Are there any gay friendly Episcopal churches in Edinburgh?

Someone said something to me earlier this week which quite shocked me. They said there was no Episcopal congregation in Edinburgh which was welcoming to LGBT people.

By this, they did not mean that there was an absence of any Episcopal congregations with happy gay people in them. That is clearly not so. The question is, is there any such church which says publicly either by saying so on its website or its literature that LGBT people are welcome or which runs an LGBT group or equivalent which it advertises?

Before we all get ourselves in a tiz saying, “Oh, my church welcomes everyone, we say we welcome everyone therefore we must by definition welcome gay people…” just think it through. You don’t have to spend very long in the company of any group of gay people before you hear someone express the view that they’ve been negatively treated by some church or religious body or another. Also, though churches say that everyone is welcomed, it doesn’t stop them welcoming people explicitly who are for example, students, men, children, fabulous sopranos etc. Saying you welcome everyone is wonderful and I’m sure that lots do. Actually saying you welcome LGBT folk is quite another thing and appears to be considerably more rare.

Anyone want to make nominations.


  1. Oh, what’s this? Do I see a very welcome statement about inclusion on St Columba by the Castle’s website:

    Yes, I do.

    Though speaking of welcoming people regardless of their sexual orientation is starting ot sound a little old fashioned, I think.

  2. This is hardly surprising as all the gay priests of Edinburgh have now moved to Glasgow for some reason.

    • No, Fr Madpriest.

      Nothing ever moves from Edinburgh to Glasgow, not even for a day out. Only the other way round. It is one of the Laws of the Universe.

  3. Robin says

    > Though speaking of welcoming people regardless of their sexual orientation is starting to sound a little old fashioned, I think.

    Well, we have been described as “overtaken liberals” at St C’s. But our congregational heart is in the right place and we *do* make our welcome and affirmation for LGBT people explicit. And, dare I say it, it’s probably the least camp, giggly and/or spikey congregation imaginable. Much more typical was a Blessing for two of our number, when the Edinburgh gay rugby team thronged the church wearing the kilt…..

    • Be still my beating heart.

      You’re quite right though – the heart and the kilt firmly in the right place at St Columba’s.

      You’re right about camp going out of the window too.

      I’m not camp at all myself. Personally.

  4. Old Saint Paul’s is explicitly ‘gay friendly’ and has been for many years.

    • Hurrah for OSP, thanks for the link. I’m not convinced by your comment that the welcome (which is real) has been explicit for years though.

  5. fr dougal says

    Spikey Mikes has a statement on its website (on the Liturgy page natch!)

    “regardless of gender, sexuality, colour or class” The last is of course most radical in Edinburgh:-)

  6. Oh yes, Dougal. Well done for finding that. Quite right about class.

    Does any Edinburgh church offer to welcome people regardless of schooling?

  7. Robin says

    Don’t forget which Edinburgh church shared Fr Kelvin’s courage in inviting Bishop Gene Robinson to preach 😉

    • With regards to Bishop Gene, Robin I think it is just one and a half cheers for St Columba’s because the congregation were told to keep the invitation a complete secret.

      Now, one might posit the view that asking a congregation to keep something top secret is excellent mission planning, but I suspect that in this case, it wasn’t quite like that.

      I think that the fear was that the press might find out, but as I’d invited the press to come to the service over here and lined them up for interviews (with me and with +G), trying to keep them in the dark about his visit to Edinburgh seemed a little odd….

  8. Robin says

    > Does any Edinburgh church offer to welcome people regardless of schooling?

    I do remember one Mass at Spikey Mike’s when Fr Kevin announced that all six servers (including the boat boy) were, or had been, at Heriot’s……

  9. Robin says

    > the congregation were told to keep the invitation a complete secret.

    But in true Columban fashion we disobeyed orders. I certainly told everyone I thought might be interested and it was a very proud and happy occasion for me and for many others.

  10. Hermano David | Brother Dah•veed says

    Scots Pisky jargon here today; spikey, boat boy, etc.

    I’m not camp at all myself. Personally.
    Father K, we have all seen the wedding show photos. More than once.

  11. Didn’t a wise man once say that all clergy are camp ;-)?

    Although the wedding show photo does feature hot *female* models! It’s the sort of thing one might find in nuts or zoo (er, one would imagine) 😉

    • OK.OK, I’m no more camp than any other member of the clergy who finds themselves dressed head to toe in gold on a catwalk with glamorous models.

      That’s not very camp, is it?

  12. fr dougal says

    Jargon explanation: “spikey” V. High Church. Incense, liturgical precision and stuff like Mass & Benediction etc.
    “boat boy” – small human being often male who carries the vessel with the incense grains in it.
    “camp” – default position of many Scots clergy, especially the spikey one’s:-)

  13. fr dougal says

    Re the class thing: Spikey Mikes has welcomed me in spite of my going to Beath High! Mind you, we do count a Nobel prize winner, a former Scottish Rugby international and the odd MP promoted to the Lord’s amongst our FP’s so…

  14. Robin says

    At St Columba’s this morning there was the usual welcome printed in bold on the front of the service sheet:

    “We believe God affirms all regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, background or ethnicity and we welcome any who wish to worship and share Communion with us. We welcome and support LGBT people, affirm their lives and ministries, and celebrate their relationships.”

  15. Ooh, we don’t get that at St.Silas! 😉

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