Pastor Rob Buckingham of Bayside Church, a large Pentecostal megachurch in Melbourne, Australia, recently revealed a new “inclusion statement” the church now adheres to that accepts homosexuals into the congregation. The statement reads:
At Bayside Church, we believe that every person is created in God’s image. All are equally worthy of respect, dignity, and love, regardless of gender, sexuality, age, ability, race, or ethnicity.
Everyone is invited, welcomed, and supported to grow in their relationship with God and each other. Everyone is encouraged to use their gifts and abilities to serve God and others.
At Bayside Church, we are committed to creating a safe space for all – we do this through clear policies and pathways so that everyone can feel safe and nurtured.
At Bayside Church, we courageously love and empower people to become like Jesus.
Who is Rob Buckingham? According to Andrew Strom, Buckingham and Bayside Church have not been considered a “liberal” or “progressive” congregation but Buckingham authored a blog post titled Is God Anti-Gay? questioning the Christian approach to homosexuality.
Rob Buckingham is a friend of Brian Houston, founder, and CEO of Hillsong, Australia, who, according to reports, was committed to discussions with Buckingham over issues of sexual orientation.
Apparently, Bayside Church has been gay-affirming for a long time. According to another report, in an interview, Buckingham said that this statement was nothing more than the culmination of the direction of the church over the last decade. He also said the church network they are affiliated with does not allow gay weddings.