African American pastors unite to support gay movement in Africa
By Lisa French
The fellowship of Affirming Ministries, TFAM, through its international outreach ministry, The Fellowship Global, TFG, and under the leadership of TFAM’s presiding Bishop, Rev. Dr. Yvette Flunder, has launced a month-long tour of a number of African nations to lend their support to gay and lesbian communities that continue to experience discrimination and persecution.
In the course of the entire month of April, the organization’s executive director, Bishop-Elect and Pastor Joseph Tolton, will be on the ground in Uganda, Rwanda, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya working to lend the organization’s support to these communities by advocating “for inclusion, economic justice and the reconciliation of all people of African descent globally.” In a press release on Wednesday, Pastor Joseph Tolton said: “As black gay Christians who identify with Pentecostal worship and as people of social justice, we are countering the work of conservative, mostly white American evangelicals who are doubling down on their attempt of spiritual colonization of Africa.”
The mission of the tour, the press release states, is to bring global attention to these human rights issues in Africa; support affirming African organizations and local movements; and promote governmental policies and the policies of organized religious structures that support LGBTI dignity, inclusion, and justice. Worship events and economic development opportunities will be on the agenda.
In addition to promoting TFG’s message of “equality and justice,” the organization plans to establish new chapters of the United Coalition of Affirming Africans ( “UCAA” ) in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cote d’Ivoire, after such entities were established in Kenya in October 2013 and in Rwanda in May 2014. TFG will also produce at least eight spiritual/worship events to advance the message of equality before God. A variety of certified theological workshops and revival worship services will be held, as well as establishing economic development projects based on gay/straight alliances.
On its website, www.thefellowshipglobal.org, the Fellowship Global says it is “positioned to be a catalyst for a pan-African faith movement, connecting the radically inclusive Christian movement led by African Americans and our allies to communities in Africa and throughout the diaspora. We provide pastoral care for LGBTI people and support pioneering efforts to establish an open an affirming African Christian movement.” It adds: “As heirs of the civil rights movement, African spirituality, Christian traditions, and prophetic witness we have a vision for a radically inclusive revival to usher in a new era of social justice.”