Vacancy goes live as part of new LGBTQI+ chaplaincy service in Newcastle Diocese

First published on: 9th July 2024

A new chaplaincy service to support the LGBTQI+ community is being established within Newcastle Diocese.

It will provide a safe space for people to talk about matters relating to sexuality and the church, and will also assist parishes and Deaneries in fostering radical Christian inclusion and welcome.

The Diocese is now actively seeking to recruit a Lead Chaplain for the service, which will listen to, support and offer prayerful affirmation for those who identify as LGBTQI+ and their loved ones, helping them to feel confident about being part of diocesan and church life.

The Rt Revd Dr Helen Ann-Hartley, Bishop of Newcastle said: “I am delighted that we are now advertising this important role in the life of our diocese. This has been long in the planning and I am deeply grateful for the thoughtfulness and care that has gone into crafting the role description to ensure this chaplaincy has the best possible foundation and prominence in our engagement in God’s mission across our many different communities and contexts.

“This chaplaincy role is a visible demonstration of our desire to ensure that we are resourcing and celebrating the inclusion of those who have too often been marginalised and silenced by the Church’s debates and practices.

“My vision for our diocese in our seeking, sharing, and sending is that we can rightly be a diocese where all God’s people can flourish in fullness of life. I look forward with great hope to the appointment of a Lead Chaplain for LGBTQI+ and the formation of a team who will add capacity to the work that is very much needed.”

The Church of England has been exploring questions around human sexuality for well over a decade and the Living in Love and Faith (LLF) process reached a landmark moment in January 2023 when the House of Bishops published a report and issued an apology for the ways the Church of England has treated LGBTQI+ people.

The Revd Gill Alexander and the Revd Robert Lawrance are among those who have been working behind the scenes to establish the LGBTQI+ chaplaincy. Gill said a committed team will work alongside the Lead Chaplain.

She added: "We are delighted that the diocese has been able to find the resources to establish the new LGBTQI+ chaplaincy which will not only provide much needed support and affirmation for LGBTQI+ people in the Diocese, but also support parishes and Deaneries in fostering radical Christian inclusion and welcome. This exciting new development comes at a critical time in the LLF process and provides a model of good practice for the wider Church of England."

Robert said: "It was a great honour to be involved in the consultation and development stage of the proposed LGBTQI+ chaplaincy and we are grateful for all those who contributed to its development. We hope the post will attract wide interest and look forward to the chaplaincy getting off to a good start."

As well as supporting those already within Newcastle Diocese who identify as LGBTQI+ the service will also be aimed at those who are new to our area and our churches - to reassure them that such a service exists and that support is available.

Similar chaplaincies have already been established elsewhere in the country, notably in the Diocese of Oxford and the Diocese of Canterbury.

The LGBTQI+ Lead Chaplain vacancy closes on 18 July. For more information and to apply, click here 

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