Liberty & SSA Women
Hi. I’m Kristine. I work with Liberty. I’m a Christian. I’m a woman. I’m same-sex attracted (but I often abbreviate that to SSA… because it’s shorter to write and say).
If you’re a woman who also experiences SSA, I’d love for you to think about getting in touch with me. I think it could be good for all of us. Before I explain why, I want to acknowledge that women in the church who experience same-sex attraction come from a variety of experiences.
Some of you have known for a long time that you’re SSA, some are new to it, and some aren’t sure. You might self-identify as SSA, gay, bisexual, questioning, really confused, or something else. You’re in different places in your relationship with God. Some of you are married to a man, are divorced, separated or widowed; are dating a man, are dating a woman, have dated a woman. For some of you, no one knows you’re SSA, some people know, telling others was a good experience or an ugly experience. I could continue with possible elements to your story, but what I’m trying to communicate is that your experiences are varied, and I won’t assume your story.
So why do I want you to get in touch? Here are some answers to that, as well as other possible questions, concerns, or anxieties you might have about getting in touch.
Why this focus on women?
Here at Liberty we’ve noticed that men are more likely to get in touch with us for support than women. We have some theories about why. The main one is that we’ve never had a female ministry worker before, and women are more reluctant to speak with a man about sexuality. Why? Let’s go with the most obvious reason – being a woman is different to being a man. So, we want to let you know that we now have a woman for women to speak to.
I’m in a good place with my experience of same-sex attraction so don’t need or want pastoral support
That’s great. I would still love to hear from you. I would love to hear any part of your story you’re willing to share. I think it’s nice to know there’s someone else nearby who has a related experience. It reduces isolation and encourages us to keep going. And I’m always keen to learn from other women and their journeys.
I’m struggling with my experience of same-sex attraction but getting in touch seems too hard
Sometimes it is a struggle, because it’s new, or because it’s been a long time and it’s exhausting. The weight can be heavy and reaching out is hard. My experience of that weight is that when I was finally able to speak with some safe people, it reduced. It was scary, but a turning point. I’m not here to judge, but to listen and support. If all you’re able to say is, “I’m SSA, struggling, but not ready to talk”, that’s an okay step.
What kinds of support do you offer?
One-off: Sometimes, someone just has a particular question they want answered, or some resources they can access, and that’s fine. You also might want to just say Hi and share your story; please do.
Ongoing one-to-one: One of the things I love about the church is the concept of discipleship; walking with others to grow in our understanding and commitment to God and his best for us. At Liberty I meet with women to wrestle with and grow in the particular area of sexuality as it relates to faith. Depending on your situation, we might meet weekly, fortnightly, or monthly. We could do it over the phone, on zoom, or face-to-face.
Support Group: At the moment, I have a few SSA women interested in meeting together for mutual encouragement and support. If you’re interested as well, let me know so we can get something up and running. In the group we would generally check-in with one another, and discuss various topics related to sexuality and faith. We could meet on zoom, face-to-face, or a combination of the two.
I’m a same-sex attracted woman in ministry
Great, so am I. I’m not assuming though, that the team or people you work with know about your SSA experience. And you might have some concerns about what would happen if they found out. Getting in touch with me doesn’t mean you have to ‘come out’ to the people you work with.
I’m also interested in a group for SSA women in ministry chatting every now and then for mutual support and encouragement. If that interests you too, get in touch.
How does us talking benefit others?
The more women I hear from, the more my knowledge and networks grow. This means I’m better equipped to work with women and with churches in this area of women’s sexuality. It also means I can put people in touch with one another (with consent) in places I cannot reach or with expertise and experience beyond mine.
Why you and not my church?
It’s great when your church is equipped to provide the support and encouragement you need with the particular challenges of SSA. This is what Liberty hopes to see, and that’s why we equip, train and educate churches and other Christian organisations in being places that welcome and support their SSA brothers and sisters in Christ.
Sometimes, however, you or your church is not ready for that, so we provide the support. Part of that might include going with you to talk to your pastor, helping you work out some safe Christians you can share with, or providing some training for your church.
Do you only work with women who experience same-sex attraction?
No. I also chat with friends or family of women who experience SSA, and women married to men who experience SSA. This too can be in the form of a one-off chat, something ongoing, or in a support group.
I can also chat with you if you’re a woman with questions or challenges about your gender.
I don’t live in Sydney
There isn’t a long list of women working in this area, so if you’re in a different part of NSW or Australia I’d still love to hear from you. If I’m aware of a similar ministry in your area I can let you know. If you’re in a different country I might be able to recommend a similar ministry.
How can I get in touch with you?
- Email me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fill in the ‘Contact Us’ form on our website. Your message will then be forwarded to my email address.
- Phone the Liberty office number: 02 9818 8111. It will go to a message bank and I will get the recorded message emailed to me.
What should I say when I get in touch?
As much or as little as you want. Regardless, I will reply. I haven’t shared my story here, but if you want to hear some of it before you share any of yours, I can chat with you about that.
If it helps, go with this formula: “Hi, I’m (name) , and I’d like to chat about _____ /I have a question about ____. The best way to contact me is by email/phone.”
What will happen when I get in touch?
If you provide me with a phone number I’ll call you, otherwise I’ll send you an email. Then we’ll just chat and see if it’s a one-off conversation, or something to chat about again. If you’re not entirely clear on why you’re getting in touch, we can work with that too.
One chat is not a commitment to anything ongoing. Anything you share with me will remain confidential.
I’m not same-sex attracted/a woman… I was just curious
Hi. I hope reading this has given you some insight into some of the questions and vulnerabilities women might have about reaching out. I would love it if you passed this on to the SSA woman you know. Please also keep Liberty in mind when you or your church is thinking about sexuality.
If you’re a man who experiences SSA, our male pastoral worker Sam would love to hear from you. You can contact him here.
Do you offer counselling? What is your view on sexual orientation change?
Pastoral ministry involves teaching God’s word and caring for God’s people so that Christians are encouraged and equipped to grow in godly maturity in Christ. Liberty is a pastoral ministry, not a counselling ministry. Our goal is not orientation change, but to teach, encourage and support Christians who experience same-sex attraction (and the people around them), so that they might grow in godliness as they face their particular challenges. As they grow to maturity in Christ, some people experience some change in their same-sex sexual orientation, while others experience no change. Some people stay single, and some enter into a mixed-orientation marriage. We support and care for each person in whatever circumstances God gives.
In contrast, counselling is a “collaboration between qualified counsellors and clients to promote mental health and wellbeing, enhance self-understanding, and resolve identified concerns” (Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia). Liberty does not offer or do counselling.