03 December 2016
A new short film about the experience of LGBT people at church will have its world premiere at St Asaph Cathedral in Wales.
The film, entitled All One in Christ, was produced by The Iris Prize, the world’s largest LGBT short film prize, and shot over two days. The Iris Prize was awarded a Big Lottery Fund grant of £247,462 in 2015/16 to launch and run a project called Iris in the Community.
Clergy have spoken out about personal persecution in a film to encourage acceptance of people’s different sexuality among the church community.
It is being promoted by the Church in Wales and premiered in a film festival at St Asaph Cathedral, Denbighshire, on Tuesday.
One gay contributor said the church had once felt a “painful place”.
In April, the Archbishop of Wales issued an apology to gay people for prejudice shown in the past.
Rev Sarah Hildreth-Osborn, rector at Llanrwst in Conwy county, said: “Over the last two or three years I have begun to discover what it means not to have to live a frightened life, hidden away, terrified of what other people might think of me if they find out I’m gay.
“I don’t live like that any more. I’m very happy.”
The film “All One in Christ” was filmed over two days with members of Changing Attitude a network of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and heterosexual members of the Church in Wales.
Mike Jones from Changing Attitude said contributors described the “pain experienced” as a result of being made to feel “unwelcome” or “rejected” by the church
“But the film is also full of faith, and hope, and even love, for a church that continues to struggle with accepting people whatever their sexuality,” he said.
“We are all one in Christ. This means, for example, that everyone should be able celebrate their marriages or civil partnerships in churches and receive God‘s blessing, wherever they live in Wales. Many – and, in some parts of Wales, the majority – of church members, clergy and bishops agree. But not all do.”
The film has been made with Lottery funding and produced by organisers of the Iris Prize, the LGBT short film prize.
Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan said: “This film will not be easy watching for church members as it reminds us how people among us have been ostracised and mistreated because of their sexuality.
Thirty five other short films about LGBT life were made as part of the project. Changing Attitudes, a network of LGBT Christians, took part in the filming.
Mike Jones from the network said: “Those who took part in the film describe the pain experienced by LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual) people, as a result of being made unwelcome, or the fear of being unwelcome, even rejected, by the Church.
The Archbishop of Wales, the Rt Rev Barry Morgan, has recently claimed that ‘sex properly belongs’ in committed same sex relationships and that the Bible can be interpreted as supporting such relationships, but the Evangelical Fellowship of the Church in Wales considers these remarks to be a licence to disregard biblical authority.
Following the press coverage of the Archbishop’s address, the executive committee of EFCW responds as follows:
We want to wish the Archbishop well in his retirement. We note the Archbishop’s final presidential address at Governing Body, and still struggle to understand how his approach to scripture is not just licence to disregard its authority. We believe that the inclusivity of Jesus, to which the Archbishop referred, was one not only of loving everyone, but also of calling everyone to a degree of repentance which would result in following him exclusively as Lord. We note Jesus gave an invitation to everyone, but warned repeatedly and frequently of consequences for those who rejected him. We are therefore delighted that one of the closing discussions at Governing Body got people talking about the need to engage in mission and evangelism. We hope and pray that these are the issues that occupy the time and energy of the Church in Wales in the years to come.
The Archbishop of Wales, Reverend Dr Barry Morgan commented:
“By sharing the personal stories of those who have suffered and been hurt, I hope this powerful film will bring home to all the scale of the damage done and ultimately help change attitudes within the church.”