‘I’m delighted that this award recognises the creative contribution of Diverse Church. For too long the church has not just neglected LGBT people and overlooked their gifts, it has actively suppressed their contribution and vilified their identity. DC is fundamentally a movement of thanksgiving to God for the gift of one another, and a journey of discovery of what a church that is truly thankful rather than suspicious and fearful might look like.’
Canon Mark Russell
Chief Executive of the Church Army
I whole heartedly commend Diverse Church to you as an excellent resource for the wider church. I have been encouraged by the way Diverse Church fosters deep commitment to Jesus Christ as found in Scripture and the joy and hope that is found in His Gospel. Since being asked to be part of their pastoral facilitation team I have seen first hand how transformative this community has been for many of its members in helping them to flourish in their local churches. Many young people who find DC have almost given up on the idea that they could find welcome and love in church, some had given up on faith and even on life. Diverse Church shows how loving Christian community can bring young people back to life in God.
Pastor Paul Counsell
Senior Pastor at City Church Preston and a well respected leader within the Assemblies of God network of churches
"Diverse Church provides loving and supportive Christian communities to which young LGBT Christians and their parents can belong and continue to explore and grow in their christian faith. As a local church leader, I count it a privilege to support Diverse Church as together we work to see young LGBT christians established in their faith and fully included in the life of the church."
Professor Michael King
Professor of Primary Care Psychiatry at University College London.
LGBT people are up to four times more likely to experience emotional distress, attempt suicide or harm themselves than their peers, mainly because of the prejudice and social exclusion they face. This can be especially destructive when it is experienced from church and family. Diverse Church creates a space where young LGBT people, can feel not only accepted but welcome within a christian community even before they have "Come Out" to their churches and families. The respect for their values and dignity here means they will develop a stronger basis on which to remain in their own church communities or find alternative congregations where they can contribute. Diverse Church also has a group for the Christian parents of LGBT people in the UK. DC:Parents is a much needed resource for those parents who find themselves in churches and communities where they face taboo or criticism for their children. I whole heartedly commend the work of Diverse Church to you.
Rev Professor Jane Shaw
Professor of Religious Studies and Dean for Religious Life at Stanford University with a special interest in church history and doctrine.
Diverse Church is a group of highly committed young LGBT Christians. They are creating a loving, welcoming and supportive community for one another to flourish in their Christian faith. In doing so, they are helping to lead a transformation in the wider Church.
Dr Kristin Aune
Senior Research Fellow at Coventry University with a special interest in gender and sexuality inclusion in the evangelical church.
"Diverse Church is a noteworthy development in the care of young LGBT people within the church. Their use of social media and focus on local grassroots groups that empowers young LGBT Christians. The way they enable young LGBT christians to tell their own stories makes them a unique resource for the wider church."
Mr Andrew Graystone
Leadership and Communications consultant with extensive experience in national media.
Diverse Church provides a vital network of support, pastoral care, friendship and encouragement to young LGBT Christians. It's a great example to the whole Christian community. DC is not a lobby group - though it has an important role in helping young people find a vocabulary and confidence to tell their stories within the church. Nor is DC a campaign - though it provides a credible and accessible voice for inclusive Christianity in the secular media. Diverse Church simply offers a community of friendship - a place where we can help each other to live out our faith with vibrancy, courage, honesty and good humour.
Rev Canon Dr Julie Gittoes
Canon Theologian at Guildford Cathedral with a particular interest in theological education, New Testament studies and "Generous Ecclesiology". Amongst other things she lectures on living life well as a single (unmarried/partnered) christian.
"Diverse Church is a movement of hope and generosity. From its beginning, the practice of telling stories has been at the heart of DC. In a sense that is unsurprising. After all, Christian life is shaped by God’s story: in scripture, worship, sacraments and the witness of human lives. The risky and transformative thing is do that faithfully in the face of disagreement. If we put Gospel centre stage, we increase our capacity to tell our stories and to listen to others. DC offers space for young LGBT Christians to share their stories in local hubs and via social media. It offers them a network of prayer and pastoral support; it offers us a resource for the wider church, including parents and leaders. DC models a narrative practice that is honest, joyful, generous, challenging and inspiring."
Founder Partner of ThePublicOffice, a public service and social change agency. She is a former senior civil servant, and has played Board-level leadership roles in a number of evangelical organisations, including her church in Peckham.
The Church needs to be a place where all can find Jesus, and flourish in their relationship with Him, and Diverse Church is modelling brilliantly how to do this for LGBT+ young people. There is an urgent need for a place of safety, friendship, and Biblical nurture for these young people, who have often experienced unintended and deliberate exclusion, by both church and society. I believe God is building this in Diverse Church, and it deserves our support. In my work I help public sector systems learn how to listen to, respond to, and work with the capabilities and needs of citizens and communities. Diverse Church amplifies the voices of Christian LGBT+ young people, and I pray that we, the wider church, will be ready to listen and to learn.