Pastor Planning Gay-Friendly Church for Bermuda
Pastor Sylvia Hayward-Harris, who is straight, is in the Process of opening The Vision Church of Bermuda, "a radically inclusive Pentecostal church" which would be open to people of all sexual orientations.
Hayward-Harris tells the Bermuda Sun: "Often people who are authority at the church demand more of their flock than they do of themselves. I would like to have a place where people feel free to be themselves - to live in their truth, whatever that truth may be. It's very strange to me that in order to be a part of a traditional church you have to live a lie if you are gay or lesbian. That is not Christian to me. Excluding gay people has always been a problem on this island. I know one young man who won't come back because he was attacked by a gang of guys with helmets. To be fully Christian, we must fully welcome all of God's children to the table of the Lord - women, children, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, those with special needs, those of every race... all have full acceptance into the complete life of our fellowship...Our desire for Bermuda is to actualise God's power to transform our often divisive and unhealthy cultures of hate, self-hate and violence into a community of healing and reconciliation."
Pastor O. C. Allen III, who runs The Vision Church of Atlanta, where Hayward-Harris has lived since 2006, gave her permission to start the Bermudian branch. Hayward-Harris says the opening of the church has been a slow process because a proper venue has been difficult to find on the island.