Frequently Asked Questions
What do you believe?
We are a Christian church and we believe in the classic Creeds of the Christian Church, Apostles and Nicene. (You can read more at Spirituality > What we believe as Christians). In particular we believe that our lives are devoid of meaning and purpose until we come into a relationship with God. This relationship sets us free from all the things that would drag us down and are bad for us, and enables us to reach our true potential as human beings. St Ireneaus said that the “glory of God is a human fully alive” and we believe that our relationships with God energise and change us.
What about the Bible?
The Bible is the source document for our faith and contains all we know about the early history of the Jewish people, the life of Jesus, and the development of the earliest Church. God speaks to us through the Bible. However, we need to understand that the Bible is a fusion of the Word of God and the words of humans. There are some passages in the Bible which have been interpreted in negative ways and used to condemn lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgendered people. There are other passages which have been used to oppress women, justify war and promote slavery! All churches realise that we have to interpret the Bible in the light of our experience and reason, what we know about the Biblical world view of the authors, and of our own conscience. We believe that if the Bible is understood properly it does not condemn us, but instead offers us many powerful examples of love between all sorts of couples and people. (You can read more at Spirituality > The Bible.)
What does it mean to be an lgbt-led church?
We welcome all types of people to worship with us and explore a journey of Christian discipleship. To be lgbt friendly means that we have a high profile in the local gay village and media. We speak out in the press about areas of concern to our communities, we use a variety of images in our worship, liturgy and song which speak to various groups of people. We don’t judge anyone and we help each other on our journey through life. We realise how life really is and don’t try to get people to be anything other than who they are. You don’t need to pretend in our church.
What does it mean to be trans friendly?
As a trans friendly church we offer acceptance to everyone no matter who they are. In particular we offer acceptance to trans people at whatever stage they may be in their personal journey. Our trans people are actively involved in leading worship and take part in our governing structures. We offer support to people who are starting to explore their trans journey and foster a trans discussion group which meets monthly. (You can read more at our Community > Trans People page.)
How do you manage your diversity?
We focus on Jesus who is the source of our unity and realise that, in Him, all the distinctions we make about each othe race, class, gender, sexuality etc are secondary to our relationship with Him. We stress that the key things that we all want and expect from each other are acceptance, trust and love. Most of us have been in situations where these things have been denied to us so we understand how important these values are. We also recognise that God loves us all and wants to use us all to build up the church. These values and ideas help us celebrate and manage the wonderful diversity God has given us.
Can straight people come?
Of course! If we discriminated against one section of society we would be as bad as churches which discriminate against us! We believe that as part of the One Holy Catholic church we are called to offer a welcome, ministry and fellowship to all people – that is what being “catholic” or “universal” is all about. We have heterosexual clergy and members in all of our churches around the world. We are there for anyone who wants a fresh expression of church where tolerance is a virtue, where we can celebrate the central truths of the Christian faith, be encouraged to think and reflect on things for ourselves, and be a tolerant loving community. (You can read more on our Spirituality > Personal Faith Stories page - particularly Barbara's story).
What is the history of your church?
Our congregation was founded in 1992 by the Rev Paul Whiting, a minister in the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC). The MCC is an American-based lgbt focused denomination. In 1996 the Rev Andy Braunston came to serve as our pastor and during his tenure we became better known in Manchester. In November 2012 we started to explore a formal relationship with the United Reformed Church due to the excellent local relationships we enjoyed with URC congregations and clergy. The growing inclusivity of the URC - they were the first UK Christian church to allow their local congregations to register Civil Partnerships in their buildings - and the chance to be part of something British with significant resources on a local, regional and national basis were powerful attractions for us. In November 2013 we voted to leave the Metropolitan Community Church and are now exploring a journey of discernment with the URC. In March 2014, at a meeting of the North West Synod of the URC, we were formally deignated a Mission Project of the URC, which is a further step on the way to becoming a fully-admitted URC congregation in due course. We are grateful for our journey in MCC and are committed to the vision of MCC’s founder to proclaim Christian salvation, build Christian community and engage in Christian social action.
What is the structure of your denomination?
Our structure is very simple. We are governed by our members who meet in quarterly to try and discern the mind of Christ together and transact any business. Our members elect our pastor and our Committee who work with our pastor and advise the Church Meeting. We attend the meetings of the North West Synod of the United Reformed Church and are starting to play a part in the life of the URC as journey together.
How can I keep in touch with you?
You can subscribe to our email list so we can keep you up to date with our news. You can keep checking out our website. You can email or call our pastor, and you can come along to worship! (You can find the details on our Contact Us page.)
What can I expect if I come along?
If you come along you can expect a warm welcome and lively music reflecting the best of modern Christian songwriting blended with the best traditional church music. Our service has a simple liturgical structure with some congregational prayers to say together and uplifting sermons which are designed to help us in our journey of Christian discipleship.
Everyone is invited to share Holy Communion where Jesus is made especially present in our lives. We don’t have any restrictions about who can receive Holy Communion – if you are sincerely looking for God in your life and are sorry for the things you have done wrong then you are welcome to receive. We use non-alcoholic wine, and gluten-free bread is available, so that everyone can be included.
After worship there is a chance to choose from a variety of teas, coffees, and capuccinos whilst you chat to other people and get to know us more. Our aim is that, when people leave worship, people should feel better about themselves, each other, and God than when they came in! (You can read more at About Us > A virtual first visit to our church.)
Can I come if I already go to another church?
Of course! A number of our people find that we supplement another church they attend. Sometimes people stay in other churches to work for change and find strength from us; at other times people don’t want to sever the links they have with their “home” congregation but feel that our particular ministry is a source of great joy and strength to them.
Why should I attend your church rather than another church?
If you are happy in your church and you are accepted, loved and affirmed then you will probably find no need for our ministry. We seek to be a church where you can experience God, be led into a journey of Christian discipleship with a group of people who will care about you, love you and nurture you regardless of age, sex, race, class, orientation, gender, physical ability or any other irrelevant distinction. It is easy to find a liberal church that welcomes all types of people but which doesn’t teach the Christian faith in a coherent, traditional and lively way, or to find a lively church which doesn’t welcome diversity. We do both and we do it well!
Where will my journey with you lead me?
If you come as a seeker we hope that your journey with us will lead you into a life-changing relationship with Jesus. If you are already Christian, we hope that your journey with us will deepen your faith and give you opportunities to use the gifts and skills God has given you in a Biblical ministry of service to others. We know that God has not brought you this far to leave you, but continues to journey with you, wanting the best for you. We will help you achieve your best.