Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Press Coverage of Weekend in Chicago

Inclusion and engagement as radical ideas: aChurch4me
by Peter Holderness Nov 13, 2007
Related Links
Metropolitan Community Churches
Sankofa Way home page

Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. In proportion as each one has received a gift, use it in ministering to one another as fine stewards of God's undeserved kindness expressed in various ways. – Peter 4:9-10

MCC Factsheet
Founded in Los Angeles, Calif., in October 1968, one year prior to 1969's Stonewall Riots.
Includes more than 43,000 members and adherents in 22 countries from Canada to Argentina, South Africa to the Netherlands.

Churches in 48 states. The largest MCC church is Resurrection MCC (Houston, TX), with a membership exceeding 600. Belongs to the National Council of Churches and holds observer status in the World Council of Churches. Headquartered in West Hollywood, Calif.
Clergy are trained by 20 seminaries of mainline Christian denominations that accept MCC students.

Each year MCC clergy bless more than 6,000 same-sex couples with marriage and holy union ceremonies. Founder, the Rev. Troy D. Perry, has honorary doctorates from Episcopal Divinity School, Samaritan College and Sierra University, and awards from various human rights groups. He attended the first White House meeting of gay and lesbian leaders during the Carter presidency, was the first openly gay member of the Los Angeles Human Relations Commission and was appointed as a delegate to the White House Conference On Hate Crimes by President Bill Clinton. 21 different MCC congregations have been victimized by antigay hate crimes of arson or fire-bombing.

Twelve men and women gathered for communion and prayer behind closed doors in a small shotgun-style house in Huntington Park, Calif. one Autumn Sunday in 1968. A year before the Stonewall Riots in New York City inaugurated the modern gay rights movement, the Rev. Troy Perry planted the seeds for a radically inclusive Christian denomination.
Nearly 40 years later, 300 Metropolitan Community Churches serve more than 40,000 members in 22 countries.

Chicago’s aChurch4me is the latest to join the fellowship, rising from the ashes of Good Shepherd MCC, which closed in July, and joining other MCC churches in suburban Elgin and Brookfield. Just two months into its ministry, the church seems poised to unite faithful Chicagoans across lines of race, class, gender and sexuality.

“This church has more than a commitment, it has an aura of social justice to it,” explained Eugene Thomas, a retired Loyola University professor who has been involved in aChurch4me since its inception. “For us, church is not just about worship but also about service and ministry to those in need,” he said. During Sunday’s service, church members shared personal struggles and concerns with the congregation and their pastor.

Pastor Kevin Downer earned his master of divinity degree at Austin Presbyterian Seminary and returned to Chicago to found a new inclusive church. “The mission of aChurch4me is to reach out to people who usually don’t find churches welcoming,” he said.

Between 2005 and 2007 Downer undertook a feasibility study to understand how an MCC congregation could reach an underserved community in Chicago, attending scores of community gatherings to meet people and hear local concerns. In July 2007 Downer started offering interfaith service at The Center on Halsted, in the heart of Chicago’s Boystown. On Sept. 9, 2007, aChurch4me held its first service.

“I’ve been in intolerant churches and in the army … and from the first service I knew this church would be my new home,” Eugene Thomas said. “I’ll be 74 in January, and now I’m not afraid to meet anybody or do anything.”

Downer says that his MCC church is dedicated not only to nourishing the spirituality of the congregation, but also to engaging social justice struggles in its midst.

“We share a passion to engage our city and ourselves,” the church’s mission statement declares. “We dare to imagine becoming a people … who thrive in the exuberant celebration of God’s abundant love and grace found in the diversity of our relationships, our loves, and the whole of our lives.”

Perry remembers telling his first 12 congregants “We are not a gay church – We are a Christian church,” a refrain common at aChurch4me. Nevertheless, aChurch4me actively serves Chicago’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning and intersex populations.
On Saturday, the church partnered with Sankofa Way Spiritual Services, Inc. to present Black Sexuality in the 21st Century, a conference.

Sankofa’s executive director, the Rev. Deborah Lake, excoriated Christian leaders who she said have “broken from the religion of Christ” to teach exclusion of homosexuals. “Jesus loves us and wants us to feel safe,” she said, challenging Christians to stop sitting quietly in pews across the city allowing other pastors to “misinterpret the Bible and teach us to hate.”

But if intolerance and violence is a real danger for Chicago’s LGBT community, members of aChurch4me were especially impressed by the words of the Rev. Rowland Jide Macauley, the openly-gay pastor of House of Rainbow MCC church in Lagos, Nigeria.

Macauley said his church regularly convenes 60 to 90 people for worship, and that more than 1,500 have attended services so far. In a country where homosexuality and same-sex unions are still actively persecuted by the government, Macauley said his best defense is that he is a Christian, serving all the people of Christ. “We’re open to everybody, and I really mean that,” he told the audience.

Macauley’s sermon the following day had many in the congregation on the edges of their seats. “Coming out is a revolution,” Macauley said. “God wants us to be whole to be holy.”
Riffing on his favorite passage from Psalms, Macauley told the 50 conference participants that “The Lord is my shepherd, and he knows I’m a happy, holy homosexual.”

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Challenges That African LGBTI People Face

The Challenges That African LGBTI People Face And How They Differ From The Challenges In America.

By Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay, November 2007

Black Sexuality In The 21st Century: Change.

Hoover-Leppen Theatre
Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted,
Chicago Illinois USA

Date & Time:
November 10, 2007, 12:30 to 3:30pm.

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights...Sexual orientation and gender identity are integral to every person’s dignity and humanity and must not be the basis for discrimination or abuse.

There is a pervasive view that homosexuality is a sign of western sexual corruption and immorality. Some African families even believe that homosexuality is a result of occult activities. Leading Africans and politicians have claimed that homosexuality is un-African and that the Western world is spreading a concept of immorality amongst her citizens.

“If it were possible to determine the homosexuality of a child before birth many African parents would repudiate their homosexual child before they have the chance to live”.

Same sex relationships are totally frowned upon and are not accepted within the general African cultures. This attitude is reinforced by the use of legislation. The majority of African countries still legislate against homosexual activities and those found guilty can expect a long prison sentence, with the exception of South Africa.

Over the years LGBTI people in Nigeria, Somalia, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Uganda, Namibia, Cameroon and elsewhere in Africa have come under attack because of their sexual orientation and sexual identity.

In Nigeria, Sharia law is applicable in any Islamic ruling states, if a person is convicted of sodomy and any sexual practice they can be sentenced to death.

In January 2006, the government of Nigeria announced the proposal of a new law to ban homosexual relations and same sex marriage. The bill would make engaging in homosexual relations and entering into same sex marriage offences punishable by five years imprisonment. Priests or other cleric or anyone helping to arrange such a union would also be subjected to a five-year jail sentence. The law would also ban movements, associations or organisations that campaign for lesbians and gays rights.

The legislation goes further to make it a criminal offence to impart information of HIV/AIDS to gays and other sexual minority group.

The Anglican Bishops in Africa held a meeting in 2005, determined that they would break away from the parent Church of England unless the denunciation of the ordination of gay bishops such as in the case of Bishop Gene Robinson here in the USA and marriage for gays and lesbians are rejected.

The Ugandan government’s latest call for arrests based on sexual orientation is a grave threat to basic freedom, this call is supported by the president.

Church leaders of the Uganda House of Bishops called on the government not to register any gay and lesbian group. A church statement accused the gay organization of serving as a front for U.S. gays and lesbians to set up a base in Uganda.

Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe claimed homosexuals were "worse than pigs and dogs." He has compared homosexuality to bestiality, police persistently raided the offices of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ).

Members of Parliament in Rwanda want a law against homosexuality enacted.

In Nigeria 18 men are waiting to stand trial for offences of sodomy, attempted gay wedding, impersonating women and cross dressing.

Two women in Somalia were sentenced to death for "unnatural behavior."

In Egypt, three men accused of setting up a gay web site were charged with violating the Egyptian legal code.

President Sam Nujoma announced "the Republic of Namibia does not allow homosexuality or lesbianism”. Police were ordered to arrest and imprison" Nujoma described homosexuality as "against God's will" and called it "the devil at work."

In Tunisia homosexuality is presented as a myths, an undesirable behavior described as “perverted, abnormal and tragic”.

In Cameroon, fifteen gay men, and two lesbians were in jail for over one month, after being arrested in a bar known to be frequented by homosexuals. Cameroon's Roman Catholic Bishop Victor Tonye Bakot also criticised European countries for legitimizing homosexuality.

Two South African lesbians were killed in Soweto, some were raped for what is termed a corrective measure.

African homophobia are not much different from the homophobia in the United States, but what makes them noticeable is the assertion that homosexuality belongs solely to other cultures, it is said to be western sexual corruption infiltrated on the innocence of Africans by foreigners and also through the internet.

There have been limited voices and/or faces that represented the crisis of LGBTI people; those who dare to do so are either scared off or dispelled from the society. It is time that we all ask our governments to show more concerns and inclusion of LGBTI people.

The African Charter on Human and People Rights stipulates and makes provision for addressing many issues affected by LGBTI people in Africa, however African LGBTI are too afraid to bring any charges, allegations or complaint against their government or local authorities.

May 2007 more than 60 lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and intersex activists from 15 African countries gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa to discuss ways they could consolidate their movement and further progress in self organizing on a regional level. This group is called the Pan Africa ILGA.

A new tool was developed November 2006, called the Yogyakarta Principle.

The Yogyakarta Principles are a set of principles on the application of international human rights law in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity. These Principles promise a different future where all people born free and equal in dignity and rights can fulfill that precious birthright. Without the protection and fulfillment of these principles, it will be impossible for many people like myself to live a happy and healthy life in Nigeria.
The prevalent crime against LGBTI people and their family is blackmail. They are subjected to unnecessary exorcism by religious communities, ostracised from the society and family.
Aggravated rape and/or sexual abuses, crimes motivated by homophobia.
A major case of loneliness, rejection, isolation may often result or culminate into mental disorder or suicides. Death, Homophobic violence, Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, unfortunately, this is the sad case for homosexuals in Africa.

Why Should Americans Bother?
European-American Evangelistic Crusades said the appointment of Bishop Gene Robinson was encouraged by motivating power behind perversion, namely homosexuality. This has had a ripple effect on the nature and brand of Christianity in Africa and in the hands of Peter Akinola.

Barack Obama may choose to align with those who malign sexual minorities, this relationship seek to marginalise the already marginalised in the society, it would have been better if he speak with a new voice and represent a new dawn of inclusion and progress.

Decision to promote abstinence until marriage favored by George W. Bush, President of the United States, in 2003, when the US Congress authorized President George W. Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) funding for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to 15 countries, created a catastrophe. Abstinence programs convey a message that there is no safe way to have sex, it undermines same sex relationship and deny them information that could save their lives. Funds devoted to abstinence-only education are funds taken away from prevention programs that could address the health and sexualities of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. .

Events and decisions made here in America and in Europe have in many cases affected outcomes in Africa, mostly positive. They differ because America has a solid back bone to support human rights and constitutional courts that addresses issues at a judiciary process.

Americans can work side by side with African activists, Americans can help Africans by supporting the implementation of the Yogyakarta Principles. Intensified campaigns against the breach of human rights and rule of law in Africa.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Coming Out To Intimacy

Title; “Coming Out To Intimacy”
© Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay, 11th Nov 2007.
Pastor, House Of Rainbow MCC, Lagos Nigeria.

Preached at achurch4me MCC Chicago USA.

Hallelujah, Glory to God.
V I have had many moments of coming out.
V Most of them good, relieve, great, some are painful, shameful, stigmatised linked with denial, rejection, isolation etc
V But when we live in the hope of the almighty God, we are destined to know the truth, see the light, and breathe the air of freedom, liberation and validation.
V And the only way we can do that is to arrive at the truth, the inclusive gospel of Jesus Christ, which has no boundaries or restrictions or conditions.

We can boldly say “We fight the good fight of faith, laying hold of the eternal life to which we are summoned we confess the good confession before many witnesses” 1 Timothy 6v12.

The Title of my message this morning is Coming Out to Intimacy

Please, Bow your head and let us pray;
Loving God, the most excellent God, we are grateful for our gathering today, a day you have made, anointed and blessed, a day you have set aside for your name to be glorified, your name to be magnified, for us to fellowship and share in the inclusiveness of Jesus Christ and the love of our eternal God.

Someone say Amen, I invite you all friends, members and visitors of achurchforme and Sankofaway in Chicago to say Amen. It is good to be in Chicago again, last I was here in June, dancing on the Gay Pride. I want to acknowledge other ministry gifts, the music from Free Spirit, Drum DIVAS are Divinely inspired Victoriously Anointed. Amen.

I want to thank your Pastor Rev Kevin Downer a dear friend of mine and his partner Toby and the board members for the invitation to preach today, Also many thanks to Rev Deborah Lake and her partner Terri. I am a man under law and a mission, I know I have been given the privilege of a few minutes to talk to you. Just before I do that, I also bring you greetings all the way from House Of Rainbow MCC, Lagos Nigeria. Where I believe God is doing new and great things, someone say Amen.

The reading today is an interesting story for the lesbian and gay community Ruth 1v14-18.

A whole family moves from Bethlehem to Moab because of famine, the father dies, the sons marry Moabite wives, ten years later, the sons die and three women, Naomi, the mother in law and Ruth and Orpah are left widowed and childless.

There are only two ways a woman could be valued in this society, as an unmarried virgin in her father’s household or as a child-producing wife in her husbands, nothing has change with the expectation of society today. Naomi recognized that they have limited options for relationships and places of security in such a society, she tells her daughters in law to go back to their homeland and find new husbands. Just imagine the stigma, the shame, the rejection and isolation. Orpah kissed Naomi goodbye, but Ruth Clings to her. It was at this point that Ruth Comes Out and declares her true feelings for Naomi.

We must find a point to declare our true feelings for our relationships, to be honest and true.
We must find a point to declare our love for God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit
We must find a point to declare our love for each other and our neighbors
We must find a point to declare our coming to express and live the inclusive love and gospel of Jesus.

Ruth speaks to Naomi;

‘Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people and your God my God. 17Where you die, I will die— there will I be buried. May the Lord do thus and so to me, and more as well, if even death parts me from you!’18When Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.

This is the great coming out to intimacy moment, I am sure many of us have had that experience or that journey, Coming out as who we are is revolution and a victory, coming at work and to our families are just important, but coming out to yourself first and reconciling spirituality and sexuality is paramount.
Ruth chooses against the odds to stay with Naomi, one worthless woman joining herself to another and in her choosing she refuses to accept the status quo of a society that limits and defines their existence as worthless, empty and marginal based on marital status or reproductive ability.

Ecclesiastics 4:9-12 says Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. 11Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? 12And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Ruth is our queer ancestress, she has gone before us and so offers us an example. In her own way she knew that silence equals death. After all Orpah says nothing, she simply kissed Naomi and said goodbye.

Micah 6v8 “O ye mortal, what is good and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and walk humbly with your God?”

Ruth courageously name and affirm our relationship in the face of insurmountable odds. This is doing justice and loving kindness. She provides us with an example of self determination, refusing to accept a marginalized status based on heterosexist patriarch definition of marriage, family and procreation.

After all the bible remind us in 1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people,* in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of God who called you out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Psalm 23 is my Coming Out passage and Rev Troy Perry the founder of MCC wrote a book titled The Lord Is My Shepherd And He Knows Am Gay. Here we need to learn to rewrite our history into the scriptures, here we are standing on the inclusive love, promise and gospel of Jesus Christ.

Ruth’s words to Naomi 1:16 are words for our community.

I am not sure how many people know about Nigeria or of Nigeria. Currently to be homosexual is a crime and there are laws to prosecute, imprison anyone convicted for up to 14 years. But we have a church. We speak the words of Ruth to Jesus. The church started in September 2006.

We have held regular worship in Nigeria in just over one year and there has been no disruptions of any kind by hoodlums or the authorities.

We have grown in numbers; over 1,500 people statistically have attended all our programmes.

We have exceeded 300 on our main contact database.

In the last six months we average minimum 60 to almost 90 people in attendance with about 20 to 25% new people in attendance.

I want to invite all of you into a Ruth Naomi relationship with the congregation in Nigeria.
Support our mission to help many Nigerian gays and lesbians reconcile sexuality with spirituality.
18 men stand trial in my country for charges ranging from sodomy to cross dressing and impersonating women. Last June on the pride march I wore a shirt with an inscription L.I.F.E, living in fear everyday, this is happening here in Chicago and in Nigeria right now.

Prophet Isaiah said in Chapter 41v10, “I fear not, for God is with me. I do not look around in terror and be dismayed, for God is my God. God will strengthen and harden me to difficulties, yes, God will help me, yes, God will hold me up and retain me with God’s right hand of rightness and justice”. Prophet Isaiah like many of us today had something to say, make a note of these proclamations, and have faith in God.

God Bless You all. End

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Dear Reader;

I trust all is well and the name of our God is magnified and glorified in our lives, Amen.As I prayed and meditate in the past few months following the first anniversary of House Of Rainbow, I want you to understand the impact of the Holy Spirit over me.I follow the example of the Lord, who is merciful and gracious, slow in anger and plenteous in mercy and loving kindness. Psalm 103v8

Now I must get rid of all these things; anger, passion, and hateful feelings. No insults or obscene talk must ever come from my lips. Colossians 3v8

I thank God who has made me equal to the task, Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank him for judging me worthy of this trust and appointing me to God's service. 1 Tim 1v12

When I think of many things in the past few months, I hear the Holy Spirit saying these verses to me and I recall the very principle adopted by House Of Rainbow (HOR), which is no fear in love.

Isaiah 55v 10-11, says "For as the rain and snow come down from the heavens and return not there again, but water the earth and make it bring forth and sprout, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth. It shall not return to Me void but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose and it shall prosper in the things for which I sent it"HOR shall accomplish its mandate and shall prosper in all things for which God sent it. It doesn’t matter who we are or where we have been or where we are going. "but Christ died for us while we were yet sinners and that is God's own proof of God's love towards us" Roman 5v8.

I am sending this note to remind you and others of the love of God in our lives, our ministries and to end the needless bigotry and snide remarks that Satan has developed amongst us to fuel anger.I decided to be quiet, because I needed to find time to talk to God. And I always believe in God, in my call and the mission.

It is important to note that there is no fear in love 1 John 4v18, this passage has been the greatest insight of knowledge. The bible admonish us to Let brotherly love continue among us. God has not given us a spirit of fear, nor cowardice (timidity), but of power, love and sound mind (self discipline) [to inspire strength, love and self discipline].If surely there is anything that deeply trouble you of great concern you simply have to take this to God in prayers and ask (me) your leader. Some clarifying questions will be better off, this is far favorable than inviting a dividing spirit which allow Satan to rule and laugh over us.

I continue to pray and wish we are able to move to the next stage of ministry. I want you to know that unless we confess our sins and confess Jesus as a witness, our Lord and savior and love each other has Christ has loved us, we cannot move forward.I have made an administrative decision to hold services monthly until further notice. This is primarily due to lack of funds.

There are no givers in HOR. The next service therefore is scheduled and will be open to all on the 2nd December 2007, 10.30am. We are working on getting a venue. This service will determine whether or not we can hold services in the new year, it also depends on you too, where your heart is.If you believe it, you need to understand that we are God's representatives in the earth, God's mouthpiece to the LGBT and marginalized communities. This must reflect in our daily walk with God and our attitude towards all things, our natural being and of course towards each other.

The Holy Spirit has been faithful to HOR and let me remind you some of them;We have held regular worship including four special events in Nigeria for over one year and there has been no disruptions of any kind by hoodlums nor the authorities. - God is faithful.

We have grown in numbers, over 1,500 people statistically attended all our programmes, activities and worship. - God is faithful.

We have exceeded 300 on our main contact database. - God is faithful.

There are times that I get tired and weary but I continue to keep my eyes on the prize and the task not the attitude of selected few. I don’t believe I would be where I am today, without the trust and faith in God, had I not applied this powerful biblical principle in my life.

The leader, the great man or woman, does not say, The end justifies the means but the great person says, there is no end and even though it may cost me, I am not going to give them what they want, if all they want is a lie.We need to consider our positions and allow things to change.

Ezekiel 37, talked about breathing new life into dry bones, responding to healing through the power of God.

I want you to consider a few words of scriptures;Psalm 45v7 - " I love righteousness, uprightness and right standing with God and hate wickedness; therefore God, my God, has anointed me with the oil of gladness"

Acts 23v1 - We all should be able to boldly say "...up to this day (or from this day) I have lived my life with a clear conscience before God"

2 Chronicles 7v14 - "I am one of God's chosen people; I am called by God's name. If I humble myself, pray, seek, crave and require of necessity the face of God and turn from my wicked ways, then will God hear from heaven, forgive my sin and heal my land"

1 Peter 2v9 "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of God who called you out of darkness into God's marvelous light"I close this reflection by expressing my undivided love to all and my commitment to the mission of HOR, Lagos Nigeria.

Your Pastor Rev Jide

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Nigerian Sued Over Play On "Abuses" Of Sharia Law

Nigerian sued over play on "abuses" of sharia law Sun 7 Oct 2007, 10:50 GMT
By Estelle Shirbon

ABUJA (Reuters) - A Nigerian human rights activist is being sued in an Islamic court over a play he wrote exposing what he calls abuses and double standards by those implementing sharia law in 12 northern Nigerian states. Shehu Sani, a well-known activist and author, said an upper sharia court in Kaduna state had ordered him to cancel a planned performance of "Phantom Crescent" and to stop printing or distributing the play. This was after a group called Concerned Sharia Forum launched a suit against him.

"I wanted to enlighten the citizenry on how sharia is being used to oppress them. It dramatises the human rights abuses and the harassment of women and poor people by members of the Hisbah," he told Reuters by telephone from Kaduna on Sunday. The Hisbah are sharia enforcement squads active in the 12 Nigerian states that introduced stricter punitive aspects of Islamic law in 2000 -- a decision that alienated sizeable Christian minorities and sparked bouts of violence that killed thousands. Hisbah committees in some of the states have sometimes burnt books deemed immoral, shut down bars where alcohol was served or stopped women from using motorcycle taxis to prevent them from touching male drivers.

"There are so many double standards. It's only the poor who are oppressed. The governors of sharia states usually loot public resources while advocating morality," said Sani, who is a practising Muslim. The predominantly Muslim north is the poorest part of Nigeria and has the highest mortality rates. Several ex-governors of sharia states are under investigation for corruption. The former governor of Jigawa, which has some of the worst health and poverty statistics in Nigeria, was charged in July with stealing about $225 million.

Sani said the first hearing in the suit brought against him over his play was scheduled for Tuesday and he would defend his work in court. Sharia courts have been active for centuries but under British colonial rule their powers were curtailed. In the 12 states, they regained the right to impose stricter punishments such as death for adultery or sodomy, or amputation for theft. The northern governors argued that they were acting in the interests of public morality and that the people craved stricter sharia compliance. Critics say they played on religious sentiment to gain popular support for their re-election bids.

Sharia And Human Rights In Nigeria By Leo Igwe

Sharia and Human Rights in Nigeria By Leo IgweOn October 9 a court in Kaduna-Northern Nigeria heard a case brought against Shehu Sani- a well-known human rights activist, social critic and author.Mr. Sani-a practicing Muslim- was sued by a group called Concerned Sharia Forum over a play- Phantom Crescent- he wrote exposing the abuses and double standards by those implementing Sharia law in 12 states in Northern Nigeria.

Northern Nigeria is predominantly Muslim but has a sizeable Christian population including those from the South who reside there. The court has ordered Mr. Sani to cancel a planned performance of the play and to stop printing and distributing copies of the play. This court case has a lot of implications for human rights, democracy and civilization in Nigeria. It is the first time such a case is brought against a Muslim who is critical of this anachronistic legal system since sharia was imposed on Islamic majority States some years ago. This court case is coming up at a time Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise in Nigeria-and around the world -with Sharia as one of its most deadly and oppressive weapons.

Allegory of the Cave ReplayedShehu Sani said he wants to use the play to enlighten the local population on how Sharia is being used to oppress them. And practically speaking, this is a tall order, which is likely get him into trouble with the Islamic theocrats and jihadists who do not tolerate any form of 'enlightenment' that is critical of Islam. Again educationally, the Islamic majority States are the most backward in Nigeria. This is because the only form of education most people are expose to is Quranic recitation and indoctrination, which numbs and dumbs their minds making them impervious to critical thinking especially in matters concerning Islamic creeds and traditions.

Quranic indoctrination has imprisoned and corrupted the minds and conscience of the local islamic population, making them easy tools for manipulation and exploitation by Islamic Jihadists and theocrats. Unfortunately most Muslims in Northern Nigeria are in the dark as to how Islam has been used to oppress, exploit and tyrannize over their lives. And a few of them who have realized the unjust nature of the system are too afraid to speak out against it.Hence the task of enlightenment in Northern Nigeria is a dangerous undertaking because most Muslims cannot reason outside Quran and Islam. They take Islamic darkness as light, and violently oppose any form of enlightenment outside Islam, opposed to Islam or critical of Islam.

Muslims in Northern Nigeria are living in an Islamic Cave manned, managed and guarded by the armies and bigots of Allah. And as in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, Shehu Sani in like one who was once in the cave, and who went outside, saw the light, and has come back to enlighten his people. And this case brought against him by Sharia proponents is like a resistance staged against him and his enlightenment agenda by lieutenants guarding the cave of Islamic ignorance, fanaticism and foolery in Northen Nigeria.

Human Rights Abuses
One of the ways Islamic fundamentalists have demonstrated their moral backwardness, bankruptcy and ignorance is through gross human rights violations. Islam is inherently opposed to human dignity and equality, gender equity and justice. According to Mr. Sani, the play dramatizes the human rights violations penetrated against women and poor people by the Hisbah. Hisbah is a bunch jihadists masquerading as Sharia police or enforcers, funded with state money.Human rights abuses did not start with Hisbah. It has been there since the introduction of Islam to Nigeria. Particularly since the Jihad of Sheikh Uthman Dan Fodio.

The 1804 Jihad sanctified militant Islam-that is spread and propagated by human rights violations-killing, maiming, torture, oppression of women, children and poor people.Since independence, thousands- tens of thousands- of Nigerians have lost their live to religious bloodletting in Nigeria. In March this year, a Christian School teacher from Southern Nigeria was lynched by Muslim pupils for allegedly desecrating the Koran. And last month, Islamic Jihadists attacked and killed at least 9 Christians and burnt several churches in Kano- a Sharia implementing state and an Islamic stronghold.

In 2000, sharia riots across Nigeria claimed thousands of lives.Indeed, the blood of “unbelievers”, the oppression of the poor, the exploitation of the weak and ignorant, the discrimination against women, the persecution of sexual minorities and the abuse of children have watered the tree of Islam in Northern Nigeria.And today, Sharia has become a potent tool in the hands of Islamic Jihadists for human rights violation, oppression and exploitation in the name of Allah.Sharia has become a weapon for islamic inquisition in Nigeria. There are no women among the Sharia court judges. Sharia does not recognize the rights of all individuals to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. It has no place for equal rights of all human beings regardless of religion or belief. Sharia accords second-class status to non-Muslims.

Some Sharia States in Nigeria have carried out amputations, and have flogged convicted offenders including Christians. Some years ago, international outcry saved the lives of Safiatu Hussein and Amina Lawal who were sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. Many people convicted under Sharia law- to be stoned or amputated – are languishing in jails across Northern Nigeria.So, this case brought against Shehu Sani in going to be a landmark case. It is going to determine the direction Sharia States want to go –whether they want to come into the 21st century or remain in the Dark Age with their moral and legal anachronisms. This trial is going to serve as a litmus test of Nigeria's commitment to human rights and civilized values. It is going to provide an opportunity for the Sharia states to tell the world if they want to embrace Enlightenment, secular and open society or remain in the cave of darkness, ignorance, hypocrisy, hatred, violence, oppression, exploitation, and human rights abuses.

So in this very case, it is not just Shehu Sani that is on trial, the Sharia states are on trial. The Nigerian constitution is on trial. The Nigerian democracy is on trial. Nigeria’s obligations as a state party to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights are on trial. Nigeria’s commitment to the international human rights conventions is on trial. Human rights are on trial.


Friday, October 26, 2007

Homosexuality Does Exist in Nigeria

Homosexuality Does Exist in Nigeria
By Rowland Jide Macaulay, 2003

My name is Rowland Jide Macaulay. I was born to Nigerian parents. I have a good understanding of our culture and traditional values -- the expectation of an African child and the African family.

Tolerance remained at an angle to cultural expectations, and homosexuality is not one that is accepted in Africa, especially in Nigeria.

I spent my teenage years in Nigeria, where I first experienced my sexuality, although in great fear: the fear of being caught, the fear of sin, of commitment of an abomination. I grew up with a lot of guilt in my heart, I often prayed for forgiveness, sanctification and purification.

I spent my teenage years in Nigeria, where I first experienced my sexuality, although in great fear: the fear of being caught, the fear of sin, of commitment of an abomination. I grew up with a lot of guilt in my heart, I often prayed for forgiveness, sanctification and purification.

I grew up with my father who is a Christian leader and I must assure you he is a fine man, a learned man and a very good father. We love each other so much, but the culture and tradition of my tribe, the Yoruba tribe, meant that no matter how successful I become, how great a child I was, homosexuality was not part of the culture.

Homosexuality is considered a foreign or alien act. Homosexuality is what happens to other people's children or activities associated with occultism.

I was married and divorced with a child before I was 26 years old. The marriage broke down based on my confession of the truth, that I am gay; by this time I was in fear that I will lose my life and my family.

For many years, I kept a low profile but not without a troubled heart. I lived my life in pretence. I lived a double life, safeguarding any revelation of my sexual orientation. It became a secret that will haunt me for many more years.

I was outed at my local Pentecostal church. I was outed amongst heterosexual friends -- it became a revelation at work. This is painful and difficult for me to deal with, it was even more painful to deal with my family, as they are embittered towards me. I felt cornered. Having no one else to turn to, I turned to the Lord. Only then did I make peace with him and began to understand my pain and anguish was for a reason. I understood that I was to be the voice for those who suffered similar predicament.

And without a doubt, this testimony in the forum in which it is being delivered will have repercussions . . . It is not my intention to be a martyr, but simply to stand up and be counted and to highlight that I am ready to persevere, to speak up and pay the price for what I believe.
My purpose at this present time is to reach out to other gays and lesbians suffering persecution, to offer some hope and to let them know they are not alone. And without a doubt, this testimony in the forum in which it is being delivered will have repercussions, the extent of which I am not aware. However, I stand strong in my faith and belief that as a child of God all will be well.
It is not my intention to be a martyr, but simply to stand up and be counted and to highlight that I am ready to persevere, to speak up and pay the price for what I believe.

It has been acknowledged that more and more same-sex loving Nigerians -- both at home and abroad -- suffer immense prejudice, due to the cultural belief and lack of education about sexuality and tolerance towards people with a different sexuality.

The prohibition of homosexuality in Nigeria is not only confined to the letters of the legislation but is also denied as prevailing within the culture. [There is] a continuous attempt to deny or refuse to acknowledge that gays and lesbians make up a significant part of the population.
Homosexuality, as far as Nigeria is concerned, is an abuse of traditional values.

Parents in Nigeria will seldom accept their son or daughter is homosexual. It is commonly said, "I would rather have the corpse of my child than accept him or her to be homosexual." Steps are often taken to seek counselling, prayers, exorcism, casting out the evil, and binding the spirit of homosexuality, in an attempt to remove what is seen as a curse.

The prevailing view of churches in Nigeria believes that homosexuality defies the country's rich culture, and the practise of it will cause the individual to be ostracised.
Finally, the ultimate tenet of the Bible is love. It is my hope that this issue is debated with this in mind.

We - are - all - in - this - together. Thank you.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Lord is My Programmer

The Lord is my programmer, I shall not crash.
God installed softwares on the hard disk of my heart,
All of God's commands are user- friendly.
God's directory guides me to the right choices; For God's name's sake .
Even though I scroll through the problems of life, I will fear no virus,
For God is my back up.
God's password protects me.
God prepares a menu before me; in the presence of my enemies.
God's help is only a keystroke away. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, And my file will be merged with God and saved forever.

The Lord Is Crazy About You.

The Lord is crazy about you.

Now read again Psalm 23 and think for a moment what the Lord issaying to you.

The Lord is my Shepherd
That's Relationship!

I shall not want
That's Supply!

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures
That's Rest!

He leaded me beside the still waters
That's Refreshment!

He restored my soul
That's Healing!

He leaded me in the paths of righteousness
That's Guidance!

For His names sake
That's Purpose!

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
That's Testing!

I will fear no evil
That's Protection!

For Thou art with me
That's Faithfulness!

Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me
That's Discipline!

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies
That's Hope!

Thou anointed my head with oil
That's Consecration!

My cup runneth over
That's Abundance!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
That's Blessing!

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
That's Security!

That's Eternity!

Let us be honest, the Lord is crazy about us.


As a gay man of African descent, I struggled with my sexuality and my faith as a Christian, but now I enjoy a great freedom and joy with my relationship with God and part of my ministerial work as a gay Pastor, is to meet the very needs of Black or African Gay, bisexual, Lesbian, Transvestite and transsexual people, both in the UK and Africa. I was convinced by the Holy Spirit to begin this ministry. Equally, following a public sector conference called Tumaini November 2004 (meaning Hope), a conference which brought over 140 African Gay men in the UK together, it was felt that the timing of this ministry is inevitable.

The aim of the egroup is to raise awareness and bring love, comfort to many Black or African Gay, bisexual, Lesbian, Transvestite and transsexuals people, in Africa, Europe and all over the world.

We share discussions and devotions, prayers and blessings.

The ministry is founded on God's words " preach good tidings to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound, to proclaim the year of acceptance of the Lord..." Isaiah 61:1-2

I give all glory to God for God's blessings and every day two or more people are joining the egroup, if you have not invited a friend or two please do so now.

See here some of the comments received, it is very encouraging;

"Seems interesting. Just what I've been looking for"
"Well i am a christian, and I would like to know what the group has to offer. Although, I know it has got a lot to offer".
"this is somthing i have been looking for".
"I am a gay black christian who wants to share my experience with other gay blacks or African christians"

See below the initial statement which is on the introduction page of the egroup webpage, everyone is welcome to join regardless of their origin.

To visit go to:

If you answered yes to any of the following questions, you need to join this group.Are you African or Black, gay, bisexual, lesbian, transvestite, transexual?
Are you missing the chance to worship God as you are?
Do you feel that the homophobic messages at your current church, or within your culture makes you more angry with God?
Are you missing out on a spiritual journey with Jesus, you believe that your Christian values have been eroded by problems with accepting your sexuality?

Then this yahoo group is for you.We are not going to attempt to re write the bible, we are going to simply help you get re connected with Jesus as a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transexual or transvestite person.I recommend that you join this group and with hope we can move forward spiritually.

Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay
Pastor, House Of Rainbow Church Lagos Nigeria

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Would Jesus Discriminate?

Visit Jesus MCC of Indianapolis launched a city-wide billboard campaign that counters the prevailing opinion that gay love is condemned in the Bible.

Here is a concisely written interpretation of 5 biblical passages that clearly demonstrate positive description of same-sex loving relationships, Please pass on to your friends

Nigerian Petition

We are circulating a petition to encourage American politicians to speak out against the pending law that restricts gays in Nigeria.Please visit the site above and sign if you feel so inclined. Also, it would be great if you could encourage others to sign as well. People can sign anonymously if needed.

First Pan African LGBTI Conference

First Pan African LGBTI Conference.

African LGBTI activists meet in Johannesburg and elect a regional body to further advance towards equal rights in Africa. 11/06/2007 May 23, 2007 --

Earlier this May, 2007 more than 60 Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) activists from 15 African countries gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa to discuss ways they could consolidate their movement and further progress in self organizing on a regional level. ILGA, a 29-year old world federation of 560 groups, co-organised its first-ever Pan African LGBTI conference, together with a series of African groups including Alternatives Cameroon, Behind the Mask, the Coalition of African Lesbians, Sexual Minorities of Uganda and The Lesbian and Gay Equality Project. The Swedish Lesbian and Gay Federation, RFSL facilitated funding from the Swedish Foreign Office.

The conference began on a tragic note with the death of LGBTI activist Roger William Nowokap. The Cameroonian activist was traveling to the conference to represent the organization Alternatives Cameroon, when his plane crashed. Participants to the conference decided to dedicate the event to his memory.A major focus of the conference was on enabling African LGBTI activists to self-organise on a Pan-African level. Organizing on a continental scale for African LGBTI activists has seen various unsuccessful attempts in the past. One major obstacle to LGBTI organizing in Africa is the prevalence of state-sponsored homophobia. As of April 2007, 38 African countries have laws criminalizing homosexuality.

“In Africa, homophobic laws were either imported by colonial empires or the result of legislations culturally shaped by a conservative interpretation of religious texts” said Rosanna Flamer Caldera and Philipp Braun, Co-secretaries generals of the International Lesbian and Gay Association, in the introduction of a report on State-sponsored Homophobia in Africa launched at the conference. “Although many of the countries listed in the report do not systematically implement those laws, their mere existence reinforces a culture where hatred and violence are somehow justified by the State and force a significant portion of the citizens to hide from the rest of the population out of fear.”

An activist, who asked to remain anonymous, from the Senegalese LGBTI group And Ligeey, a support group for gay men, said gay men faced discrimination in many spheres of society though he applauded the recent inclusion of this group in a government HIV/Aids prevention plan. "Our struggle is about being visible and claiming our rights," he said on the sidelines of the meeting. "Many gays in Senegal are arrested and given unfair trials because what is judged is not their crime but their sexuality."African Lesbians are also particularly at risk as they suffer multiple discrimination not only because of their sexual orientation but also because of their gender.

The Coalition of African Lesbians, a group composed of 11 lesbian and feminist organizations coming from 14 different African countries, played a key role in ensuring that lesbian issues were high on the agenda of the conference. During the plenary session a panel was organised and managed by several lesbian organizations on “Feminist Ideologies, its role and impact in advancing LGBT activism in Africa.” The aim of the session was to make some of those abstract concepts more understandable and accessible and have gay men more involved in gender issues.Another challenge faced by African LGBTI activists wishing to organize on a regional level is language barriers.

Efforts at this year’s conference to bridge the gap between English and French speaking activists in Africa were successful, with delegations from French-speaking countries, such as Morocco, Cameroon, Algeria, Burundi and Senegal, attending the conference and networking with their counterparts in other English-speaking African nations.Despite these challenges, activists at the conference made significant progress in establishing an African regional LGBTI federation. African activists at the conference created an 11-member, interim board to govern the newly formed Pan-African LGBTI federation.

The activists set up five regions in Africa – North, South, East, West, and Central – and elected two representatives from each region. Special attention was paid to the issue of gender parity and it was decided that each region should be represented by one male and one female representative if possible. The final seat on the board was reserved for a Transgender activist. The following members were elected to the board (Because of homophobia and violence perpetuated against LGBTI people in their home countries, several board members asked that their identities remain confidential).

Representing the Northern Region:• Anonymous – Morocco• Anonymous – Abu Nawas - AlgeriaRepresenting the Central Region:• Anonymous – Horizons - Rwanda• Anonymous – Alternatives Cameroon – CameroonRepresenting the Eastern Region:• Anonymous – Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya - Kenya• Anonymous – Spectrum Uganda Initiative - UgandaRepresenting the Western Region:• Rev. Rowland Jide Macaulay – House of Rainbow - Nigeria• Anonymous – And Ligeey – Senegal Representing the Southern Region:• Linda Baumann – The Rainbow Project - Namibia• Danilo da Silva – Lambda Mozambique - MozambiqueThe conference thanked Dorothy Aken’ova and Juliet Victor Mukasa for their work as board members representing Africa on ILGA’s World Board and asked the newly elected interim board to choose two representatives amongst its members. Linda Baumann and Danilo da Silva were chosen for this position. There was no transgender activist available to take the final seat on the board, so Liesl Theron, Director of the first African Transgender organization, Gender Dynamix, has agreed to serve in that role while she actively searches for a transgender activist to replace her.The interim board was charged with an important mandate towards which it will work until the next African regional conference.

Specific goals of the interim board include:• Creating a legal entity for the African regional federation, to be based in South Africa;• Fundraising for both the organization and the next regional conference;• Drafting a constitution to be submitted at the next conference; and• Facilitating access to information for LGBTI groups throughout Africa.In agreement with Behind the Mask, the conference chose to have the South African organisation act as secretariat.

The organisation, well known for its website, will hold a seat on the board as ex officio. Activists at the conference were unable to agree on a name for the newly-created organization but the interim board will continue to consider possible names and will propose possibilities at the next conference. For now, the organization will be known as the Pan African ILGA, but activists are hoping to agree upon a more Afro-centric name which uses African words to describe the LGBTI movement in positive terms.Despite the tragic death of Robert Nowokap and the various challenges facing the African LGBTI movement, the conference was an undeniable success. According to David Kato Kisule, secretary of Integrity, a faith-based organization located in Uganda, “It [the African Region of ILGA] will show that homosexual people do exist in African countries and not just something happening in countries with white people.”

“Communities have grown and become stronger in their respective countries” said Linda Baumann from The Rainbow Project, Namibia and co-chair of the board of the new federation. “The formation of the Pan African ILGA is living proof of the strength and unity of gay and lesbian organizations on our continent”. It will work to help all current and future LGBTI organizations and will also be instrumental in lobbying government bodies.”To read more about the Conference:Pink News, Mamba Online, Behind the Mask, ILGAAfrica

African gays speak out on "state-backed" homophobia

African gays speak out on "state-backed" homophobia

By Gershwin Wanneburg

JOHANNESBURG, May 8 (Reuters) - Gay activists are protesting against what they describe as "state-sponsored" homophobia in Africa, saying authorities tacitly condone their persecution across the continent.The International Gay and Lesbian Association's (ILGA) first pan-African conference in Johannesburg, which ends on Tuesday, drew about 60 activists who say they have seen first-hand the consequences of laws that breed homophobia.In some cases, possible sentences against gays include death by stoning.

Thirty-eight of 85 U.N. members who outlaw homosexuality are in Africa, according to an April 2007 ILGA report entitled "State Homophobia in Africa", which accused many African governments of "institutionally promoting a culture of hatred" against gay and lesbian people."Although many of the countries ... do not systematically implement those laws, their mere existence reinforces a culture where a significant portion of the citizens need to hide from the rest of the population in fear," the report said."

A culture where hatred and violence are somehow justified by the state and force people into invisibility or into denying who they truly are."South Africa stands alone in Africa in its liberal attitude, last year becoming the first African nation to allow gay marriages.

Rowland Jide Macaulay, a gay cleric, breaking with African tradition that regards homosexuality as a taboo, launched a gay-friendly church in his native Nigeria last year to counter negative messages from officials and church leaders in a country where laws render homosexuality punishable by stoning to death."We're talking with people who cannot even integrate in the society. They've lost their jobs because they found out that they're gay at work, they've lost the roof over their head because their landlord found out they are gay," he said."There are people who suffer homophobic attacks ... verbal abuse and I think people need assurance they're not mentally ill."

Laws proposed last year will make life harder for gays in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, he said. The Same Sex Prohibition Bill bans homosexual unions and allows for the prosecution of anyone "aiding and abetting" gays and lesbians."In the southern part of federal Nigeria the punishment is seven-14 years. In the sharia (Islamic law) states in the north it's actually death by stoning," Macaulay said.

A West African activist, who did not want to be named, said discrimination towards gay men in his region was deep-seated, especially in the justice system."We've been fighting to have access to justice in a fair way because many times you are judged arbitrarily because when you are homosexual your rights are not recognised," he said."You are wrong even before you start to talk."

Oludare Odumuye, Nigerian Human Rights Activist Has Died, Aged 41.

Oludare Odumuye, Nigerian Human Rights Activist Has Died, Aged 41.
By Revd Rowland Jide Macaulay, Pastor House Of Rainbow, Lagos, Nigeria

June 2007; Oludare Olutosin Toluwalase Odumuye popularly known as Erelu within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex (LGBTI) Community died on the 20th May 2007. It was reported that he was taken ill a few weeks prior to his death.Oludare was the Director of Alliance Right Nigeria, an organization which advocated for the rights of LGBTI people in Nigeria since 1999, provided Sexual health information, Advice, Seminars and Training programme.

Oludare made more friends and helped a lot of Nigerians come to terms with their Sexual Orientation. He is an ardent member of House Of Rainbow, Lagos Nigeria. Many people in the community are in a state of shock when it was revealed that he had died.Oludare is an International Hero for many Nigerians, He made friends, relationship and forged partnership with many foreign organizations. Oludare is well known by the International Human Rights community.He was the recipient of many awards for his contributions to the LGBTI community in Nigeria including the ASHOKA award 2004.As LGBTI Nigerians mourn their hero, his family, as often expected in Nigeria made a rapid and quick decision to bury him on the 24th May 2007.

This left no doubt a disappointing gap in the minds of many people. It was felt that his life was worth a greater celebration.Oludare with Alliance Right Nigeria made a significant impact in the struggle of LGBTI people in the nation and made friends in the world, he infiltrated the Nigerian government with his activism and jointly led the campaign for the Human Rights of many people, especially against the Same Sex Prohibition Bill 2006.The loss is difficult to comprehend, however, at House Of Rainbow, we dedicated a part of the Service on the 27th May 2007 to his loving memory and allowed people to grieve and celebrate our brother Oludare. On a personal level, I first met Oludare Odumuye in October 2004, prior to meeting we have been in constant communication for nearly two years. We worked together on many issues affecting LGBTI people and Human Rights in Nigeria.

In March 2006, we met again at the ILGA World conference in Geneva Switzerland. There we herald the cause and plight of LGBTI people following the drastic introduction of a draconian Same Sex Prohibition Bill 2006. In July 2006, we held an International Day of Prayer for LGBTI Nigerians, Oludare made a significant contribution by lending his voice with a quote."I applaud the concept of the ministries of Metropolitan Community Church, to look at the spiritual aspect of the human life and to include LGBTI people in the gospel truth and love of Religion, this is very important.Photo Credit: Dan Allman, Abuja, 2005Since 1999, at the Alliance Right Nigeria, we have embraced the fight for the right of all humanity especially human rights for LGBTI Nigerians, we are embarking on the right to sexual health of sexual minorities.We welcome the International Day of Prayer for LGBTI Nigerians, which would be our own day of Pentecost, we believe there would be a release of freedom from all forms of bondage." – Oludare OdumuyeAfter the inauguration of House Of Rainbow in Lagos, in September 2006, Oludare continued to remain in contact with the ministry and later joined and informed members of the community about the church, we are glad to named Oludare as a member of House Of Rainbow.

On the 4th December 2006, he visited House Of Rainbow Lagos, not just to worship but to take part in the programme during the World AIDS Day weekend, He sang his favourite song "My eyes are on the Sparrow" and during the hour long discussion/debate he impacted with knowledge his skills in Sexual Health and Care.Oludare was a caring man and everyone that came to know him will acknowledge his fairness and awesome struggle to liberate and forge an existence for the millions of LGBTI Nigerians.In February 2007, I received a phone call from Oludare informing me of the Public Hearing debate at the Nigerian National Assembly in Abuja, he was one of the lead members of the Coalition for the Defence of the Rights of Sexual Minorities.

His activism and proactive nature meant that we were able to work leaving no stones unturned in preparation for a difficult Public Hearing.In March 2007, on another visit to Abuja Nigeria, Oludare assisted the coordination of a meeting to introduce LGBTI people in a special programme with House Of Rainbow.As we mourn this great loss to our nation and most especially to our community. I write with sadness but we are rest assured that Oludare has gone to become an angel in heaven and will never be forgotten.

Now Church Opens for Gays in Nigeria

now church opens for gays in nigeria
By Joel Nana (BtM Intern)

October 24, 2006: House of Rainbow becomes the first church in Nigeria to accommodate all people irrespective of their sexual orientation.

Launched last month in Lagos, the church was founded by Reverend Jide Macaulay who started with his ministry long time ago in that country even before the advent of President Olusegun Obasanjo who early this year introduced same sex prohibition bill that outlaws and deplores homosexuality.

House of Rainbow is part of the Universal Fellowship of the Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC), which are churches first established in the 1960s and merely intended for homosexuals in the world.

“Our vision is to take care of and empower people who are likely to be ostracized and isolated in diverse communities, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in particular”, Macaulay attested.

Not only that Macaulay is a gay pastor, but also a Christian theologian, a poet, a self-published author and an educator in business. He had spent most of his teen years in Nigeria before leaving for London to do work as pastor.

“I know what it is like to be a gay person in the Nigerian conservative society, forced to live in a closet and even afraid to talk about your sexual orientation in Church”, he decried.

He says of the church; “The church is supposed to be the place where we appear true to each other and to God.”

Macaulay says the church reflects diversity, and it aims to implement inclusive language use as well as to encourage involvement of women.

He concluded that House of Rainbow seeks to remind Nigerian population that God is beyond human sexuality.

A Bill To Punish Gays Divides a Family

In Nigeria a Bill To Punish Gays Divides a Family >Theologian Is Pushing It;>His Minister Son's Church>Would Run Afoul of Law> >By Mark Schoofs>January 12, 2007> >LAGOS, Nigeria --

Augustus Olakunle Macaulay founded the Bibleuniversity >that trained his son in theology. He founded the evangelical ministrythat >ordained his son as a minister. And he is president of Nigeria's >Association of Christian Theologians, which counts his son as a member.> >But now Prof. Macaulay supports a proposed law that could criminalizehis >son's new Christian church and put him behind bars. That's because hisson, >the Rev. Rowland Jide Macaulay, has founded House of Rainbow, a churchthat >caters to Nigeria's gay men and lesbians -- a first for Africa's most >populous country.> >

The relationship between Prof. Macaulay and his son mirrors some of the >conflicting forces buffeting homosexuals in Nigeria. Gay men andlesbians >are becoming more visible, even as their society, which is hostile to >homosexuality, threatens to become still less tolerant of them.> >

In his New Year's Eve sermon, Rev. Jide, as he is called by his smallbut >growing flock, declared himself a "happy, holy homosexual." He said,"We >are all God's children, no matter what some people tell us." The morethan >100 attendees, all male, clapped and sang out their approval.> >

After the service, the church sponsored a party. In keeping with achurch >function, no alcohol was served. But the event featured exuberant drag >queens lip-synching disco hits. The party's highlight: a "Mr. Bloke"beauty >contest with contenders strutting their stuff in traditional Africangarb, >corporate wear and swimwear.> >

House of Rainbow -- a member of a gay-affirming U.S. umbrella church >organization -- would almost certainly run afoul of Nigeria's proposedlaw. >Homosexual sex is already punishable by up to 14 years in prison -- or >death by stoning in the Muslim north, though that Shariah sentence is >rarely meted out.> >

The sweeping new bill would punish by up to five years in prison anyonewho >enters into a gay marriage, "performs, witnesses, aids or abets the >ceremony of same-sex marriage" or is "involved in the registration ofgay >clubs, societies and organizations, sustenance, procession ormeetings." >The U.S. State Department has denounced the bill, proposed in Januarylast >year, as a violation of basic freedoms.> >

But the bill is widely expected to pass. It is supported by mostmainstream >Christian and Muslim clergy in Nigeria, including Peter Akinola, the >Anglican archbishop who is leading an international revolt ofconservative >Episcopalians angry about the ordination of gay priests and the >consecration of gay unions.> >

Archbishop Akinola, who also opposes the ordination of women priests,has >become the spiritual leader of more than 20 American conservativechurches >that have broken away from the world-wide Anglican Communion.> >

Anglican Christianity was brought to Nigeria in 1842 by a particularly >conservative group of British missionaries, and "there has been ahardening >of attitudes as the West has liberalized," says Philip Jenkins,professor >of history and religious studies at Pennsylvania State University and >author of "The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in theGlobal >South."> >

Prof. Jenkins notes that many African societies still derive theirnorms >from agrarian life and that animal sacrifice and polygamy are common in >many parts of Africa. "The Bible carries a lot more weight amongordinary >Africans, partly because people can identify with the society it >describes," he says. "They recognize it as their world." This leads >Africans to a more literal interpretation of Scripture, he believes.The >rise of fundamentalist Islam also puts pressure on African Christiansto >draw a hard line against homosexuals, he says.> >But urban Nigerians are increasingly aware of the advance of gay rightsnot >only in the U.S. but also in South Africa, which enshrines equal rightsfor >homosexuals in its constitution and recently legalized marriage for >same-sex couples. The fact that Nigeria's legislature is consideringthe >new bill testifies to the growing visibility of gay men and lesbians in >Nigeria.> >

As for the Macaulays, the father and son are both polite, well-educatedand >well-traveled. The elder Macaulay is 69 but looks so young that he andhis >41-year-old son are sometimes mistaken for brothers. And they wereclose >even as the younger Macaulay was struggling in secret.> >Born in London, Rev. Jide says he had his first homosexual experiencein >Nigeria, where he spent his teenage years. Ashamed of his attraction to >men, he married a Nigerian woman in London in 1991 and had a son withher. >About three years later, increasingly depressed, he told his wife the >truth. They divorced and he was expelled from their church. He says heand >his wife now speak only to discuss their son, with whom Rev. Jideremains >close.> >Rev. Jide says that for many years he wanted to tell his father, but,he >says, "I couldn't find the courage." Then, during a visit Prof.Macaulay >made to his son's London home in 2003, he noticed some books on >homosexuality. He confronted his son, admonishing him thathomosexuality >was against God's will and urging him to change.> >

Rev. Jide remained silent, both men recall. "In truth, I felt for him, >because I am a father too," the younger man says. "I have twogenerations >on either side of me bearing the brunt of my being gay."> >Indeed, last September after Rev. Jide discussed his sexuality on a BBC >television show, his 14-year-old son sent him a cellphone text messagethat >read in part "i HATE u" and "ur not my dad nemore." The two reconcileda >few days later, but Rev. Jide believes his son's emotional turmoil is >stoked in part by relatives telling him the Bible condemnshomosexuality.> >Many Nigerians say they would disown a gay child. But Prof. Macaulay,who >comes from a family so prominent that a street in Lagos is named afterone >of his uncles, tries to take a love-the-sinner-hate-the-sin approach.In a >letter to his son shortly after discovering his son's homosexuality, he >wrote, "People in Nigeria here love you and rate you high in theirlives." >But in that same letter he warned that his son's homosexuality "is notonly >ABOMINABLE but a great DISGRACE to our family."> >

To the extent that his son's church affirms homosexuality, it is "of >Satan," the father says.>So, despite protests from his wife, Prof. Macaulay supports theanti-gay >legislation. He says he "won't feel very bad" if his son winds up in >prison, which he even sees as a possible means of turning his sonstraight.> >At House of Rainbow, Rev. Jide repeatedly encounters his own family >struggle in members of his flock. "The biggest issue," he says, "ispeople >have been wounded in their family by being rejected, by being totally >unloved."> >

Another key issue, he says, is nurturing healthy relationships in "a >society that is very, very brutal" toward gay people. Gay men tend tomeet >in the relative safety of the Internet, but relationships often founder >because the men can't build a life together, says Adebisi Alimi, amember >of House of Rainbow and one of Nigeria's very few openly gay activists.> >

Fearing gay bashers -- always a threat in Nigeria, where homosexualscan't >count on police to protect them -- Rev. Jide arranged for the NewYear's >Eve service and party to be held on the far outskirts of Lagos. Theevent >was held under the moon in an open-air courtyard with a dirt floor. >Electricity, always sporadic in Lagos, kept cutting out as the backup >generator sputtered. But as midnight approached, the congregationcounted >down the seconds with gusto, then hugged and danced before resuming the >service to take communion.> >When Rev Jide announced he would offer a blessing for gay singles,dozens >rushed to him, some kneeling. "May you find a fine boyfriend," Rev.Jide >prayed.> >

Write to Mark Schoofs at> >END

A Response to Homophobic Church Comments

A Response: The Homophobic church
By Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay

There have been so many responses, since the interview was posted online. Many people have been honest, and truly many have not taken time to think about the adverse consequence their comment would make.I found the dogma of prejudice, domineering and also traditionalist in existence in the arguments of the people. I have taken time to introduce a scholarly theological position, for those willing to rethink. "I accept this award as a reaffirmation of my commitment to challenge all forms of discrimination and persecution and to do everything I can to help make our democracy more inclusive, because none of us can be free, until all of us are free…and I accept this award with heartfelt appreciation for my lesbian and gay, bisexual and transgender sisters and brothers who are working for human rights and social progress for people of all races." Coretta Scott King Civil rights leader, the widow of Martin Luther King, Jr

The bible clearly says in Romans 8.33-39, Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.The BibleIn our Judeo-Christian society, the documents collectively known as the Bible serve as the primary guide on most issues. It is interesting that many Christians take literally the references to homosexual acts, while interpreting other text with great flexibility. One person reported listening to a nationally known woman speaks in her campaign against homosexuality. She spent quite a bit of time quoting impressively from Leviticus. The listener accepted much of what the speaker said until he realised that, by Levitical standards, the crusader herself had broken many biblical laws – she spoke in church (1 Corinthians 14:34), she taught men (1 Timothy 2:12), she was wearing a dress made of cotton and polyester (Deuteronomy 22:11), and others of which he was probably unaware. What does the Bible really say about homosexuality? Actually, very little. Most significantly, Jesus said nothing at all. Considering the relatively small amount of attention the Bible pays to the subject, we must ask ourselves why this is such a volatile issue. Other subjects about which the scriptures say a great deal (e.g. judgement, pride, hypocrisy) receive much less passionate attention. Before looking at specific passages, it is important to note that everyone understands the scriptures based on, and through, the light of what they have been taught. The Bible was not written in a cultural void, and many of its instructions and laws are simply classified as less relevant today (e.g. prohibition against eating pork).Nowhere does the Bible actually address the idea of persons being lesbian or gay. The statements are, without exception, directed to certain homosexual acts. Early writers had no understanding of homosexuality as a psychosexual orientation. That truth is a relatively recent discovery. The biblical authors were referring to homosexual acts performed by persons they assumed were heterosexuals.

Rowland Jide Macaulay
10/04/2006, 01:53

The Sodom StoryA chief text used to condemn homosexuality is the Sodom story (Genesis 19:1-29), often interpreted as showing God's abhorrence of homosexuality. In the story, two angels, in the form of men, are sent to the home of Lot in Sodom. While they are there, the men of the city “both young and old, surrounded the house - everyone without exception” and demanded that the visitors be brought out “so that we might know them.” (Genesis 19: 4-5) Lot begged the men to leave his guests alone and take his daughters instead. The men of the city became angry and stormed the door. As a result, they were all struck blind by the angels.There are several problems with the traditional interpretation of this passage. Whether or not the intent of the men of Sodom was sexual, the inhospitality and injustice coming from the mob, and that generally characterised the community, were “the sin of Sodom.” (Ezekiel 16:49-50, Isaiah 13:19, Jeremiah 49:18; 50:40) Jesus himself refers to the inhospitality of Sodom. (Luke 10:10-13) If the men were indeed homosexuals, then why would Lot offer them his daughters? What is threatened here is rape. The significant point, then, is that God considers all rape horrible. The story deserves another reading.It should be noted that not all of the men of Sodom could have been homosexual or there would have been no need to destroy them. If they had all been homosexuals, they would have all died off leaving no heirs. Quite likely, they were a mixed group of evil men attempting to be abusive to people who were different. Ironically, lesbian and gay people are often the victim of that same sin.Although the traditional interpretation of the Sodom story fails as an argument against homosexuality, there are several other Old Testament passages that do condemn homosexual acts. Again, it should be noted that these passages do not deal with same-sex orientation nor is there any reference to genital love between lesbian or gay persons.Homosexual ActsOf thousands of Old Testament passages, only two make explicit reference to homosexual acts: Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13. Both of these passages are a part of the Levitical holiness code, which is not kept by any Christian group. If it were enforced, almost every Christian would be excommunicated or executed. It has been logically argued that science and progress have made many of the Levitical laws irrelevant. For example, fundamentalist author Tim LaHaye states that, although Levitical laws prohibit intercourse during menstruation, medical authorities do not view it as harmful, and, therefore, it should not be viewed as sinful. He further explains, “Those laws were given 3,500 years ago before showers and baths were convenient, before tampons, disinfectants and other improved means of sanitation had been invented.” Much of the holiness code is now irrelevant for us as moral law. Thus, having children, which was of exceptional importance to the early Hebrews is now made less relevant by overpopulation, just as the prohibition against eating pork and shellfish has been made irrelevant by refrigeration.The Bible never addresses the issue of homosexual love, yet it does have several beautiful examples of same-sex love. David's love for Jonathan was said to exceed his love for women. (2 Samuel 1:26) Ruth's relationship with Naomi is an example of a deep, bonding love, and Ruth’s words of covenant to Naomi are often used in heterosexual wedding ceremonies. (Ruth 1:16-17) The Bible clearly values love between persons of the same sex.

Rowland Jide Macaulay
10/04/2006, 01:54

Jesus' AttitudeIn the New Testament there is no record of Jesus saying anything about homosexuality. This ought to strike us as very odd in light of the great threat to Christianity, family life and the way that some would have us believe homosexuality is. Jesus saw injustice and religious hypocrisy as a far greater threat to the Realm of God.Modern day Bible scholars argue that the Gospels imply in two places that Jesus' attitude toward lesbians and gays would not have been hostile. (Jonathan Loved David, p. 122) The first is found in the story of Jesus healing the Centurion's servant. (Matthew 8:5-13) The word used for the servant is “pais,” which in the Greek culture referred to a younger lover of an older, more powerful or educated man. Clearly, the story demonstrates an unusually intense love, and Jesus' response was wholly positive.The other hint of Jesus' attitude is seen in his comments about eunuchs. (Matthew 19:10-12). It is in the context of marriage that Jesus said “some eunuchs were born so; others had been made eunuchs and still others choose to be eunuchs for the Kingdom's sake.” Jesus' remarks about celibacy and castration are clear, but a male child being born without testicles is a rare birth defect. It is only in our day that the Kinsey Institute has demonstrated that sexual orientation is likely determined prior to birth. It could well be that those to whom Jesus refers as being “born eunuchs” are the people we call lesbian or gay.Jesus' attitude toward eunuchs differed greatly from the fundamentalist Pharisees of his day. To them, eunuchs should have been excluded from the covenant and barred from worship and participating in the community of faith. Jesus' graceful approach to eunuchs is beautifully pictured in the promise of the prophecy of Isaiah, “To the eunuchs...I will give them an everlasting name that will not be taken away.” (56:4-8)In Jesus' day there were three types of persons called eunuchs: celibates, those who were slaves and were castrated so that children would not be born to them, and those who were “born eunuchs,” or homosexuals. Royal and wealthy households used castrated slaves to work with and guard the concubines and female slaves. However, when assigning slaves to female members of the royal family, they would choose homosexual slaves. With female members, the concern was not just unwanted pregnancies but also rape.It is against this background that we must read the story found in Acts 8:26-40. In this passage, the Holy Spirit sends Philip the Deacon to witness to and baptise an Ethiopian eunuch of Queen Candace of Ethiopia. One of the earliest converts to Christianity was a person excluded for sexual reasons from the Old Testament community.

Rowland Jide Macaulay
10/04/2006, 01:55

Paul's ReferencesPaul's statement in Romans 1:18-32 has been taken as the strongest New Testament rejection of homosexuality. He is concerned about the influence of the pagan culture on the Roman Christians. After giving a detailed description of a world that “exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator,” he continues, “Therefore, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lusts for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men and received in themselves the due penalty of their perversion.”A complete reading of these passages, in their original context, clearly shows that what Paul was actually referring to was homosexual temple prostitution, which was performed by various cults (though far more cults used heterosexual prostitution). Again, Paul is not referring to same-sex love and he clearly has no concept of persons for whom this lifestyle is “natural.”Paul's other reference to homosexual acts in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 is similar to 1 Timothy 1:8-11. These two passages contain lists of persons to be excluded from the Realm of God. The interpretation of these passages depends on two Greek words that have always presented a problem for translators. In the King James Version, they are translated “effeminate” and “abusers of themselves with mankind.” In the Revised Standard Version, they were combined and rendered as “homosexuals,” however, these are not the Greek words for homosexual, so this translation reflects the scholars' bias. The New International Version illustrates the difference in these two words by translating them “male prostitute” and “homosexual offenders.” The Jerusalem Bible uses the terms “catamites and “sodomites.” Catamites were youth kept especially for sexual purpose, who were usually paid large sums of money. Neither passage refers to persons of same-sex orientation but to people who used their sexuality for personal gain.The Love of ChristJesus did a great deal to change many social customs and ideas. He elevated the position of women, and, ultimately, they were his best and most faithful disciples. He did this by example and by commandments that were absolutely inclusive of the rights of all people. Yet, in the name of the Christ whose love encompassed all, the Church has been the most homophobic of all institutions. This should not be surprising when we realise that the Church is still the largest institution, which is primarily racially segregated.The final, and central, message of the New Testament is that ALL persons are loved by God so much that God's Son was sent as a means of redemption from a disease by which we are all afflicted. The cure for this disease cannot be found in any set of actions. Neither homosexuality nor heterosexuality is redemptive. God's love through Christ was given to all people.The Theological ReflectionFor the Christian, sin must be understood as a disease that results FROM a broken relationship with God and that results IN a broken relationship with one another and with ourselves. Hence, Jesus' supreme command is to love God and to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. Christianity is not a religion with new rules and laws but rather is a new relationship with God. Those things that the legalists are fond of labelling “sins” are actually just symptoms of the much deeper disease of alienation and estrangement. Much of the energy of the Church has been spent dealing with symptoms while leaving the disease intact. Jesus did not seem overly concerned about the legal transgressions of those to whom he ministered. Rather, he was much more concerned with healing the physical, spiritual, emotional and relational brokenness of people. Perhaps if the Church would again give itself to the healing/reconciling ministry of Jesus, then some of the symptoms about which we are so concerned would begin to disappear.Jesus accepted people as they were and allowed love and acceptance to work its miracle. However, most lesbians and gays have been lesbian or gay for as long as they can remember. For them, it is as much a natural characteristic as their eye colour. Kinsey Institute research (University of Indiana, 1981) has suggested that homosexuality may well be genetic or, at least, linked to some prenatal factors. (Sexual Preference, Bell &Weinberg) Certainly most competent psychologists would concur that sexual orientation is set prior to the age of five in most persons. It is, therefore, not a matter of choice, so it cannot be a moral or ethical issue.Many Christians insist that God can change/cure the homosexual. In the book The Third Sex there are six reported cases of homosexuals whom God has “cured.” Of these six, at least four are known to have returned to their gay lifestyle. (Christianity Today, February 1981) Many lesbians and gays spend most of their lives trying, with no success, to persuade God to change them. It is like trying to get God to change your eye colour. What option, then, is left to these persons? They have been told that they can't be gay and Christian. Since all efforts have failed in their struggle not to be gay or lesbian, then their only recourse, according to the Church, is that they can't be Christian. So, the Church has discounted or discarded as much as 10% of the population.If they are excluded from the life of the Christian community, who, then, will tell them of God's inclusive love and of Jesus' reconciling death? Are they left to assume that God is so narrow-minded as to exclude them for something over which they have no control and for a choice they did not make? When will the Church finally be brave enough to say with Paul, “in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male or female,” gay or straight? God has enough love for all!My prayer today and always is that for many Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Trans people (otherwise outcast by religion) would find inclusion in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray to reclaim the bible for communities that has been denied full access and inclusion, especially an inclusive message of God’s pure love for all people.More love more powerRev Rowland Jide MacaulayMetropolitan Community Church

Holy Bible

The Homophobic Church By Toni Hines

The Homophobic Church
By Toni Hines

Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay, “Are black churches homophobic?” Yes. When Jide answered this question during our interview he looked at me dead in the eyes. He was calm, articulate and clear in what he had to say. There was no mincing of words as he was simply speaking from his personal experience. You see, Rowland ‘Jide’ Macaulay is a Black, Nigerian, Born-again Christian who openly admits to being gay. He is also an ordained reverend; a man of the cloth. He was once rooted in the Pentecostal church but left the flock disillusioned by the exclusive nature of its congregation. Now aged 40 and living in London , Jide is comfortable accepting who, he believes, he is - an African, gay Christian; a child of God.

The subject of homosexuality is rarely addressed in churches today, even more so the topic of gay/lesbian Christians. Most ministries refuse to accept that lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) individuals can be Born-again Christians. The belief is you cannot profess to walk with Christ if you make a conscious decision to walk in ‘sin’. From many church pulpits there is constant reference to Biblical scriptures like Sodom and Gomorrah which they say illustrates the consequence of this ‘chosen lifestyle’. These sentiments are also echoed in the lyrics of some well-known Gospel songs.

Whether you agree with this or not the fact remains that LGBT communities are often condemned to ‘fire and brimstone’ damnation and ostracism. They are seen as the ultimate of all sinners – ahead of the adulterers, idolaters and gossipmongers. There have even been extreme cases of this 'non-acceptance' with arson attacks on gay-welcoming churches – one such example in Hawaii a few years ago, as reported on

The irony of the matter is that the hatred towards LGBT Christians is more likely to come from the black church which was once oppressed by the white community pre-civil rights days. Yet despite this history, the perceived bigotry from the black congregation remains and Jide’s experience is testimony to that.

“When I was growing up, there were no role models and no education about being gay,” explains Jide. “The church was the last place to raise this issue for fear of victimisation, isolation and exorcism. It is commonly said in Africa that ‘It is better to have the corpse of my child, than for me to accept that my child is gay’. Most families believe it is an abuse of traditional values and a sign of western sexual corruption and immorality. Some people even believe it’s a disability or result of occult activity.

"My father is a pastor and bible school lecturer and I was more afraid of his reaction than I was of God, which is not right. I was always aware of my sexual orientation and that I was attracted to boys and as a child I prayed to God to remove this feeling from me. It was a confusing time and I had so many questions in my mind. 'Was it a sickness? If I got married would I be healed?'"

A colourful collection of poems by Rowland Jide
Although he grew up in a Christian household, Jide re-dedicated his life to Christ and eventually joined a London Pentecostal church. It was there that he met a woman and after years of dating got married and had a son. Jide’s commitment to God led him to do a Masters degree in theology and was later ordained as a reverend in 1998. He also produced a book called Poetry Inspired in 2001 and carried his poetic ministry across the waters. But despite having a ‘normal’ life he was battling with his sexual orientation and eventually engaged in sexual relations with a man.
“I knew I had to separate from my wife at this point which was a painful, painful experience,” says Jide. “I told her everything. But it really got bad when she told the family and when the church got to know. However the important issue was my child. My sexual orientation has nothing to do with being a good father.”

Jide explained that the ‘out of the closet’ experience was also a battle of religious beliefs and cultural identity. He still loved the Lord but didn’t know of any support systems and so he looked for help in the gay community.

A pocket devotional written by Jide last year
“I didn’t like myself and I wanted to be a whole person,” Jide explains. “However, I found a black gay and lesbian Christian fellowship in South London which I had visited before. They introduced me to the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) and I started to go there in 2002.”

Today, Jide is a part of the ministerial clergy of MCC North London. The church, which has many branches around the world – including parts of Africa – opens its doors to marginalised groups particularly the LGBT community.

“MCC is about Christians winning souls for Christ. It's an inclusive congregation where as many mainstream churches are exclusive. I think the Pentecostal church needs to be honest and realise there is a ministry for the LGBT community. There is also a need to look at the interpretation of the Bible, moral teachings and not to be judgemental.”

Jide’s ‘openness’ suggestion has also been echoed by religious leaders (including Rev Al Sharpton) who attended the Black Church summit in Atlanta, USA, in January. Its focus was on homophobia in the black church and the summit concluded that there is a need to have an open discussion on how to deal with the matter – especially as ‘in the closet’ lesbians and gays are already in church, not just in the choir, but in leadership positions and in the pulpit.

What does the future hold? God only knows. But Jide hopes things will change even though his siblings and father still refuse to accept who he is. “The future? Well, I want to be in full-time ministry, write books, plant churches in Nigeria and reach out to other LGBT Africans. I will also continue being a father to my son and even though I’m single I would love to get married one day!”