just love

Just Love
By Jayne Ozanne
Published by Darton,Longman & Todd Ltd
ISBN 978-0232533750



This is a good story, told very well. It is easy to read and very compelling.
Jayne Ozanne is a well-known LGBT Christian campaigner. She is a member of General Synod, which is the ‘parliament’ of the Church of England. She is a former member of the Archbishop’s council. She is a church insider speaking with real insight into the workings of the Church of England.
She is also an evangelical Christian and she tells the story of growing up with very conservative beliefs and how she has had to come to terms with those beliefs and being gay. This has been a difficult struggle for her. She writes movingly and honestly about the personal conflicts and the journey she went on to gain self-acceptance.
Part of that journey included experiencing conversion therapy and how that failed to heal her. That experience led her to lead the successful campaign against conversion therapy, getting the Church of England to support calls to condemn the practice in this country.
She has a remarkable story to tell, from being taught mathematics by Prof Stephen Hawking at Cambridge, to senior retail management to the Russian mafia and many things in between.
For anyone interested in Church of England politics, this is essential reading.
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coming out of the black country

Coming out of the Black Country
By Stanley Underhill
Published by Zuleika
ISBN 978 1 9996232 10


This book is the autobiography of a gay Anglican clergyman. It is beautifully written. He has a good story to tell and he tells it well.
The autobiography is both very personal and it has an everyman quality to it. He tells personal stories of his parents, his difficult aunt, his brother and friends, but he also tells the journey of a man struggling to come to terms with his sexuality and his church. It is this journey that makes the book so engaging and so resonant for many of us – it is his story, but it is also our story too.
As a young man Stanley realised that he was homosexual and it was something that he struggled with, because he believed the church teaching that it was wrong. We see the great pain and sadness that this causes him. Like many young men he wants to have a loving partner and have children, so he goes through a failed exorcism that leads to a breakdown and hospitalisation. He goes through other treatments to try to change his sexuality, but all of these fail and we read the lifelong effects of these failed treatments. Throughout all of this his faith is the rock that he can rely on.
In later life Stanley joins a monastery and then goes forward for ordination in the church of England. His lived experience shows the cost of church policies that force people to stay secret about their sexualities. Ironically one cost was that he was the target of certain ladies with a view to marrying him. If only they knew the truth!
It is in retirement that he is able to be honest with other people about his sexuality and can move past some of the hurt and regret to find a joy and contentment in life. I think it is clear that the church needs to catch up with what is going on in lives of some of their clergy and books such as this are a valuable step on that journey.

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by Vicky Beeching
Publisher: William Collins
ISBN-13: 978-0008182144







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