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September 2018: EuroForum goes to Gothenburg; Pride season; summer news round-up; autumn events
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Dear members, friends, and supporters,


Welcome to our third newsletter of 2018 (click here to read previous editions). We write to you as Pride season is coming to a close, and what a good few months it's been! We hope you enjoy catching up on our news, and reading about all the events we've attended or are planning to attend in the coming months.

We're also celebrating great news from India and Germany on the LGBT+ rights front - if you haven't already heard, go to the News Corner section to find out more!

As always, you can like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more regular updates.

Blessings, and in solidarity,
The EuroForum team
In this edition...
  • European Forum presence at EuroPride 2018
  • Youth reflections on our Annual Conference
  • European Forum at the Council of Europe
  • Upcoming events 
  • News corner 

Our Co-Presidents Elaine Sommers (L) and Wielie Elhorst (R) outside Gothenburg's Dom Church, where they opened the Rainbow Service held there during EuroPride in August.

Member group spotlight: 
GayChristians Slovakia (Homosexuálni kresťania)
In our last newsletter, we welcomed GayChristians Slovakia - Homosexuálni kresťania, and they now have some words of their own to share.
GayChristians Slovakia is an informal ecumenical fellowship that strives to provide a safe haven for non-heterosexual Christians and to foster the spiritual growth of its members by means of prayer, sharing and cycles of talks on various faith-related topics led by ministers of several Christian churches who are affiliated with us. Apart from that, we also like to get together once a while for a barbecue or over a glass of beer in a more relaxed setting.

We see the Forum as a wonderful opportunity to network on a wider scale and have a certain sense of belonging in relation to a bigger community, which is crucial when operating in a rather difficult environment which, unfortunately, is a reality in Slovakia. To do so, we have recently taken steps to publish literature on a more welcoming and open Christian approach to homosexuality. We are also working on establishing ourselves within the more official framework of civic organizations and modernising our web presence. Ultimately, we hope to be able to contribute in a meaningful way to the life of the Forum and to walk together on a journey to broader acceptance of the LGBT faithful in their churches.
Remember, you can support our newest member group by visiting their website or liking them on Facebook.

European Forum Board and staff attend EuroPride
in Gothenburg, Sweden
During the weekend 17-19 August, the Board and staff of the European Forum met in Gothenburg, Sweden, to discuss matters relating to the Forum and, equally important: to attend EuroPride 2018 (watch a video of us performing the YMCA here)! We were very kindly hosted by Anna-Karin Caspersson of EKHO Göteborg and marched alongside LGBT+ people from the Church of Sweden, as well as different faith backgrounds, during a rainy but fun-filled parade.

Read welcome speech given by our Co-Presidents during Gothenburg Rainbow Service
“Relationship and connection are at the heart of the Christian faith” . This was the resounding message of the words of welcome delivered by our Co-Presidents, Wielie Elhorst and Elaine Sommers, at the Dom Church, Gothenburg, during its Rainbow Service on 18 August. We are so proud to have such articulate and thoughtful representatives of the Forum! Read their full speech here

World Council of Churches turns 70!  
Happy birthday, WCC! On 23 August, this organisation turned 70 years old. We have a lot of hope for our own current and future involvement with the WCC - our very acive working group is pictured here. Learn more about the WCC here.

Apply for our special Training on Dialogue with Clergy
The Roman Catholic Church Working Group and the Board of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups are pleased to open the call for applications for the upcoming Training on Dialogue with Clergy, taking place in Le Cenacle, Versailles (France) between 9-11 November 2018. You can find more information on the training and apply here (by 20 September) here.

Internship opportunities at ILGA
We encourage our members to look at these internship opportunities with the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA). You can work either in the area of communications or UN programme and advocacy. You can work from anywhere, and receive a stipend too. Apply now!

Youth participants reflect on Annual Conference 2018 in Albano Laziale 
As we wrote in our previous newsletter, we were happy to have such a strong youth presence at this year's Annual Conference. Some of the participants have put some of their thoughts on paper and together reflect the inclusive, positive atmosphere we hope to promote. Read their thoughts here.

European Forum gives recommendations at Council of Europe Conference  
Having been an NGO with participatory status at the Council of Europe since 2016, we recently gave our recommendations at its SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) unit’s special Conference on Homosexuality and Contemporary Christianity. Read our full report here.
 

European Forum representatives attend Transgender Europe Council meeting 
From 28 June-1 July, two core members of the European Forum's Trans Working Group, Elaine and Mark, had the opportunity to attend Transgender Europe’s biennial Council meeting in Antwerp. Read their full report and reflections here.
 

Press release: LGBT Catholic Groups Ignored by Vatican World Meeting of Families
We supported this recent press release from the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics expressing extreme disappointment at being excluded from the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, despite earlier signs that it might be more inclusive this time. Read the latest updates, including the official response, here.
Upcoming events
  • ILGA-Europe Annual Conference | 24-28 October, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium (more information
  • European Forum Training on Dialogue with Clergy | 9-11 November, 2018 in Le Cenacle, Versailles, France (more information + apply)
  • Conference of LGBT Christians of Eastern Europe and Central Asia | 15-18 November 2018 in Yerevan, Armenia (more information)
  • "Building a Bridge" reflection evenings with LGBT Catholics Westminster | various dates throughout 2018 and 2019, London, UK (more information)
  • ILGA World Conference 2019 | 18-22 March, 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand (more information)
  • European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups Annual Conference 2019 | 26-30 June, 2019 in London, UK

News corner 
  • Celebrate 🎉 India's Supreme Court ruling that decriminalises its Colonial-era law prohibiting homosexuality. 
  • Read 📖 about Germany's approval of a new law allowing people to put down a third gender identity on official documents
  • Sign ✍ this petition calling on the Czech government to bring about marriage equality.
  • Read 📖 the words of gay Irish leader Leo Varadkar in his message to the Pope during the recent World Meeting of Families in Dublin. He condemned the Catholic Church's "history of sorrow and shame".
  • Remember 🎗 Robert Wood, a pioneering minister who died last month at the age of 95. He participated in gay rights demonstrations in the early 1960s and was the first known American clergy member to call on Christian churches to welcome gay people and recognize same-sex marriage.
  • Listen 🎧 to a recent episode of BBC Woman's Hour with Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, a Church of England Priest and the first woman since 1660 to be appointed Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons in the UK.
  • Read 📚 gay Christian activist and musician Vicky Beeching's new book, Undivided, about her experiences within the Church and how she came to accept herself after coming out in her 30s.
Is there something else you'd like to see in our newsletter? Let us know!
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