Our friends from the United Reformed Church will be joining us at Greenbelt Festival this year for our 50th anniversary festival. In this guest blog, one URC volunteer shares her experiences as a parent of LGBT+ children and ways she found support.
Joanne, a member of Christ Church Uxbridge in the Thames North Synod volunteered in the United Reformed Church (URC) café tent, yoURChurch, at the Greenbelt festival last year.
A parent of three LGBTQ+ children, Joanne explains why finding a supportive community was vital for her and shares ways that parents of LGBTQ+ people of any age can find support at the Diverse Church Parents’ hangout at this year’s festival:
When my young teenage son came out as transgender, I needed a support group. Like many parents of LGBTQIA+ people, I found myself in a challenging situation. I knew very little about LGBTQIA+ people and had many questions and worries.
Sadly, I found little support through the church that I was, at that time, a part of. I then discovered Diverse Church Parents (DCP).
DCPs members are Christians who are parents of LGBTQIA+ people. It’s an offshoot of Diverse Church, an inclusive organisation for LGBTQIA+ Christians. DCP was there for me at the worst and best of times as we navigated our family’s journey. They were my lifeline, offering a space I will be forever grateful for.
DCP provides peer-to-peer pastoral support through Facebook groups, and occasional face-to-face meetings, through which parents can develop a better understanding of their LGBTQIA+ child, and also of their own place in God’s family.
It’s a confidential space, so members do not need to step outside their comfort zones. It’s a place to ask questions and to feel affirmed. No question is too large, small or stupid, and usually someone has been through it before and can offer advice.
Over the past few Greenbelts, I have helped organise some informal DCP meet-ups as another way to offer much-needed support and pass on experience to those less far along the journey. We have made firm friends that support and encourage each other all year round.
I have now found a spiritual home at my local URC and this year DCP has found a home in the URC’s ‘yoURCafe’ tent at Greenbelt.
Parents of LGBTQIA+ people, please come and join us for an informal chat with people on the same journey. This could be just the space you need.
Diverse Church Parents (DCP) hangout
Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 3-4pm in yoURCafe (beside G-Books)
For LGBT+ people at the festival, Greenbelt’s OUT@Greenbelt volunteer team provides a place and a space to tell your stories, to be heard and valued and affirmed. As well as hosting a range of events across the weekend from their LGBT+ Eucharist to late-night Glitter Ball discos.