There are three ways to participate in this convening:
Host city daytime participant
Since the April 2016 Religion Convening, dubbed, “Homophobia and churches in Africa: A dialogue,” which brought together over 100 theological scholars, researchers, practicing pastors and Christian social justice activists, as well as LGBTI Christians, LGBTI activists and their organizations, remarkable shifts have happened. Direct engagements between LGBTI people, their parents and church leadership have since begun, as various denominations and ecumenical movements also began internal conversations to change their policies, from exclusion to the inclusion of all people – not without resistance, though. Theological schools and seminaries, spaces in which pastors are trained, have initiated processes to relook at their training curricula and institutional cultures towards improving the teaching and practice of churches to be more inclusive of people regardless of their sexual orientation and gender non-conformity. However, the progress of the last three years is seeing an emerging backlash, with increased divisions about how to deal with a new wave of change in the churches. Manifestations of the backlash have emerged in various ways and at various levels in churches, such as due processes of decision-making being flouted by reactionary groups in the churches, exemplified in the Dutch Reformed Church (southern Africa); using voting power of African delegations in the United Methodist Church in the United States of America, to block a resolutions in favour of including LGBTI people and clergy, using the myth that homosexuality is unAfrican, not cultural and unbiblical; as well as Africans leading in the division seen in the establishment of a separate conference from the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Church.
A regional dialogue of more than 100 participants from 13 countries representing interested church groups and LGBTI organizations was convened to explore and assess current church-based approaches to affirm the dignity of women and men who are homosexual, as well as transgender and intersex people, and to counteract homophobic social attitudes.
The convening enabled practitioners in the field to collectively reflect on their current strategies while in conversation with engaged individuals from within the churches.
Participants included representatives of church-based LGBTI groups, interested ministers from local congregations and church leadership structures, leaders of ecumenical organizations, representatives of LGBTI community groups who want to engage in dialogue with church groups, scholars from academic and theological institutions, and a few interested donors. The outcomes of the convening will inform the future programming of the Other Foundation and some of the other donors who will be present.
Click here to view the programme of the convening.
Click here to see a graphic run-through of the process of the convening.
Click the thumbnail to download a theological perspective on re-imagining engagement between churches and LGBTI groups on homophobia in Africa, When faith does violence, by Gerald West, John Kapya Kaoma, and Charlene van der Walt.
Click here to see the list of participants in the convening.
A downloadable written report of the dialogue can be found by clicking here.
We have also uploaded footage of the plenary sessions, which can be viewed on our YouTube channel. Click on the links below to watch recordings of the key plenary sessions.
Engagement of the churches in reflection and action on homophobia in Africa: A status report. A presentation by, Masiiwa Ragies Gunda.
Reality check: Living vulnerable lives. A drama performance by the Gay & Lesbian Network Drama Group.
When faith does violence: Re-imagining engagement between churches and LGBTI groups on homophobia in Africa. A presentation by, Gerald West, from the Ujamaa Centre.
Pride or prejudice: Where should we focus our efforts? A reflection by, Isabel Phiri, from the World Council of Churches was followed by a panel discussion.
EUDY SIMELANE LECTURE
The inaugural lecture in memory of Eudy Simelane, the South African national football star whose life was taken because she was lesbian, was hosted by the Ujamaa Centre at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Click on the links below to watch key inputs from the event.
Eudy Simelane: A Life Cut Short. A video documentary on the life of Eudy Simelane.
Inaugural Eudy Simelane Lecture by Justice Edwin Cameron.
Click here to see how the participants evaluated the convening.