CHE Talks To Liverpool

From the Convenor of the Liverpool Group

On September 20th, the Liverpool Group of CHE held a “teach-in” on homosexuality at Liverpool Cathedral. Intended for professional workers, the meeting attracted some 3S people representing schools, youth clubs, the probation service, voluntary and local authority social services, Anglican and Roman Catholic clergy, Samaritans and magistrates.

The speakers were the convenors of the Liverpool and Wirral Groups of CHE and Michael Butler, Deputy Director of the Samaritans in London. They covered various aspects of homosexuality, including the myths and misconceptions surrounding the subject, the legal position of homosexuals and the need for CHE and Friend. Afterwards, a panel including the speakers, Antony Grey of the Albany Trust and Dennis Nadin of the London CHE Churches Working Party, answered questions and engaged in a discussion with the audience.

The discussion was well worthwhile, especially where it probed the ways in which the Group and the various agencies represented could co-operate to help homosexuals. These discussions will now be extended through a number of discussion groups being arranged at the request of many of those present. Many of the contacts which the group has made, particularly with the probation service and Samaritans, were cemented and new links forged. The help which the group is now getting from various sources is very gratifying.

The meeting was also interesting as it was the first occasion for which the group had solicited press coverage. A small announcement in the “Liverpool Echo” a couple of days before started complaints against the use of a place of worship for a meeting on such a disgusting subject. The protests were spearheaded by the Secretary General of the Christian Political Union, whatever that is; we’re still trying to find out – and hit the front page of the Liverpool “Daily Post” on the day of the teach-in and was given prominent coverage in one of the suburban weeklies. There were demands that the meeting be called off. The group is very grateful to the Dean of the Cathedral for allowing us the use of a room and to him and his staff for dealing with the complaints. Because of the protests, interviews with the convenors of the two Merseyside groups and the Christian Political Union were broadcast on Radio Merseyside the next day and a short report appeared in the “Liverpool Echo”. We thought the press coverage reasonably fair to us.

On the whole, a very fruitful evening. Expensive and time-consuming to arrange, but it paid off in all sorts of ways.