March 2018: recent events and meetings; Annual Conference registration; welcome to new staff members
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Dear members, friends, and supporters,

Welcome to our first newsletter of 2018! (If you missed the 2017 editions, click here to read them.) The new year has got off to a great start for the European Forum, not least because of our new members of staff - keep reading to learn more about them.

We're also getting excited ahead of our Annual Conference, taking place 9-13 May in Albano Laziale, near Rome, Italy. We're so grateful to our wonderful member group Cammini di Speranza for taking on the task of organising the Conference. Read more about them in our 'Member group spotlight' section below.

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

We hope to see you in Albano Laziale in May!

Blessings, and in solidarity,
The EuroForum team
In this edition...
  • A welcome message from our member group: Cammini di Speranza
  • European Forum presence at recent events
  • New staff members
  • Annual Conference registration
  • Upcoming events 
  • Reading list

Photo from recent Board and staff meeting in Brussels

Member group spotlight:
Cammini di Speranza

Cammini di Speranza is the member group taking charge of the Annual Conference this year, and they've been working tirelessly alongside the Board of the European Forum to make it a success. 

They send the following message ahead of the event:

"Dear friends! We look forward to welcoming you to Italy at the EuroForum 2018 Conference in Albano Laziale and Rome on 9-13 May! We are acting chairpersons of the preparation team set up by Cammini di Speranza for organising this year’s annual conference.

“Cammini di Speranza” (literally: “Paths of Hope”) is the Italian LGBT Christian association that was founded in 2015 and soon became member group of the European Forum. Cammini di Speranza stems from 40 years of history of the Italian LGBT Christian movement and represents the first successful attempt to unify or federate a number of activists and local groups around common national goals. In fact, before Cammini di Speranza was born, several small city-based groups had grown and disappeared. Some of them still exist, like Il Guado from Milan, the longest-running local independent group in Italy.

LGBT Catholics make up the majority of members of Cammini di Speranza and the most important aim of Cammini di Speranza is to help the Italian Churches, and the Italian Catholic Church in particular, to develop inclusive and welcoming attitudes towards LGBT people. In doing so, Cammini di Speranza works closely with REFO, the network of LGBT Christians that promotes inclusion and affirmation of LGBT people in the evangelical Churches in Italy. We are all very happy to remind that the Synod of the Waldensian Church, the oldest reformed evangelical Church in Italy, approved the blessings of same-sex unions in 2017.

Cammini di Speranza is committed to international and ecumenical relationships. If you want to find out more about the LGBT Christian movement in Italy, don’t hesitate to reach out to us by writing an email to

See you soon!
Fabio Regis and Filippo Natoli ”

Annual Conference registration now open
Registration for the European Forum's Annual Conference, this year held in collaboration with Italian LGBT Christian association Cammini di Speranza, is now open. We really hope you will join us from 9-13 May for an amazing weekend of talks, prayer, discussions, workshops, making friends, and great Italian food. Register here now.

Board and staff of the European Forum meet in Brussels with Conference of European Churches General Secretary
Between 15-18 February, the Board and staff of the European Forum met in Brussels, Belgium. As well as discussing internal matters of the Forum, we had a very positive meeting and lunch with Fr Heikki Huttunen, the General Secretary of the Conference of European Churches. We thank Heikki for his time, and look forward to future opportunities to work together. 

ILGA-Europe meets with Board and staff of the European Forum 
While in Brussels, the Board and staff of the European Forum were also happy to meet with some staff members from ILGA-Europe, of which the European Forum is a member group. We had a productive meeting and are grateful to ILGA-Europe for their time.

Call for new Board members!
Would you like to be a part of the European Forum's decision-making body? Do you have skills that you'd like to bring to the organisation? Then apply to be a Board member! The following message comes from the Nomination Committee:

At this year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) during our Annual Conference, there will be three vacancies on the Board: Co-President, Treasurer, and Communications Coordinator.

All of the current postholders are eligible and willing to stand again. Nonetheless, it is open to any other candidate to stand, in which case there will be an election.
The Forum’s internal regulations state that the two Co-Presidents must be of different gender identities. The Co-President who is not standing down identifies as male. Therefore the vacancy must be filled by someone who identifies as female or trans*.

The internal regulations also state that no one gender identity can hold more than 50% of the posts. In total the Board has six members. Also not standing down are the Secretary and the Co-ordinator, Eastern Europe, who both identify as female.

All those standing for election must have the support of the Forum member group to which they belong. So please discuss your possible nomination with the responsible people in your group.
Members of the Board are elected for two years, with the option of standing twice more, so they serve for a maximum of six years. 
If you wish to stand for election, and have the support of your group, please let one of us know.
Kind regards,
Jonathan Brown (
Olga Gerassimenko
Nominations Committee

Special Youth Event at the Annual Conference in Rome/Albano -
apply by 9 March!
We've got special scholarships for young people to attend our Annual Conference as part of our Youth Event. If you're under the age of 30 and working at the intersection of faith and LGBT+ issues, don't hesitate to apply before the 9 March deadline
Young LGBTI Christians: we want to hear from you

In October 2018, the Roman Catholic Church is organising a worldwide Synod of Bishops on "Young People, Faith and Vocation Discernment".

A working group of the European Forum of Christian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Groups is taking this opportunity to gather information about the current situation and best practices regarding pastoral care of the Catholic Church in Europe for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) young people between 14 and 30 years old. Please fill in the survey before 15 March.

European Forum officially welcomes new staff members (and old!)
We're very happy to officially welcome two new members of staff to the European Forum team: Fundraiser Damir Kurtagic and Financial Administrator Elena Komarova. In addition, Misha Cherniak has started his new position as Programme Officer and Sadie Hale has extended her contract as Communications Officer for the Forum. Read more about them here.

Winter Session International NGO Conference Council of Europe
As the representatives of the European Forum, Co-President Wielie Elhorst and Programme Officer Misha Cherniak visited the half yearly session of the International NGO Conference Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France of which the European Forum is a member since the summer of 2016. The session was held in the last week of January.

For the first time in its 40 years of existence, the Conference organised a session on LGBTI rights and freedom of religion. Wielie and Misha were very pleased to be able to co-present on how to create a balance between the aforementioned rights and freedom.

Our colleagues from ILGA-Europe presented the ongoing discussion on LGBTI rights as well as the deplorable situation in which many LGBTI people in Europe still have to live.

We are pleased to share that the presentations were received well by the Conference’s leadership and we have been invited to help organise the framework of a second meeting. A PDF-file from our presentation is available. Email Wielie:
Second mentoring programme gets off to great start in Georgia
The initial meeting of the European Forum's second Mentoring Programme took place in Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia, on 2-4 February. The Mentoring Programme will run until May 2019 and brings together 18 activists from across the continent who will help each other on issues of faith, LGBT+ inclusion, theology, and more through regular contact and exchange of experience. Read the full report from the meeting here. And if you understand German, read this write-up from one of our fantastic participants, Kerstin.
Report on the Second Assembly of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics

Almost 100 Catholics and friends from 35 countries gathered from 30 November to 3 December in Dachau near Munich, Germany, to celebrate the birth of a new star: the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC). Read the full report on the European Forum's participation here.

German parish makes generous donation of 1,197.45€ to European Forum's Agape Fund

Following our call in our previous newsletter for donations to our Agape Fund, which provides financial assistance to people wishing to attend our Annual Conference, we received an exceptionally generous donation from a congregation in Germany.

We heard from one member who was involved: "For the last 43 years, there has been a Christmas market in my congregation, and every year we decide which project we want to support with a part of the money we 'earn'. So in 2017, we chose to support a project in Ethiopia and also the European Forum!" In total, they collected upwards of 1,197.45 euro for the European Forum, representing the biggest single contribution to the fund which will bring much joy to the many participants now able to come to Albano Laziale with us. We are so grateful to everyone who decided to donate - thank you.
Upcoming events
  • European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups Annual Conference | 9-13 May, 2018 in Albano Laziale, Italy (register here)
  • "Building a Bridge" reflection evenings with LGBT Catholics Westminster | various dates throughout 2018 and 2019, London, UK (more information)
  • Digital self-defence class on Biblical literalism and other topics: Soulforce community webinars |  various dates, online (see website)
  • ILGA-Europe Annual Conference | 24-28 October, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium (more information)

Reading list 
Is there something else you'd like to see in our newsletter? Let us know!
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