Church's inclusive message at Leeds Corn Exchange

The Corn Exchange was the setting for Leeds’ first ever event for the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. Vicar of All Hallows Church, the Revd Heston Groenewald, explains why members of All Hallows Church set up a stall there.

He says, “We wanted to witness to the LGBTQ community of Leeds that there are churches offering a voice of inclusion, welcome and love, as opposed to the condemnation that they often seem to hear about.

“The stall was set up with cards with humorous and serious messages about issues of sexuality and gender and Jesus’ attitude to it, with our details on the back. It was good to share we have a sense of humour! We made a cross with a rainbow prayer of inclusion and we had a cross which was blank so people could write prayers on it – and a surprising number did. The word church had the letter u missing and we told people this is because ‘you’ are missing from church.

“We had some wonderful conversations with people who were keen to hear about the work we do and who were very pleased to hear that there was a church offering welcome for all. Unfortunately we also heard some sad stories of people who’d been asked to leave the church they were part of when they disclosed their sexuality/gender identity.

"This reinforced for us the importance of churches with an inclusive message of love getting their voices heard especially to the LGBT community; which we were glad to be able to do on that day.

“A few people showed real interest in coming along to All Hallows to find out for themselves what it was about, so please pray for those who we met.”


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