Reverend Sharon Ferguson is Senior Pastor at North London Metropolitan Community Church. Born in London, she spent her childhood in Kent and has had a career in social work, counselling and advocacy. She succeeded Richard Kirker as Chief Executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement and was one of the couples who brought the case for marriage equality to the European courts. Since retiring from LGCM Sharon has acted as Co-Chair of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Organisations.
“The only community I had were my friends and colleagues where I worked and, as I say, my friends were all very accepting. Some questioned whether this was a phase I was going through or whatever. My best friend who had, at that point in time, moved back down to Wales, she was perfectly accepting. She came to stay up to stay for the weekend and went clubbing with me and I‘d go down to Wales and we’d go to the gay clubs together. Even when she was eight months pregnant, we were in gay nightclubs together. So I was very blessed, very blessed that the people who I cared about really had no problems, were very very accepting and so I was very very blessed by that.”
(Reconciling my faith and sexuality) “Again, this was never an issue for me. I think because I have always known God. I just do not remember a time in my life where I was not in relationship with God. You know, I don’t know where it came from, but I just know that I have no memory of ever being separated from God, of not having that relationship. So by the time the age of twenty three that I realised my sexuality, my relationship with God was so secure and, I’d been through all sorts of other trials and tribulations before then and God had always been there throughout all of that but I didn’t really struggle with this. I just knew that God loves me… and that God wants me to be all that God made me to be. If God made me to be a lesbian – and I clearly was much happier as a lesbian than as a straight person – this was how God intended me to be. This was not an issue for God, that this was how God wanted me to be, how God had made me to be. I actually felt closer to God because I felt I was being more of who God had called me to be by being a lesbian and being in relationships with women. So there wasn’t that struggle for me. The only struggle was that I knew that not everybody had the same understanding as I did.”
(Being questioned about my faith and sexuality) “… goes with the job. It’s very much part of the territory. Being questioned about faith and sexuality is a daily occurrence, almost. And I think it’s important, because there are LGBTQI Christians out there who do struggle with what they have been told about the texts in the Bible, who really struggle therefore to reconcile their faith and their sexuality. They feel they have to choose, they feel they either have to give up God or they have to give up who they are, in order to be faithful to one or the other. And of course the reality is, it’s not that. But it’s very difficult for people. Also obviously I get questioned by people who believe that homosexuality is completely wrong and believe that I’m leading people astray. And I get questioned by people who are LGBTQI who don’t understand why anybody would want to be part of a faith and have a belief in a God who they are told believes that they are an abomination. And so it works on both sides of the equation in being able to point out to those people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer whatever, that actually God does still love them and that they are acceptable and that there isn’t an issue. And also pointing out to people of faith that being LGBTQI is not an abomination but that God really does love us! It’s the same conversation, but just from opposite sides of the coin.”
You can hear Sharon’s interview here.