News

News

Stonewall, a leading LGBT rights organisation, is partnering with Oasis – a Christian based community transformation charity – to promote the great work taking place in a growing number of faith communities and to further promote inclusion.  The partnership has three main elements:

  • Developing resources to help tackle questions of faith around LGBT issues in a school context – Teachers and school staff may lack confidence or skills to talk about LGBT inclusion and faith. Stonewall and Oasis are working together to provide educators with the tools to tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, no matter what context.
  • Expert training across Oasis Academies – Oasis is responsible for 49 Academies across the UK.  These are not faith schools and all practise the fundamental Oasis value of inclusion.  Stonewall will work with Oasis to further develop the inclusive credentials of Oasis Academies.
  • Championing diversity – Oasis in the UK will be joining the Diversity Champions programme.  As a fully inclusive employer, Oasis is always looking for new opportunities to further its inclusive practises and ensure that it is providing a safe and nurturing environment for every employee.  Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme gives employers access to tools, expertise and support so that they can create workplaces where LGBT employees can be themselves. Stonewall currently works with over 750 organisations, all of whom share a belief in the power of a workplace that is truly equal.

In addition to this partnership, Oasis will today launch a new a transgender discussion and practise guide for churches.  Many local churches want to have a positive and intentional conversation about gender transition / recognition but are confused around what language to use and how to put sensitive pastoral care into practise.  This guide, written by Oasis with input by Stonewall, will serve as a useful starting point and sign post to more detailed resources.

Rev Canon Steve Chalke, Founder and Global leader of Oasis says, “The message of Jesus is one of radical welcome, love and inclusion for absolutely everyone.  But too often the Church has found itself on the wrong side of the debate, the wrong side of history and the wrong side of justice.  It is my deepest hope that the resources that this new partnership between Stonewall and Oasis creates, the barriers that so many more  LGBT people face as they seek full participation in churches across the UK and far beyond will be removed.

Dominic Arnall, Head of Projects and Programmes at Stonewall, said: “We’re excited to be working so closely with Oasis and to welcome our first faith organisation to our Diversity Champions programme.

“Stonewall has been working hard to show that LGBT people exist as part of faith communities but unfortunately too often it’s assumed we’re never on the same side.

“Churches and other religious institutions can be unifying spaces, connecting communities and people no matter what their differences. Sadly, there are many LGBT people who feel rejected by their faith and have felt compelled to leave their faith community or feel an ever-widening chasm between two parts of their core identity.

“We believe the work of organisations like Oasis demonstrates that this need not be the case and we hope this project will encourage LGBT people to reconnect and to find acceptance with their faith community.”

Oasis was founded in 1985 and exists to help people lead full lives through strengthening communities.  Currently working in 11 countries, Oasis is involved in projects as diverse as helping people trapped in poverty in India to pioneering education in the UK.  Through its educational trust, Oasis Community Learning, Oasis is one of the largest providers of academies in the UK, currently responsible for 49 primary and secondary schools.

Stonewall is Britain’s leading charity for lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality, working to create a world where every single person can be accepted without exception. It was founded in 1989 by a small group of people who wanted to break down barriers to equality. Stonewall continues to campaign and lobby government to change laws to ensure everyone, everywhere, is free to be themselves. Stonewall works in partnership with a growing network of more than 750 organisations to help create real change for the better. It campaigns to eliminate homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in communities, and empowers LGBT people and their allies to be role models wherever they live, work, shop, socialise or pray. To get involved visit us at www.stonewall.org.uk Registered charity number 1101255

 

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