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29 November 2013

Church leaders help those living out

Church leaders help those living out

Living Out website stories

A website to help Christians who experience same-sex attraction has launched today. Three church leaders have co-ordinated the website project to share stories, answer questions and recommend resources about Christianity and same-sex attraction.

Living Out aims also to help church leaders and members understand how to care for people in their church family who experience same-sex attraction and show to the wider world that there is a different story.

The three founders of the Living Out website, Sam Allberry, Sean Doherty and Ed Shaw, experience same-sex attraction.

They share their stories online about how they have chosen to live lives in accordance with the Bible and want to encourage and support others to live that way too. 

"Living according to Bible is healthy, is good and is plausible. It's really working for us and it is a blessing in our lives rather than being something that is just difficult or painful," says Sean Doherty, lecturer in ethics at St Mellitus College in London.  

Christians who experience same-sex attraction can often come under increasing pressure, sometimes even from people in the leadership of their churches, not to hold to Christian teaching about sex and marriage.

Ed Shaw, associate pastor at Emmanuel Church, Bristol, said: "Living Out is for you if you're somebody who experiences same sex attraction. We want you to hear different stories from the ones you're perhaps hearing. We want you to hear that it's possible to stay loyal to what the Bible says and flourish in life.

"Our society thinks the Church is homophobic, thinks the Church doesn't understand homosexuality. The Church isn't homophobic. We do understand homosexuality and we want to be part of getting that message out to the world around us."

The Living Out website does not shy away from addressing controversial questions like: how can you live life without sex? Is the Church homophobic? And what does the Bible say about homosexuality?

Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance, said of the new site: "Open, honest and humbling, Living Out is a wonderful window into the lives of some amazing people who live with same-sex attraction while remaining faithful to their Christian convictions."

Sam Allberry, associate minister at St Mary's Church, Maidenhead, said: "We've recently had legislation on gay marriage. It's a growing issue that people are thinking through. It's a good time for us, as Christians, to articulate our beliefs on this issue and help others understand them."

The new website is full of stories, articles, short films and relevant discussions. www.livingout.org

Living Out would like to work in partnership with local churches and complement the work of organisations like the True Freedom Trust who offer biblical support and encouragement to Christians who experience same-sex attraction.

 For more, read the Evangelical Alliance's Biblical and Pastoral Responses to Homosexuality