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Lome Statement issued by the leaders of Changing Attitude Nigeria and West African LGBT Christian Groups

  • Subject: Lome Statement issued by the leaders of Changing Attitude Nigeria and West African LGBT Christian Groups
  • From: Louie Crew <lcrew@ANDROMEDA.RUTGERS.EDU>
  • Date: Tue, 15 May 2007 07:51:17 -0400

Davis Mac-Iyalia is now on a plane on his way to the USA for an extended
visit.  His schedule is at
Don't miss the opportunity to hear his witness if he is coming to a place
near you.  He will attend the meeting of Executive Council in Parsippany, NJ
next month.

Pray fervently for those who pay in their person the biggest price for the
scapegoating in our unhappy divisions.

The Rev. Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude in England, notes:
"Davis's contact in the office in Abuja confirms that the last statement
issued by Archbishop Akinola was written by Martyn Minns. Most of the press
releases and statements issued by Nigeria are written in the USA."

Louie, Newark deputy

Louie Crew, 377 S. Harrison St., 12d, East Orange, NJ 07018.  973-395-1068

-----Original Message-----
From: Davis Mac-Iyalla []
Sent: Sunday, May 13, 2007 2:42 PM
To:; Louie Crew
Cc: Yves DE MATTEIS; Cary Alan Johnson
Subject: Lome Statement issued by the leaders of Changing Attitude
Nigeria and West African LGBT Christian Groups

The meeting this weekend, 11 to 13 May 2007 in Lome, Togo of 35 lesbian and
gay leaders from West African Christian groups was a moment of history for
LGBT Christians in Africa. The leaders represented groups from Benin,
Faso, Cote d~RIvoire, Ghana, Mali, Senegal and Togo meeting with leaders from
Changing Attitude Nigeria. We represented members of the Anglican, Baptist,
Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic Churches.

On Saturday morning we began our day by celebrating Holy Communion together.
For most of us, this was the first time we have been able to share the
life-giving body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ openly with our lesbian
and gay brothers and sisters.

It was also the first time many of us have met with other LGBT Christian
leaders. We thank the leaders in Togo and the leader of Changing Attitude
Nigeria, Davis Mac-Iyalla, for creating a weekend conference in which we
able to meet in safety and security.

Present at the meeting were the Revd Colin Coward, Director of Changing
Attitude England and the Revd Stephen Coles, Vicar of St Thomas, Finsbury
and member of the General Synod of the Church of England.

Lome Statement

Our message to our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) brothers
sisters at home is our hopes and dreams are possible; God is blessing us and
our work.

We have discussed the issues, threats and opportunities that confront us in
West Africa.

We believe we are created in the image of God, to love and to express the
we feel.

We are proud of who we are.
We will not live our lives in darkness.
We want to be fully included in the churches to which we belong.
We want our voices to be heard.
We want our churches to learn about our sexual identities.
We want our churches to accept and honour our relationships.

Future plans

We wish to invite theologians who are well grounded in the Bible to come and
meet with us and help us understand the Bible and homosexuality set in the
context of the teaching of Jesus about the goodness of creation and the
unconditional love God has for all his children. When we meet again we want
spend time in Bible study together.

We recognised the need we have to create better networks between our groups
and to communicate with each other more easily by learning one another~Rs

We want to find ways of raising people~Rs awareness about us. Many people in
Africa are ignorant about homosexuality, but we exist, we all belong to a
family, we have parents, brothers, sisters and friends; we sing, pray and
worship alongside people in our churches who do not know us well.

We challenged ourselves to talk more to our friends and families and
and sisters in our churches, to come out and talk from our own experience.

We want to meet again at regular intervals. We have seen the great value of
meeting together face to face, learning and praying together and preparing
future strategy.

We are returning each to our home country and group to share what we have
learnt with our LGBT brothers and sisters. We take a challenge to ourselves.
We want to respect one another, our differences as well as our common mind;
are trying to show true love in our lives and not hold grudges against those
who hurt us; we are committed to teach people to act responsibly sexually,
honouring relationships of intimacy.

Our goal is to work step by step to reach the place of our brothers and
sisters in Europe and North America, where LGBT people are increasingly
granted full protection and equality in society.

We have appointed a steering committee to prepare for a General Meeting to
held the first weekend after Easter 2007 in Nigeria. We will need support
> from
around the world to bring to reality our dream of gathering 2,000 lesbian,
gay, bisexual and transgender West African Christians together.

Davis Mac-Iyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria, said on Sunday 13

~SThere is great prejudice and intolerance against LGBT people in Nigeria and
across West Africa. Members of CAN groups have been attacked in the streets,
humiliated in congregations and abused in church groups. CAN groups have
provided pastoral and financial support to members. The support of the
of Nigeria for the bill which would criminalize any association between
homosexual people has added to the prejudice against us.

~SThe leaders who met this weekend represent the tip of an iceberg. There are
tens of thousands of LGBT Christians worshipping in the churches of West

~SMany of our members feel a sense of hopelessness and despair. They feel
are unable to change the situation in which the churches teach prejudice
against us and constantly attack who we are. Members can fear that they will
make matters worse for themselves by being more open.

~SWe are working to help people accept their sexuality. We need to change our
attitude towards ourselves first, so that we no longer see ourselves as
castaways. Slowly our members are coming to accept who they are and are
growing in courage and faith.

~SWe are committed to work in our churches for the full acceptance of LGBT
people. We believe the Gospel of love of our Lord Jesus Christ demands this
the Church. All are welcome in the Kingdom of God.~T


Davis Mac-Iyalla
+22 89937680
Revd Colin Coward +44 7770 844302

Davis Mac-Iyalla
Director Changing Attitude Nigeria.

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