to (and challenging) homophobia. The leaders of the UK Methodist Conference issued a powerful statement expressing solidarity with the LGBTI community and apologising for an earlier statement that did not go far enough. Meanwhile the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross wrote on Twitter:

Our prayers are shallow, an affront even, as long as so much religion fails fully to affirm and include LGBT people.

Revd Rachel Mann, a trans vicar at Manchester Cathedral, shared this beautiful prayer, which we will pray together when we meet at St Bride's next Sunday.

It was moving to see so many people take to the streets of OrlandoLondonLiverpool, and other cities in solidarity with the victims, survivors, and the LGBT community worldwide as this event highlights our vulnerability in a world which struggles to accept our diversity.

One of the responses we found most moving was this tweet:

Trust me when I say that even your bravest, most confident, most fine-seeming LGBT loved one badly needs to hear you say "you matter to me."

We can honestly say that each and every one of you matter to us. We want you to know that, if you were in any doubt. It has emerged that the Orlando attacker may have been a gay man ashamed of his sexuality because of his understanding of religion. We pray that out of this tragedy may come greater awareness of the damage of stigma and prejudice and the power of love, especially love between LGBT people.

But the simplest and most profound response we have seen was this meme, referencing the name of the nightclub, Pulse, so called in memory of the owner's brother who died from AIDS.

All of humanity shares #OnePulse

While it is vital to celebrate our diversity and difference, it's also important at times like this to remember that we have more in common with the rest of humanity that what sets us apart.

Let's come together in compassion and keep striving to ensure #LoveWins.

Read on for details of what's happening in Liverpool's LGBT community and beyond this month. Thank you for your support.


Warren & Kieran, LGBT Ministry Facilitators

Farewell to Guy

Update: Our vicar Guy Elsmore's last Sunday in the parish is Sunday 3rd July, before he leaves to take up his new role as  Archdeacon of Buckingham in the Diocese of Oxford.
 
Guy will be accompanying our singing at Open Table this Sunday 19th June, so come if you can to say farewell and express your appreciation for his vision which made the Open Table community welcome almost eight years ago.

The process of appointing a new vicar will begin shortly and we'll keep you posted on how this process will work. Rest assured, we have a say in who Guy's replacement will be, and Open Table is now firmly at the heart of parish life here, so we will be looking for someone who shares and supports that inclusive vision.

Another helping at Open Table!


You may recall that we have consulted members of the community in recent months about whether you would like a service on an additional Sunday each month, and what you would like it to be. We're delighted to announce that our survey said a unanimous YES to another Sunday, with the vast majority in favour of a bring and share agape meal. So we will start next month with the new Open Table gathering on Sunday 3rd July - doors open 6pm for refreshments while we set the table with whatever you are able to bring and share. We will share bread and wine informally as we sit at the table together. We will also take time to plan for Liverpool Pride on Saturday 30th July, with the theme 'Liverpool Icons'. Come along!
 

Appreciating Open Table


On Saturday 2nd July representatives of the Open Table communities in Liverpool, Manchester, Warrington and North Wales will come together to work on sharing our vision and values to guide the direction of Open Table over the next three years. Places are limited at this event but we want to hear the views of as many people as possible. If you would like to have a conversation with one of the Open Table team about what Open Table means to you, and can spare 30 minutes before 27th June, please let us know, either at the Open Table service, or by email: open.tablelgbt@gmail.com. Some of you may recall that St Bride's went through a similar consultation last year. We're using the same Appreciative Inquiry approach, led by Tim Slack from Appreciating People: Click here for info.

Open Table Wigan?


Do you live in or near Wigan?  Would you, or anyone you know, like to be part of a group exploring creating an Open Table community in Wigan? If you are get in touch with Warren on open.tablelgbt@gmail.com or telephone 0776 8808768 for more details. It is so exciting to see the Open Table family continue to grow and Wigan are also celebrating their first Pride this year in August.  We'll let you know when Open Table Wigan hold their first service.

Join us for our Open Table Residential

October 21st to 23rd - St Joseph’s Prayer Centre, Blundell Ave, Formby L37 1PH
 
We invite you to the very first Open Table Residential weekend - 'We are the Body of Christ'. It will be a great opportunity to spend quality time with other LGBTI Christians from across the Open Table family, with time for sharing, worship, quiet, social and of course food! The weekend costs £115, including all your meals and accommodation. We can negotiate concessions so do please have a word with Warren or Kieran if you would like to explore this.  You can also pay in instalments over the next few months. The photo is of the chapel when we went for our away day in March 2015.

Open Table gatherings coming soon:

 
Open Table Liverpool 19th June 6.30pm
St Bride’s Church, Percy St, Liverpool L8 7LT

Open Table Liverpool's monthly Eucharist will be led by Revd Hannah Lewis, the Diocese of Liverpool's chaplain to the deaf community, and will be signed in BSL. As it's Father's Day Hannah will reflect on what we gain and lose in our image of God as Father.
Refreshments from 6pm and after the service. Visit the St Bride's website, follow Open Table or St Bride's on Twitter or join the Facebook group.

Open Table Manchester 26th June 5.00pm
St Chrysostom’s Manchester continue to meet at 5pm on the LAST Sunday of the month at Saint Chrysostom's Church, 4A Anson Road, Victoria Park, Manchester M14 5BG - Visit their website.  If you or your friends live in or near Manchester pop along and say hi, you’ll be very welcome. Follow St Chrysostom’s on Facebook or Twitter: @StChrys

Open Table Liverpool 3rd July 6.30pm - NEW monthly bring & share agape meal
By popular demand, we're starting our new monthly gathering in July. Doors open 6pm for refreshments as we set the table with whatever you're able to bring and share. We'll share bread and wine together as we sit around the table. We'll also reflect on our plans for Liverpool Pride on July 30th. See you there?

Open Table Warrington 10th July 6.30pm
Our friends at St John’s URC Warrington have an Open Table service on the 2nd Sunday of every month at 6.30pm with refreshments before and after the service. St Johns’ URC is about a mile south of Warrington town centre, on the A49 Wilderspool Causeway, adjacent to an Esso petrol station. For more details on how to find the church visit their website. You can also follow St John’s on Facebook or Twitter: @StJohnsURC.

Other Events, Campaigns & Resources

Strictly @ St John's


St John's URC Church and Open Table Warrington in conjunction with Warrington Mardi Gras are hosting Strictly@St John's. The glitz and glamour of the ballroom comes to the Mardi Gras Festival!

Learn two different dances and enjoy a delicious buffet. Glitter is essential for this event!!

£10: Dancing and buffet
£5: Buffet and watching dancing


(You are welcome to bring your own alcoholic drinks to this event)

There's still time to get your ticket, just call Pam on 07736925600. See you there!

Sparkle in the Cathedral


Sparkle is the national transgender celebration running between 8th and 10th July, and Manchester Cathedral is welcoming visitors to the Sparkle 2016 celebrations and invites all to come along to their Sunday morning service on 10th July at 10.30am. So come along and "Sparkle in the Cathedral".  Allies are warmly welcomed too.  Warren is planning to attend, so if you want company on the train or a lift get in touch on 0776 880 8768.

The Cathedral is on Victoria Street, M3 1SX (just behind the Corn Exchange shopping centre, nearthe Arndale and Printworks, about a 15 minute walk from Sackville Park).

For more details visit the Sparkle website.

Does poverty have a woman's face?


Loretta Minghella, Chief Executive of Christian Aid, will be delivering  the 2016 Annual Inclusive Church Lecture in Liverpool Cathedral on Wednesday 13th July 2016.

Inclusive Church is an organisation committed to working for a church that is welcoming and open to all.  Working with individuals and partner organisations they seek to raise awareness about the ways that people feel excluded by the church and St Bride's is proud to be a member.

The lecture starts at 6.45pm in the Concert Room, Liverpool Cathedral, L1 7AZ.  To find the Concert Room, walk along the main car park and use the side entrance.  It is sure to be signposted.

This should be a fascinating evening.  For more details visit the event page and reserve your FREE place

LGBTI Mission


The LGBTI Mission is a new coalition of campaigning groups working towards the full acceptance and affirmation of LGBTI people within the life of the Church of England. The aim over the next five years is to remove barriers to full participation for LGBTI people. Check out their website, follow on Facebook and Twitter and find out how you can play your part.
St Bride’s and Open Table are looking at ways we can get involved.  Let Kieran or Warren know if you would like to be part of this.

Final thoughts


You are all very welcome at any of the services at St Bride's.  St Bride's aims to be a place where everyone can feel respected and at home, regardless of sexuality, gender, race, disability, class or creed.  For details of what is else is happening check out our website. Don't forget that you can also join the Open Table Facebook group or follow on Twitter: @opentablelgbtwhere we share conversation, articles, resources and interesting events - come and join the conversation!

 

Remember, if you ever feel you need a cuppa or someone to talk to, get in touch and Kieran or Warren can either meet  you or put you in touch with one of the clergy in the team or with other services in Merseyside. 

If there's anything you'd like to see in these monthly newsletters e.g. blog posts, book reviews, related events or reflections please do drop us a line, we'd be delighted to share them!
Copyright © 2016 St Bride's Church, All rights reserved.


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