2010 Conference of gay clergy in Norway

From 12-15 November 2010 Norway organised a conference for gay clergy in Granvollen. Frits Brommet from The Netherlands attended and wrote this personal impression

We were with 3 from the Netherlands and met with colleagues from Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Poland, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom and from Norway itself (of course). Actually, this conference was originally a national conference for Norwegian gay clergy, but they decided to broaden it and invite participants from all Europe.

Main things in this conference were meeting each other (I added many friends in Facebook!) and exchange of experiences. Seen from a Dutch perspective: in comparison to Norway we noticed our advantage that in our protestant churches many things are decided “bottom up” and only in a later stage ratified or sanctioned by the synod. That may be why here an openly gay minister (plus partner) could be called by a church community as early as 1972 whereas in Norway it was some 30 years later. On the other hand: in Norway this (once started) seems to have been developed much faster.

My main impression of this conference was meeting with the participants from Eastern Europe. Without exception they experienced being fired or not being appointed because of their sexual orientation. All of them are looking for a way of combining their faith and their calling with their sexual feelings. Often this results in starting a church community on their own which does welcome gays and lesbians. While hearing their stories, I have to confess that I hardly experienced any oppression or resistance like they did. So, my final conclusion is: count your blessings!