It goes without saying that a religious background is often as much a hindrance as a help to gay, lesbian and bisexual people and their families. Religious attitudes toward sexualities which diverge from the straight and narrow can be shown in overt hostility or in a quieter, but no less oppressive disapproval.
On the other hand, as members of religious communities become acquainted with gay, lesbian and bisexual people in their workplaces, social circles and families, many of them begin to feel the gap between their lived experience and the official line articulated by their leadership. This may mean that a church, congregation, synagogue &c. which officially disapproves of homosexuality is actually more welcoming at an unofficial level.
At the more "official" level too, leaders and theologians in many churches and faiths have been re-examining their own traditions and seeking to articulate them in a way which recognises and affirms homosexuality as a gift of God with its own potential for love, creativity and fulfilment.
Reconciling religious faith with an affirming approach toward homosexuality is often not an easy business, but many of those who have tried it have found their faith and their understanding of their own sexuality enriched as a consequence.
Below is some information on organisations and material which may be of help to you wherever you are on the journey...
Information on links and groups not listed here will be gratefully received by Nick Thompson at: nigethepige [at] gmail.com
Congregations in Dunedin:
Alexander, Marilyn Bennett & James
Preston. We Were Baptised Too: Claiming God's Grace for Lesbians and
Gays. Westminster/John Knox Press, 1996.
Alison, James. Faith beyond
Resentment. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 2001. Each chapter
is an extended meditation on a passage from the Gospels. This book, by a
gay British theologian, tries to get beyond the "victim"
theology of earlier gay theologians by showing what theology done by
lgbt people has to offer the wider church. In doing so Alison encourage
lgbt people to take their place in the mainstream churches without
waiting for it to be offered to them by the church authorities.
Duncan, Geoffrey, ed. The Courage to
Love. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 2002. An international
collection of liturgies, prayers and reflections for lgbt people and
communities with lgbt people in them. Some of the prayers and
reflections have been contributed by Dunediners.
Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities
Gay and Lesbian
Jewish Gays and Lesbians
World Congress of Gay and Lesbian