Open Table is an ecumenical Christian worship community which offers a warm welcome to people who are: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer / Questioning, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA) and all who seek an inclusive Church.
Open Table aims to create a safe sacred space for you to explore your faith and what it means for you. Whoever you are, wherever you come from, you are welcome here.
We are growing and seek the resources to help each Open Table community share our vision and values so they can be safe, sacred, sacramental, sustainable spaces for all. For more on the development of Open Table across the country, read on...
Our crowd-funding dream is to develop the network of groups and support new groups. Our target of £15,000 represents 15 hours of time for a development worker a week in 2018, plus a budget to enable us to provide the items below and much more!
- 50 pence of fuel takes us a mile closer to an Open Table community near you
- £5 will provide refreshments at an Open Table gathering
- £10 will help us develop our website and keep it online for a month
- £15 will pay our development worker for one hour
- £20 pays for printed publicity materials for a new Open Table community
- £50 would cover the expenses of a professional church musician
- £75 buys a pull up banner for an Open Table community to display at events
- £100 would enable us to offer British Sign Language interpretation at a service
- £150 hires a stall at a two-day Pride festival for an Open Table info point and prayer station
- £200 would provide two LGBT+ awareness sessions for a faith community.
Open Table began at St Bride's Liverpool in June 2008*, meeting once a month for a communion service. At the first planning meeting, someone said: 'Will it be "Open Table"?' When she explained that it means all are welcome, all can come as they are, we felt this was so important because we hear too many stories of people who feared exclusion, or were excluded, from their church community, who felt unheard or unable to express themselves or give their talents. So Open Table was born. Now Open Table communities gather across the UK, hosted by inclusive churches, serving up to 200 people each month.
Open Table is for Christians who are here, who will not go away, and who simply ask to be recognised and accepted. Our vision is of a world where LGBTQIA+ people are fully included within our church traditions and communities. Until then, we will continue to nurture safe, sacred space where LGBTQIA+ Christians can 'come as you are'. To find out when and where you can ‘come as you are', visit opentable.lgbt
Here is a brief history of Open Table, published in Journeys in Grace and Truth, edited by Jayne Ozanne, in June 2016. By then we had grown from one to four communities in less than a year. Since July 2016 another seven communities have begun, and we are in touch with more than forty other churches who are exploring this ministry in their communities. We featured in the Church Army's research report Sustaining Young Churches, published in November 2016, which recognised our empowerment of lay people (those who are not ordained clergy) as a factor in our success. We are also a case study in Appreciating Church, a Christian ecumenical project which aims to encourage the church at a local and national level to engage people in an inclusive way, published in February 2017.
We also work in partnership with OneBodyOneFaith (formerly the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement), Inclusive Church, and the Open Church Network, and encourage churches which host Open Table communities to affiliate to these organisations to make their hospitality and ministry for the LGBTQIA+ community more visible.
* Governance: Open Table is a Fresh Expression of Church approved as a project of The Team Parish of St Luke in the City in the Church of England Diocese of Liverpool, of which St Bride's Liverpool, host to the first Open Table community, is part. The Parochial Church Council (PCC) of the Ecclesiastical Parish of St Luke in the City Liverpool is UK Registered Charity number 1152031 - All pledged donations will be ring-fenced for the sole use of the Open Table community. Part of our development work will include working with OneBodyOneFaith, a UK charity with more than 40 years experience of ministry by and for LGBT+ Christians, to ensure sustainable governance and financial oversight during and well beyond this project. Open Table's facilitators were commissioned as Local Missional Leaders (an authorised lay ministry) by the Archdeacon of Liverpool in March 2016, which requires enhanced compliance with church safeguarding procedures, plus supervisions and professional development support.