Bradford Pride is getting bigger and better every year. This year I wore a dog collar with a rainbow, and enjoyed the ambiance, before and after the Bishop's enthronement taking place on the other side of 'the hole'. I was the only collar there, and many were so surprised to see me! I did attract the occasional person who really wanted to have a go at the church, but most were really pleased to see a member of the clergy about, and I even got chatted up!
If I had been offered a chance to speak on stage, I would have begun by apologizing for all the bad experiences many gay people have had from the Church and from homophobic Christians. I would have reminded them that we have a God of love who blesses all that find love, gay or straight. I would have reminded people that the Bible may be inspired by holy people, but that it not written by God, and is flawed and full of historical beliefs. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is inclusive and welcoming to the LGBT community.
I would have said that in our church, we are blessed by the presence of gay Christians. They are simply amazing, because, despite the fact that each and everyone of them has horror stories about how they have been treated by the church, they have not given up their search for holiness - they have never abandoned their faith in God.
May God bless all the Pride events taking place throughout the world, a relatively new phenomenon, heralding a new world of tolerance, openness and love. Pride gives new hope for a better, more inclusive stage of humanity.