Norwich Pride march divides church opinion

PhilipYoungPride450The staging of the Norwich Pride march on July 26 has divided opinion in the Norwich Christian community. While many churches are not comfortable with the event, a handful are more supportive. Keith Morris reports.

The Quakers, Unitarians and some Anglican clergy will be joining the march, while other churche, will be watching and offering words of reconciliation. At the same time, others are more strongly opposed.
Norwich Pride is run by the local Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) community and includes a city centre march on Saturday July 26.
Jo Smith, a Quaker who represents faith groups at Norwich Pride, said: “Quakers and Unitarians along with members of other faith and spiritual groups will be attending the parade and invite everyone to join us. This includes those with faith or without, gay or straight, and their friends and families.

“We invite those from churches or religious organisations which recognise and support their gay members to bring a banner with the name of their church on it. Gay people from faith backgrounds which condemn LGBT people will find a warm welcome with us and an opportunity to be proud of who we are.” 

Rev Mark Taylor, from Carleton Rode Baptist Church, one of a number of church leaders who are not supportive of the march, said:  “I feel saddened when humans flout the laws of God; we all do it in many avenues of life and faith - the Bible calls it sin, and it is sin Jesus came to deal with, and remove the separation it brings between God and Humanity. We are called to strive for higher moral and spiritual principles, seeking to become more and more like Jesus.

“By seeking to lower society's standards, and even worse the standards of our faith, we seek to make the unacceptable more palatable. I do not think the homosexual lifestyle is compatible with Christian living, but let’s seek to rectify the problems of broken living rather than flaunt it in the streets.

Duane Elkins, leader of New Hope Christian Centre, said: “Looking back at my time around the Forum during the Pride march two years ago, Jesus' words about the crowds - that they were like sheep without a shepherd - come to mind.  What have we come to in society when we push to be identified by our sexual preference than to anything else?  But what worries me as the Bible says in 1 Peter 5:5 that, ‘GOD opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’.  When people are proud and celebrate what the Bible condemns, what hope is there?

Norwich City Council wave the LGBT banner and aligns itself with such behaviour, but rejects the opportunity for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Society to show videos of people who came to faith in Jesus Christ.  How is the promotion of one without tolerance of the other good for the city?”

On the other side of the debate, Rev Philip Young, Norwich Anglican minister, Quaker, and a member of the Third Order of Franciscans, said: “I have been a supporter of Norwich Pride for a number of years now. I am for an inclusive Christian community which embraces people of all persuasions, which includes the LGBT community. God's love embraces all and he loves us all. To exclude homosexual, lesbian, transsexual and bisexual people from the Christian community is in my view just as bad as excluding people on grounds of racial difference. 

“We are all God's children and all part of the family of God. I will yet again this year be supporting the colour and diversity of Norwich Pride, which, I believe, enriches the Norwich community with its colourful presence and challenges the community here to be an inclusive and welcoming one.  Well done Norwich Pride and keep bringing colour to the streets of Norwich.”

Pictured above is Rev Philip Young at Norwich Pride in 2010.
Jo Smith 19/07/2014 13:41
Very much looking forward to seeing people of all faiths and none joining us next Saturday. We have had so much support from everyone, Christians, people of other faiths and everyone else. Thank you!

Kate 24/07/2014 20:27
I'm very excited to be part of a liberal faith presence at Norwich Pride, particularly this year, when we're celebrating the passing of the equal marriage act.

Love is love.

Paul Willings 25/07/2014 09:59
Words and action.

There is COMPASSION, and there is PRIDE.
We can only have COMPASSION for the PROUD.
But we cannot be PROUD of our COMPASSION.
So how can we support the PRIDE itself.
Surely that is the opposite of COMPASSION?

Jo Smith 26/07/2014 20:59
It's fine to be justly proud; if you belong to a group which is or was regarded as second class, say black people in segregationist US or under apartheid, then it's right to stand up and say that you are proud to belong to that group regardless what others say.

We believe that we are equal despite the discrimination visited upon us by some Christian groups. Today's Pride was a great example of this. We had more people of Faith join us than ever before. Christian values prevailed.
Philip Young 26/07/2014 21:41
What a lovely day we had at Norwich Pride today. So colourful and joyful. I was PROUD to be there and felt a lot of COMPASSION for everyone for I believe we are all beautiful and all God's children. I felt very HUMBLED to be part of a very well organised event where the police had nothing much to do other than admire the colour and variety of it all. PEACE be upon us all as we seek to live good lives on a shared planet where we are all brothers and sisters and aren't we such a varied and colourful bunch. I pray for the peace of the world and remember particularly people in Gaza and Israel at this time and also those suffering the intolerance of ISIS in Iraq. We need so much to learn to live in peace and toleration of one another. LOVE to all.
Dr Alan 28/07/2014 14:49

July 26, 2014 was a glorious sunny day in Norwich. The City-centre Outreach Team was present to shed Gospel Light on this year’s dark ‘Gay Pride’ demonstration. An estimated 2,000-strong procession made its way along Gentleman’s Walk, the city’s main pedestrian route past the City Hall to the Forum. They were cheered on by numerous bystanders. Whistles and drums drowned out all else. Besides the local Labour Party, various gay groups included a Police contingent. Among religious groups, the Unitarians and the Quakers were ‘proud’ to celebrate their support for sexual perversion.

Some of us met for prayer an hour before the event. When we arrived at our witness location with Gospel display material, several Police officers were present. To avoid being arrested, we were directed to remain at this place for the duration of the march. This presented no problems since myself and others use this very location for witness on a weekly basis. In others words, instead of targeting the gay community as such, we were simply doing our ‘regular evangelistic thing’. Of course, the Police were anxious to avoid any disturbance. I reminded Sgt Harris and his officers that the marchers and their supporters were more of a threat to us than we to them. And so it soon proved to be. I received verbal abuse from three people. The first was sufficiently hostile for the man to be taken aside and reprimanded by an officer. It has to be said that the Police were very protective towards us, as they had been last year. They presented no obstacles as we endeavoured to point people to Christ and righteousness.

Christian material was distributed during the event. Tony Cox of Surrey Chapel provided his ‘Gay Pride’ leaflet, and I offered copies of ‘Jesus Christ, Saviour of Sinners’. A good quantity were taken. While the ‘mass mood’ was not in our favour, several individuals expressed their support for us. A university student took my leaflet with definite interest. His name being Charles, he was amused that he shares my middle name! After he enquired where our church was, I asked if he was a Christian. He replied, “No, but I’d like to become one.” I urged him to read the leaflet and then get in touch if he had further questions. He plans to attend a service soon.

Despite being few in numbers (seven of us in all), we rejoiced at the opportunity to present the grace and claims of God in Christ to these poor, benighted people of all ages. Before we parted, what had been a sad and not overly-aggressive spectacle made us lift our hearts to heaven on their behalf. We prayed that God would have mercy upon them. Having sought to be faithful to our Lord and Saviour, we leave the issue with Him. While other churches and Christians were conspicuous by their absence, I am reminded of the words of Matthew Henry: “If they failed to do their duty, we thank God He enabled us to do ours.”

Dr Alan C. Clifford
Norwich Reformed Church

Arius 01/08/2014 11:57
I do have to wonder why there is so much attention paid to so-called sexual sins. There are many others of greater import crying out for us all to deal with. Oppressing the fatherless and widow (almost every government policy these days); or how about implementing the Biblical cancellation of debts every seventh year (Lev 15:1)?

Of course, what is frequently forgotten is that, while 'The Bible' (a collection of books by a variety of authors) may not care a great deal for same-sex acts (and that was usually only because it prevented the increase of the people; that's why Onan's little trick was 'displeasing to the Lord'), but it says nothing whatsoever about *being* homosexual. The concept of such an identity was unknown to those authors, and for many centuries afterwards; to say that it was is wilfully retrojecting modern concepts onto ancient texts.

Alice Albert (Guest) 06/07/2018 08:21
Good Way Of Telling, Good Post To Take Facts Regarding My Presentation Subject Matter, Which I Am Going To Deliver In My College
(SAS Online help)

Melodiec Bredahu (Guest) 06/07/2018 12:03
Only Professional Writers Can Make This Kind Of Material, Cheers
[STATA Assignment Help Online]

(Guest) 20/10/2018 14:50
This Survey can be completed within a few minutes and only Burger King customers are allowed to take part in the survey.

 Recommended reading 
Network Norwich and Norfolk > Regional News > Norwich > Norwich Pride march divides church opinion
Not rated. (10 reviews / comments)
  • Write a review or comment
  • Site Search

     Norfolk services........ 



    Sign up for our
    free e-newsletter

    Send us your latest local news and events