I hope you’re enjoying this beautiful weather. It’s gorgeous! If you’d like a chance to get out in it then may I suggest that you join us this Saturday as we help to clean up Dukes mound? I do hope you can join us, just meet us there at 1pm. The Terrence Higgins Trust are supplying all the materials and refreshments. Great way to make a difference, and meet new folks.
At Sunday worship this week we will be taking a special collection for the Global Justice Institute. I know that many of us were away over Easter and didn’t get the chance to contribute. We only collect for this once a year so I want to make sure that you have the opportunity to make a difference. Through this offering we get to support many of our oppressed LGBT siblings around the world, even if we never meet them.
It would take me far too long to talk about everything we do or everywhere we are the defining presence. However, as an example, this is a link to Newshour audio clip that explores the current position in Iran. https://soundcloud.com/iglhrc/hossein-alizadeh-iran-bbc-newshour.
Did you know that it’s still a Capital offense to be LGB in Iran and young people are suffering terribly? Listen to the stories, it’s not a long clip. I had no idea that anyone found to be gay or lesbian is routinely offered a choice between a sex change operation or death. The suicide rate amongst the youth is staggering. The Global Justice Institute (GJI) , with very limited resources, has the ear of the United Nations and is able to apply pressure in ways that you and I alone cannot. Through the GJI we are able to make a real difference around the world.
If you’d like to talk about the GJI team members, the work that they do, and how you can help, then please let me know. I know some of the team members well and quite often fear for their safety in places like Jamaica, Pakistan, Uganda, and most recently Gambia. Did you know that in Gambia the punishment for cross dressing is now five years in jail, and the punishment for being Gay or Lesbian is fourteen years in jail? I wonder how many of the 50,000 British tourists that go there every year know what the dangers are for LGBT Gambians, or themselves if they identify as LGBT, and are caught? I know folks in our own congregation that take this enormous risk just to help disadvantaged families and I’m so glad that the GJI is speaking out to make travelling to Gambia safer for us.
If you would like to give a gift to the GJI and are not able to be with us on Sunday then just let me know how much you’d like to pledge and I’ll add it to the total – you can then simply bring it the next time you’re in church. Thank you for your generosity.
I pray that you have a blessed week and look forward to seeing you on Saturday and/or Sunday.