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Church for all, marriage for all

Stoneygate Baptist Church is now registered to marry same sex couples.

Three years ago we wrote our statement of welcome: Here at Stoneygate Baptist Church, we seek to welcome all people. That means that whatever your background, beliefs, sexuality, gender identity, ethnicity, health or ability, you will be included as one of the family. Anyone who professes Christian faith may be baptised, anyone who wants to commit to the church may seek membership, and anyone who is so called and gifted may lead or serve. We're not perfect and we don’t have all the answers, so we know we will make mistakes and we won’t always agree with one another, but we are committed to listening and learning and loving. If that sounds like the sort of community you would like to be a part of, we would love for you to join us.

We always knew it was only a step along the way, and that there would be more learning and growing to be done as we lived out our intention to be an inclusive community. The question of registering the building for same sex marriage had already been raised, but as lockdown began the week after we agreed the statement, the conversation had to be put on hold. We came back to it last year, and in September the church meeting voted by a strong majority in favour of registration. It took some time to work through the application, but it is now finally official.

It is the Baptist practice to come to decisions through discussion and prayer, and so we talked it through as a community in church meetings and small groups and personal conversations, and made space for prayerful listening. Different folk will express their thoughts in different ways, but for our minister at least, this step recognises the blessing same sex couples bring to one another and their communities, and shares in God's blessing on them.

They say that where there are five Baptists there are six opinions, but all of our discussions were held with grace and care for one another, and we hope to express and experience that same grace and care within the wider church and community. If you would like to know more about the process that led us here, either from a practical or theological perspective, please feel free to email our minister.

And of course if you're looking for an inclusive church community and somewhere that will celebrate your marriage, we would love to meet you so get in touch or join us any Sunday morning. (If that's you and you're not in Leicester, check out Inclusive Church to find other communities around the country.) For now and for always, here’s to listening and learning and loving, and to being a church for all!

Picture taken at Leicester Pride 2022. Image shows a blue placard with the church logo underneath a rainbow and the words 'Stoneygate Baptist Church | a church for all |'. In the background are people wearing a variety of Pride flags.

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