About Us

The Chicago Consultation, a group of Episcopal and Anglican lay people, clergy and bishops, supports the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians in the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion. Today our work is concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa, where we work with theologians, clergy and advocates to build networks and explore the intersection of scripture and sexuality.

Formed in 2007 in the wake of dramatic setbacks at the Episcopal Church’s 2006 General Convention, the Chicago Consultation has been instrumental in securing significant legislative victories at General Convention in 2009 and 2012. These include:

  • • a resolution affirming that all orders of ministry, including the episcopate, are open to LGBT people
  • • resolutions that eliminate canonical discrimination against transgender people
  • • resolutions that provide the Episcopal Church with a liturgy for blessing same sex unions and a path toward marriage equality.

In between General Conventions, our meetings, network, and theological publications have been instrumental in helping congregations and dioceses move toward full inclusion of LGBT people in the life and ministry of the Episcopal Church.

Relationships across the Anglican Communion have been central to the Chicago Consultation’s work since its inception. Representatives from Africa, Central and South America and England attended our first meeting in 2007. In particular, we have been concerned about the plight of LGBT people across sub-Saharan Africa, which continues to be shaped strongly and negatively by restrictive interpretations of the Bible rooted in colonial 19th century Christianity and funded by American conservatives who have been cultivating anti-gay allies in Africa since the mid-1990s.

In 2010, we began working with the Ujamaa Centre at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa and other leaders in sub-Saharan Africa to build a network of African and North American partners committed to conversations about religion and sexuality that are grounded in theology and the Bible. Together we have held two consultations: the first in Durban, South Africa in October 2011 and the second in Limuru, Kenya in July 2013. We are currently planning a consultation to be held in West Africa in 2015.

The success of these African gatherings, which are guided by leading African scholars and include key ecumenical partners, has transformed our organization by broadening the composition of its leadership and shifting its primary focus to cultivating cross-cultural conversations on issues of justice, sexuality, interlocking oppressions and the ways in which the Bible speaks to these issues.