Rev. Dr. Malcolm Johnson is a retired Anglican priest, and was one of the founding members of the Gay Christian Movement. He was rector of St Botolph Aldgate – where the Movement was based for its formative years – for 18 years. During his time there he developed pioneering work amongst homeless people, and ministered to scores of individuals at the height of the AIDS crisis. In retirement, he lives in Woking, with his partner.
“Gerald Ellison was the bishop who kept saying to me, ‘Why don’t you keep quiet?’ in a lovely deep voice. ‘There’s no need to keep on.’ ‘Cause of course GCM had started and we had the first service in St Botolph’s and the first Annual General Meeting, if you like, in the school – I had a school which I was chairman of. Gerald was very angry…
And he wanted to know who was there, he wanted a whole list of all the clergy. Of course I didn’t give it to him. He just kept saying, ‘Keep quiet,’ because we had two or three hundred homeless people a day in the crypt of St Botolph’s every day and he said, ‘You’ll wreck the homeless work. And we don’t want you to be so open about being gay.’ Well, I wasn’t banging a drum really. I mean, I just did things more quietly. I used to go on the Gay Pride march, you know, but that was about all that I did.
Gerald came round to understanding what I was doing; he was very kind.”
You can read Malcolm’s story here.