This summer a local StreetSpace project attended Bournemouth’s Gay Pride event, Bourne-Free, as part of their work with LGBTQ young people. Working in the tradition of FYT’s long history of supporting marginalised young people, StreetSpace Bournemouth spent their time at the event handing out freebies and waving banners apologising for hurt that some of the church has caused the gay community.
Gemma Dunning, StreetSpace Bournemouth’s project leader (and local Baptist minister), sensed that, ‘this year’s Bourne Free was momentous, not just in the sense that it was epic and awesome, but because it marked a season in time, a mile stone. 10 years ago Christian Voice came to Bournemouth to preach ‘the truth’ as they saw it, and in response to this the local LGBT community unintentionally birthed Bourne Free’
Marking ten years since the start of Bourne Free, the StreetSpace Bournemouth Team set out to be a positive voice, offering generosity and blessing to those who attended. The team joined in with the early-day launch event, even praying inside venues before they opened to the public. On the day of the march, as hundreds of people walked through the town, the StreetSpace Bournemouth Team lined the streets with flags and free ice lollies. On Sunday morning, the StreetSpace team got involved with an open air communion service in the event’s main arena led by the Metropolitan Community Church.
Gemma says, ‘I always struggle to sleep the night before Bourne Free, I find a mixture of excitement and expectation keep me awake. This being our 3rd year we have a better understanding of the controversy that unfolds when we head into an event to love people that much of the church struggles to get their heads and hearts round. The last few years have resulted in a fair bit of abuse online, and friendships have been lost. This year I simply and clearly felt God calling me to say sorry for the hurt that some the church has caused. You might struggle to get your head around this but when two people fall out someone has to admit their fault in order for the conversation to move forward. See I know I have been called to love others as God has loved me, I am trying to work out what that bigger picture looks like, and this felt like a good place to start. It was hard to find people who would stand with us (my 11 year old daughter & me) so I am incredibly thankful for the brave & courageous people that did.’
The team in Bournemouth are now looking forward to World Aids Day on 1st December where they will be holding a service and event in some of the bars around the Triangle. In the last few years this has been a really poignant and special moment for the project and local community, and this year they are inviting those who are interested in doing something in their own community next year to come and join them. Their new Craftavist group starts next month to make banners and flags for the event. If you would like more information, please contact Gemma on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Picture from www.gaypridepics.co.uk