About

Affirm is a UK network of Baptist Christians working together for LGBT+ inclusion, founded in 2000. Our work is carried out by our Trustee team, who you can read more about below.

 

Our purpose is threefold:

  • Social Justice:
    We believe the inclusion and affirmation of all sexualities and gender identities is an issue of social justice, and champion it accordingly. It is our aim to promote the safeguarding of LGBTQ+ people in the life of Baptist communities, as well as seeking the inclusion of human sexuality and gender identity in the Baptist Union Social Justice streams. The foundation of this is our commitment to the pastoral support of LGBTQ+ people.
     

  • Baptists Together:
    It is our hope that we will continue to grow our relationship with those in leadership at Baptist House, encouraging them to pursue the affirmation of all LGBTQ+ people in the life of our faith. In partnership with this, we seek to work alongside local associations, in delivering training, offering insight, and engaging in intentional dialogue. We value the life of the wider Baptist family and seek to proactively work within this.
     

  • Resourcing local Churches:
    Local churches are the lifeblood of our Baptist identity, and we appreciate the complexities of local ministry, and fellowshipping with one another. Through our work we provide resources (including service liturgy and group study materials), access to events and training, and one-to-one expertise to truly enable inclusion and affirmation at a local level.

For a full history of Affirm please click here

“After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.”

Revelation 7:9

Dawn
Cole-Savidge

Co-Director

Dawn has degrees in Art and in Theology. She is a an artist, a story teller and a community engager. Dawn identifies as pansexual and is married to her husband Simon. Currently residing in London and works at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church where she presided over the the first solemnised SSM in a UK Baptist Church. Dawn Co-Founded the Soho Gathering and sits on the Christians at Pride commitee. Her core belief is that God is Love and that where love is there also is God.

Andy
Fitchet

Co-Director

Andy has been a Baptist Minister for 8 years, previously a local councillor for nearly 10 years, and Chaired his local Labour party for 5 years. Andy currently serves as an Authorised Minister in the Methodist church as finding a church in the Baptist Union whilst being an openly gay man turned out to be impossible. He remains a Baptist at heart, and wants to do what he can to make the Baptist Union of Great Britain a safe place for LGBTQI+ people to be, and a place where people’s sexuality is no longer a bar for them from getting ordained or being called to local pastorate.

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Luke
Dowding

Chair of Trustees

Luke has a degree in Theology from Spurgeon’s College and an MA in Biblical Studies from King’s College, London. A Deacon at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, Stonewall School and Faith Role Model, co-Founder of Soho Gathering, and Executive Director of OneBodyOneFaith. Luke is also a Patron of the LGBTQ+ shelter “Streha” in Albania, believing that at the core of Christian identity is the inclusion of the marginalised regardless of their beliefs or orientation. He is married to Steven, their wedding being the first same-sex marriage in the Baptist Union of Great Britain.

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Esther Ruddle
Trustee

Esther is a student studying Music in London. Esther is openly gay and a Christian who grew up in the Baptist Church, and so her passion is helping LGBTQ+ Christians feel loved and accepted in church. Esther is a creative at heart, and is always looking for new ways to express this.

Martin Stears-Handscomb
Trustee

Martin was one of the small group of individuals who began the journey of Affirm and continues as a trustee today. A retired teacher, he has been active in Baptist life for many years, as well as periods serving on his local council - most recently as Leader.

Martin is married to Ian, a retired Baptist minister, and together they have spoken at many Baptist events, gatherings, and churches about their relationship and the importance of inclusion in the Baptist community.

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