St Anne’s is a member of and believes in Inclusive Church – a church that celebrates and affirms every person, and does not discriminate against people on grounds of disability, economic power, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, learning disability, mental health, neurodiversity, or sexuality. As such, we are also committed to the full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people in the life, ministry and leadership at St Anne’s Church, here in Bagshot.
In 2023 we officially joined the national Inclusive Church network and have begun to actively engage with our local LGBTQIA+ community whenever the opportunity arises. We enjoyed meeting members of the community during the last two Surrey Pride events as well as visiting churches in Reading and Guildford who have pioneered the Inclusive Church ministry in a variety of ways, not least through the Open Table fellowship network.
We also ran the Church of England’s local Living in Love and Faith group in which members of our local churches could learn and share their own experiences of inclusion/exclusion and explored how we can ensure that all people feel unconditionally welcomed in our churches.
In the new year, we are looking forward to embracing the new Prayers of Love and Faith which will be published by the House of Bishops in due course. These prayers will enable us to bless, pray with and for any couple who loves one another, and wishes to give thanks for and mark their love in faith before God.
At our Christmas Tree Festival in Dec 2024 we will have a 'Pride Tree' with which we want to symbolically empasize that members of the LGBTQIA+ community are a welcome and integral part of our church family. There will be a few short video clips on the tree, which we have taken from the Living in Love and Faith resources.
These clips can also be found here as powerful testimonials of Christian couples (from various parts of the UK) walking with each other in love and faith.