Welcome to Affirmation Scotland
Affirmation Scotland is a group that has formed within the Church of Scotland. It is dedicated to the Gospel and a Church characterised by grace, compassion and inclusion.
Affirming Parents: Stories of Coming Out as the Parents of lgbt Children
The most precious thing about our lives are our relationships – perhaps especially those with our families, partners, spouse … children.
Earlier this year Affirmation Scotland held a special Gathering for parents who have sons and daughters who are gay or lesbian. The parents who attended told their stories, particularly about that time when they first learned of the child’s sexual orientation, or had it confirmed. As people spoke, time and again the word ‘acceptance’ was said. Those parents had had to work hard, in some cases, to accept their child as they are – and their love for them drove them to do it, of course it did. But these Christian parents were accepting and loving of their children against a background of the church not being accepting: they were afraid to tell their ministers, their elders, other folk in the church. They suspected, often correctly, that they would not be accepted. This was the first Gathering of ‘Affirming Parents.’
One parent said, “If the church cannot accept my gay son, then it can do without me.” And she doesn’t go to church.
There are some congregations of The Church of Scotland which have made an explicit stand to say that they will be a congregation that accepts and affirms gay people and same-sex relationships. I hope the parents of lesbian and gay children feel accepted in those congregations and able to speak freely of the children they love. (See the list of Affirming Congregations on this website.)
In meeting with a few parents we have come to realise that just as lgbt people affirm their identity through the telling of their story (and the 'coming out story' is the most commonly told) so parents of gay children also need to 'come out' by telling their stories. Sometimes faith or church membership plays a part in the personal stories - in good or not so good ways. What makes Affirming Parents unique is the recognition that some parents hold onto faith, sometimes in the face of hostility from the church towards their families; and some parents have had to move away from faith and church in order to keep body and soul together. I believe that empowering parents to speak out, and assisting them to integrate their faith with their life experience, could be transformative for them, their families, and for the church.
Our next Affirming Parents Gathering will be on Saturday 23rd November in Dunblane. The programme for the day will include a time to learn about Affirmation Scotland, a time to share stories as parents, a time for worship (if you choose) and lunch.
For full details and to register your interest please contact me directly: Blair.Robertson@tiscali.co.uk
On Monday 20th May the General Assembly of The Church of Scotland debated whether the church would be accepting of those in ministry, and those called to ministry, who are gay, lesbian and who may or may not be in a relationship.
For our reflection on the this year's General Assembly click here
We specifically seek the affirmation and dignity of lesbian
and gay Christians within the church, but we also seek a
progressive Church in a wider theological sphere, inspired
by the Spirit of God, that is semper reformanda –
always reforming, always in accordance with a critical
understanding of the Word of God.
One of the aims of Affirmation Scotland is to organise safe times for lgbt Christians to be together for worship and fellowship.
Please visit our discussion forum to see a posting from one of our attendees at the gatherings.
For our statement on the Scottish Government's proposals for same-sex marriage click here
Affirmation Scotland now has a presence on Facebook which replaces the Discussion Forum which was part of this site.