From 1 to 9 May, almost two hundred participants from all over Europe, Central Asia, and beyond gather online for the 40th annual conference of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups. Highlight of the conference will be the presentation of the RICE Index, the Rainbow Index of Churches in Europe on 8 May that measures the inclusivity of churches towards LGBTI people.
The European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups meets for the 40th time. Representatives of six Dutch Christian LGBTI organisations have prepared the annual conference that stretches from 1 to 9 May. Theme of the conference is “Strong Voices”. Kees Goedegebuur, coordinator of the preparation team, “Strong voices for the LGBTI community are needed these days. In some countries, a lot has been accomplished, but there are also developments that threaten progress for LGBTI people. Polish bishops pleading for conversion therapy and 250 signatures of church ministers under the Dutch translation of the LGBTI phobic Nashville Declaration are just two contemporary examples that show that we need to stay vigilant. Our voices, and those of our allies, need to be heard more than ever.” The conference brings together representatives from more than 40 member groups in almost 25 European countries.
Rainbow Index of Churches in Europe
Highlight of the conference will be the presentation of the Rainbow Index of Churches in Europe (RICE). The index measures the inclusivity of LGBTI people in 46 churches throughout Europe on the basis of 47 criteria for inclusivity. Misza Czerniak, research volunteer and Board member of the European Forum, “For the first time, we have objective information about the situation of LGBTI people in their churches. We hope this instrument will invite churches to look at what they can specifically do to improve the position of their LGBTI members. Every church is rated, analysed, and presented with recommendations.” The index has been developed in cooperation with the Protestant Theological University (Amsterdam, Netherlands). The index will be presented on 8 May from the Church of the Nazarene in Vlaardingen, Netherlands. Among others, it will be presented to Independent Expert on Violence and Discrimination based on SOGI of the United Nations, Victor Madrigal-Borloz. A website is constructed for easy access to all data available: https://inclusive-churches.eu.
Participation in Presentation and Open Church Service
The presentation of the Rainbow Index will be on Saturday 8 May, from 11:30 to 14:30 CEST, followed by an Open Church Service at 17:00 CEST. Both events will be streamed. Whoever wants to take part in the presentation, can register through firstname.lastname@example.org. Whoever wants to attend the Open Church Service, can use this direct link: https://youtu.be/OAPvwnQxWgg.