An interesting and sadly unsurprising bit of research. Thanks!
Here in the US, we have a couple of different websites that have done a lot of groundwork so people don’t have to send emails like that.
The sites list churches that are fully affirming, meaning allowing service in leadership positions, so LGBTQ people know where they are truy welcome.
One bit to add to your fine article, Dan, is that churches that get almost all the way there, but not quite, can be more toxic to members of gender and sexual minorities than churches that are just outright exclusionary.
Take churches in the Vineyard movement in the United States. They’re hip, and they call themselves accepting, welcoming all comers. LGBTQ people can feel quite accepted in their congregations.
Which can make rejection feel all the worse. Because if you’re gay or trans and open about it, the Vineyard welcome stops short of being allowed to lead a Bible study, teach Sunday school, or lead a choir.
Situations like this are all the more insidious because of the otherwise warm welcome. Rejection by friends, after all, must feel more damaging than rejection by obvious enemies.
Just one reason why research like yours is very necessary. It’s hard to suss out how some congregations are going to treat you.
By the way, with respect to that Anglican congregation, I experienced something quite similar in Canada, with a vicar and his wife welcoming my partner and me to their congregation without condition.
I was blown away.