Doncaster church is welcoming to all and say “love depends on the quality of a generous heart not the shape of the body”
The Unitarian church was the first in Doncaster to perform a legal same-sex church marriage - they want everyone to know that they welcome all.
Reverend Tom McCready of Doncaster’s Unitarian church performed the first fully legal same-sex church wedding in Doncaster in August 2019.
He is passionate that his church should be a welcoming place for all people no matter their sexual orientation.
“More and more churches must change their attitude and be more welcoming.
“It’s not about sex, it’s about companionship.
“When I conducted the first fully legal same-sex wedding here I pointed out that there was nothing unusual or strange about a wedding of two women.
“Love depends on the quality of a generous heart not the shape of the body.”
It took Tom some time to convince his congregation that they should perform same-sex marriages but when they voted on the matter the result was unanimously in favour.
“We now have three definite bookings and two enquiries for same-sex weddings.”
Tom says that the new liberal mindset is attracting more heterosexual couples to the church for weddings.
Holland Morell, aged 34, has been a member of the Unitarian church for ten years - they recently came out to the church as bisexual and nonbinary.
They said: “I grew up as part of a very different church.
“It was a church which was not welcoming at all to the LGBT community.
“They preached some very hateful things from the pulpit.
“When I was about 15 I left that church because of that.
“That was a very emotional thing for me - I stayed away from faith altogether because I felt that I lost that church and god.”
For around 10 years Holland considered themselves to be a humanist before they found out that there are churches who are welcoming to the LGBT community.
They said: “For a long time, I was hesitant to tell the church that I’m bisexual.
“I knew that the unitarian movement as a whole was welcoming towards the LGBT community but I wasn’t sure about this particular church.
“I didn’t know for sure what people’s attitudes would be.
“And because I’m married to a man, it's not something that anybody guessed.
“It was only more recently that I realised that it was important to step up and to come out to the church.
“It was a very emotional thing for me because of my background being involved in a homophobic church.
“I was really worried I wouldn’t be welcome anymore but the church has been really good about it.”
It wasn’t long after Holland’s coming out that the church decided to vote on same-sex marriages.
“It was great not to have to hide anymore” they continued.
“I don’t think that sexuality and faith are incompatible but a lot of people out there do think that.
“It’s really important to be able to embrace all aspects of who you are and not have to hide.
“I’d like everyone to know that it is possible to be openly part of the LGBT community and also to have faith.”
Brigitta McCready, aged 63, was an instrumental part of the Unitarian church changing its mindset towards the LGBT community.
She said: “Rainbows are the symbol of diversity - I think every church should strive to be as diverse and welcoming to everybody as possible.
“Faith should not be restricting, faith should be supportive.”
Like her husband Tom, she has worked with the church congregation to change minds about the LGBT community.
“Having same-sex marriages is just one little building brick for a fairer more equal society,” she continued.
The church is also running rainbow cafe meetings to give the LGBT Doncaster community a safe space to meet.
They run in the church bookshop next door to the church on Hallgate in Doncaster town centre every first Saturday of the month.