Stephen Crosby was born and has lived much of his life in rural Lincolnshire. He has ministered as a reader in a number of different parishes, but has encountered obstacles and injustice in exercising his calling to recognised ministry. Despite living in an isolated rural community with few other gay people, he met his partner through an LGBT Christian network in Lincoln diocese and he and Simeon are now happily civil partnered, and living in Durham following Simeon’s retirement.
“I know it’s a cliché now, to use the phrase you’re ‘the only gay in the village’ but that’s how I felt. You were made to meet in secret. In a church hall. It wasn’t advertised as a gay meeting, but it was this secret language, this secret code.”
“I did go once to a selection conference, but was turned down. I realised that I was the only single male candidate. And I realised that even though I hadn’t mentioned my sexuality on my application form…the tone of questioning sort of homed in on my sexuality. Even at one interview, had I had a relationship with a woman? And at that point, I said, ‘oh with respect, it’s none of your business.’ And I realised. I thought, that’s it, I’m not going to get any further. It was just a horrendous time.”
“I still go to church regularly and I’m still actively involved, though I feel I’m only clinging on by the edge of my fingertips really. The institution of the Church disappoints (my partner and I) greatly but I haven’t lost my faith and belief in God and Jesus Christ. My faith is as strong as ever.”
You can hear Stephen’s story here.