A Baptist pastor who was sacked from his ministry for supporting the campaign for Australian Marriage Equality will be the subject of a benefit to raise income for him and his young family.
When Reverend Matt Glover told Christians4Equality that 'recognizing same-sex unions will help return marriage to its rightful place in society' he was sacked from his ministry at Lilydale Baptist Church in Melbourne in December last year.
Benefit organiser and Australian Marriage Equality board member, Carl Katter, said: ‘Australian Marriage Equality and the GLBTI community want to show that we support those people who support us. Rev Glover and his young family have lost an income and their church accommodation so we organised a benefit to help them through.’
The benefit, to be held on Saturday 11 February, will be hosted by comedian Joel Creasy and feature performances from magician Cath Jamison and drag-act Slash Darling and a raffle. ‘A lot of the prizes have been donated by local businesses and members of the general public who have been incensed by what has happened,’ said Katter.
When Rev Glover announced he was in favour of same-sex marriage towards the end of last year it opened up a fierce debate in his church and the wider Christian community in Australia. He told The Age: ‘I've met many who have had faith in the past but because of their sexual orientation have been isolated from church and family. I felt a burden to stand in the gap between the church and person’. Executive officer of Christian ethics action group Salt Shakers, Peter Stokes, said at the time: ‘We know Matt's been going down this path for years, moving from compassion for people who are struggling – and there's nothing wrong with that … to encouraging same-sex marriage. But the Bible is clear – it's a sin like any other sin that needs to be dealt with.'
In October 2010 Rev Glover published a 39-page paper entitled A Pastoral Response to the Homosexuality in the Church that urges for a 'pastoral', meaning with spiritual care, response to ‘the real people stuck in the middle of the debate’. He writes: ‘Our churches have argued the issue on biblical, theological and moral grounds for years, and agreement seems elusive. But as the battles rage, real people are being forgotten, left bruised and hurting, and wondering where they fit… Slowly gay and lesbian people drift from the church, and the cycle of loneliness continues.’