Statement on Oxford LGBT Students' Church Ratings
A group of LGBT students from Oxford University have created a rating system for churches in the city based on how "safe" they are for LGBT people to attend.
The story was published by The Times on Friday 22 September 2023, highlighting a number of churches in Oxford including FIEC-affiliated Magdalen Road Church.
The students' report, produced by the 'Oxford University LGBT-safe Churches Team', referenced affiliation with FIEC and our Ethos Statement on Same Sex Marriage as a reason to give a rating of '1 (Red)' to churches.
Because of this designation of FIEC churches as "unsafe", The Times approached FIEC for a comment on the story. They didn't publish the comment in the end, but this is what we sent in response:
John Stevens, National Director of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches said:
“Like many other churches, those affiliated to FIEC believe, teach, and uphold the historic Christian teaching that sex is only appropriate within the context of heterosexual marriage. These beliefs are drawn from the Bible and have been shared by Christians for 2,000 years. FIEC churches have nothing to hide about their beliefs, and offer a warm welcome to everyone.
"Whilst this group of students is entitled to draw attention to what our churches believe, so as to enable them to make an informed choice about their church attendance, we believe that our churches are entirely "safe" for anyone interested in investigating the Christian faith and those who want help to live in accordance with biblical teaching, including those from the LBGT community.
"Many of the 640 churches affiliated to FIEC already have committed members who experience same-sex attraction.”