At our 20th Anniversary in 1999, we celebrated the past, reminded by one of EF’s founders, Brian Stone, of how EF came to birth in the late 70s, and its aspirations and early endeavours. Not long after the conference, ‘Acts of Faith and Love‘ , the history of EF, was published. The book (still available!) charts the highs and lows of EF’s first 20 years – its activities, struggles, celebrations and sorrows.
Five years on, around 50 current and former members and other friends met in Leicestershire to celebrate the 25th anniversary. Once again we were reminded where EF has come from, our foundation in Jesus and His call for us to grow in fellowship and love.
Our keynote speaker, Andrew Yip, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Nottingham Trent University and former chair of the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Sexuality at Nottingham University, painted the bigger picture of social and political reform for LGBT people. He gave a lively account of the advances and challenges in public perceptions of sexuality, the proliferation of LGBT groups throughout the UK, the increasing recognition in law of the human rights of LGBT people, the establishment of partnership registers in major cities, and the slow but steady move towards affirmation of LGBTs that is taking place amongst Christians.
Individual workshops on specific topics – including partnership law, transgender issues, and biblical exegesis – were presented by members, and there was the chance to discuss our direction and to hear about the initiatives of other groups with similar aims. As always, there was time to share personal stories and just to be together, to worship and to celebrate.