Church a “safe place” for Mardi Gras

The scent of a barbeque, and pancakes will welcome Mardi Gras attenders as Vine Church and St Michael’s Church in Sydney’s Darlinghurst opens its doors as the parade passes by.

“We want to offer a safe place for people to rest and to explore the surprising offer that Jesus is,” says Vine Church’s Joel Hollier.

The church grounds and building, which are on the parade route, will be open from 6pm till late. New Testaments and gospels books from the Bible Society will be free to anyone who wants one.

In a separate development leading up to Mardi Gras, a “National Apology” to the LGBT community was launched at a commissioning service, by a new group called “Equal Voices”. The apology is to “LGBTIQ+ friends, and to all who have been adversely affected by the teachings and behaviour of Christians and their churches” and seeks to make amends for “the ways in which you have been hurt by me, and by other Christians and churches”.

At the service, attended by key LGBT leaders, supporters of the apology took part in the ancient custom of receiving ashes on their forehead in the shape of a cross as a sign of repentance.

Following Mardi Gras, Christianity and LGBT issues will be addressed from a very different perspective with the announcement of Sy Rogers as a speaker at Hillsong’s Colour Conference which is held around the world. The Sydney sessions will be held in mid-March.

Having lived as a woman for eighteen months while seeking a sex change operation, Rogers identifies as “ex-gay”.