The Gay Christian Movement was founded in April 1976 at a public meeting at the Sir John Cass School in the City of London, and later changed its name to the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement.
It is sometimes easy to forget how much has changed when the Movement was founded, less that 10 years after homosexuality was decriminalised in England – but 4 years before similar changes in Scotland.
The Movement's first General Secretary was the late Jim Cotter, and after a public appeal, Richard Kirker took over this post – a role he undertook with determination, tenacity and vision for almost 30 years.
The Movement was based initially in the tower of St Botolph's Church, Aldgate, where the City of London meets the East End. However in 1989, after a legal challenge by the Archdeacon of London, the Church Council was compelled to evict LGCM, and Oxford House, a settlement project in Bethnal Green, took us in and provided a home for the next 25 years. In 2015 the trustees took the decision to move out of London, and relocate LGCM to a new home in Nottinghamshire.
14th February 2017 marks a very significant shift in the identity of two organisations that have campaigned for LGBTI+ liberation and integration in churches in England for over forty years. LGCM (formerly the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement) and Changing Attitude England become OneBodyOneFaith, united to campaign together for the changes that we need to see for LGBTI+ people to fully embraced and for their gifts and contributions to the life and mission of the church in England to be fully realised.
§ OneBodyOneFaith is ecumenical – we include and represent Christians across a range of UK denominations and are open to all who share our vision. And of course, you’ll recognise that our new name is Biblical - 1 Corinthians 12:12 and Ephesians 4:4-6 - and draws on Paul’s vision of the Christian community as a body where everybody’s gift is necessary, welcomed and encouraged to flourish.
§ OneBodyOneFaith asserts the need for doctrine to be theology that takes seriously that life is embodied: the incarnation of the Son of God as Christ shows us that the salvation and redemption are achieved through positively embracing human sexuality and gender; it follows that the range of created sexual attraction and gender in creation are God’s gift and purpose.
§ Members of OneBodyOneFaith seek to participate fully in a church that is purposeful in its mission to the world; we believe that the Creator’s purpose is fullness of life for all: this requires that Christians embrace the diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity present within the body of Christ to enrich that mission to be agents of transformation for all.".
The logo we are developing incorporates a cross and a circle of stones representing everybody’s contribution to the life we share in Christ.
Over the past almost 40 years, we've built up a substantial archive of papers, news cuttings and photographs – telling the story of OneBodyOneFaith and our partners. As part of our ongoing Lottery-funded heritage project, this archive has been deposited at the Hall Carpenter collections at the London School of Economics, and the Bishopsgate Institute. Additionally, OneBodyOneFaith holds the Norman Pittenger library, a specialist collection of academic and popular books on sexuality and faith, which is housed long-term at Winchester University.
If you're interested in the story of OneBodyOneFaith, you might like to read 'The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement: The Campaign for Justice, Truth and Love', edited by Sean Gill and published in 1998 by Continuum (ISBN 030433779X). Although now out of print, copies are readily available second-hand and the book provides a valuable insight into the first 25 years of LGCM's work.
We are currently in the process of reformatting our heritage project: Christian Voices Coming Out, which will be available for access again in 2021.