The Gay Christian Movement was founded in April 1976 at a public meeting at the Sir John Cass School in the City of London, and later changed its name to the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement. At that inaugural meeting, GCM agreed the Movement's Statement of Conviction, which set out our beliefs and has become the manifesto for all we've worked towards over the succeeding almost 40 years.
It is sometimes easy to forget how much has changed when the Movement was founded, less that 10 years after homosexuality was decriminalised in England – but 4 years before similar changes in Scotland.
The Movement's first General Secretary was the late Jim Cotter, and after a public appeal, Richard Kirker took over this post – a role he undertook with determination, tenacity and vision for almost 30 years.
The Movement was based initially in the tower of St Botolph's Church, Aldgate, where the City of London meets the East End. However in 1989, after a legal challenge by the Archdeacon of London, the Church Council was compelled to evict LGCM, and Oxford House, a settlement project in Bethnal Green, took us in and provided a home for the next 25 years. In 2015 the trustees took the decision to move out of London, and relocate LGCM to a new home in Nottinghamshire.
Over the past almost 40 years, we've built up a substantial archive of papers, news cuttings and photographs – telling the story of LGCM and our partners. As part of our ongoing Lottery-funded heritage project, this archive has been deposited at the Hall Carpenter collections at the London School of Economics, and the Bishopsgate Institute. Additionally, LGCM holds the Norman Pittenger library, a specialist collection of academic and popular books on sexuality and faith, which is going to be housed long-term at Winchester University. Both the archives and library are currently being catalogued and are expected to be accessible to the public in early 2016.
If you're interested in the story of LGCM, you might like to read 'The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement: The Campaign for Justice, Truth and Love', edited by Sean Gill and published in 1998 by Continuum (ISBN 030433779X). Although now out of print, copies are readily available second-hand and the book provides a valuable insight into the first 25 years of LGCM's work.
You can find out more about our heritage project here, and you can contact us if you'd like to find out more about getting involved.