Teamwork Makes The Dream Work
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Luke Dowding, Executive Director
It’s a cliché, but it’s true.
That being said, I’m delighted that over this past year our team has grown to not only include myself and Katie as the two part-time staff members, as well as our dedicated Board of Trustees, but to also welcome Lee and David – both bringing invaluable experience and giftings. As such, I only need but write the briefest of introductions to our blog this month – because the rest is from the two of them.
After the complexities of maintaining and growing the work of OneBodyOneFaith through the peak of the pandemic, it was a breath of fresh air to be able to visit and be amongst friends and siblings from different parts of Europe again. What you’ll hear from Lee and David is their reports from the aspects of our recent trip, and how this is feeding into our work as we develop internationally: seeking and creating opportunities to support LGBT+ Christians thrive, not just survive.
I’m deeply grateful for the hard work Lee and David continue to put in, and I’m excited about what is ahead of us – there’s much to do, and I invite you to join the bigger team of members and supporters that enables us to keep going.
Rhythm on Tour
Fr Lee Taylor, Volunteer Chaplain to Rhythm
“Would you like to go and pick some rocket for lunch?” I couldn’t have felt further away from East London as I picked lunch in the grounds of a beautifully restored Italian Farmhouse on the outskirts of Milan. The sense of peace and calm, of being still and close to the earth was palpable. Which was the reason we were there.
La Cascina is linked to the Italian LGBT+ group Gionata and to its youth movement. We were there to explore the possibilities of using the space as a retreat, but we encountered so much more. The hospitality we received opened a space where we could share freely our hopes and dreams for what could be achieved working together: sharing resources, making international links not only in Europe but in Africa as well.
It didn’t take long to relax into the environment and hospitality and to be open to the possibilities of retreats and having an available space to replenish the soul. The story of Jacob crossing the Jabbok in Genesis 32, preparing to encounter his brother Esau featured heavily in our thinking. It felt that we were being offered a space where we could wade into the refreshing waters of God’s peace, wrestle with the work of being prophetically active within the Church, and wonder at the encounter with God we can have when there is space to do so.
We were also warmly welcomed by the youth group as we met to eat together, share food with the homeless around Milan Central Station, and then pray together. A reminder that as we carve out hospitality and a welcome in the Church for LGBT+ people, so we are also called to share hospitality with those on the margins.
After a few days of hospitality, laughter, great food, and sharing we came away knowing that this place and the links we had made will be an important part of the future direction of Rhythm and OneBodyOneFaith.
Hopefully, soon, you might have the chance to go and pick some rocket for your own lunch.
David Reading, Volunteer Consultant
'See, I will gather you from wherever you are' was the call to the 2022 conference of the European Forum of LGBT Christians and 150 of us from 25 countries came together at the Paulus Akademie in Zurich to a very special conference: it was the first in-person conference since the start of the pandemic and the 40thanniversary of the formation of the Forum. At the 40th birthday party, it was fascinating to hear how the European Forum has evolved over the years as well as the terrain in which it operates.
It was also a special occasion for OneBodyOneFaith as we re-joined the European Forum after several years of absence, encouragingly, to the pleasure of several other delegates at the conference as well as to ours. We conducted a workshop – Embracing Joy & Spiritual Nourishment for LGBT+ Christians - which was attended by over 25 delegates from more than 10 countries and was very well received. There was something very magical about hearing people praying, alongside each other, in more than ten different languages as Lee led us through the Rhythm session and something very special about talking to each other about what brings us joy and what we consider to be a safe space (many said this conference).
At the Annual General Meeting (at the conference), our International Consultant – David Reading – was voted onto the Board of the European Forum, thus giving OneBodyOneFaith a seat at the high table of the European Forum, so to speak, and the opportunity to make a strong contribution to the LGBT+ Christian cause across Europe over the next few years.
We were able to meet and bond with delegates from countries ranging from Armenia to Belgium and Norway to Malta and many countries in between. We were able to join in some profoundly moving worship and also have some great fun together. We are already looking forward to the 2023 conference in the Netherlands.
If you’ve been inspired by what you’ve read and would like to support our work, then become a member today! www.onebodyonefaith.org.uk/join