Vicky Beeching: After coming out, I never imagined I'd be considered for an award like this
The writer, broadcaster and LGBT campaigner opens up to DIVA about winning the Thomas Cranmer Award for Worship.
We’re absolutely thrilled and proud as punch that our very own DIVA columnist Vicky Beeching has been recognised for her outstanding contribution to worship music and the Christian faith. Yesterday, the writer, broadcaster and LGBT campaigner was awarded the prestigious Thomas Cranmer Award for Worship at a gorgeous ceremony in Lambeth Palace.
Since coming out as gay in 2014, Vicky has used her voice to promote LGBT equality and speak out about the need for greater acceptance of the LGBT community within the church. When we heard the wonderful news that all her hard work had been acknowledged in such a brilliant way, we just had to congratulate her and have a quick chinwag.
DIVA: How did you feel when you found out about the award?
VICKY BEECHING: Honestly, I was really surprised when I got the letter telling me about it. After coming out as gay, I imagined I'd never be considered for an award like this - I felt like it would be too controversial for Lambeth Palace to give it to someone like me; who actively campaigns for same-sex marriage and a change to church teachings. I was especially surprised that they mentioned my gay orientation on the certificate signed by the Archbishop, as I wondered if that aspect of my identity would be swept under the carpet. But it wasn't. So I felt like that was a positive step - and something quite bold for the Church to have done.
What do your friends and family think about it?
It has meant a great deal to my family - we had a really memorable day together in the beautiful surroundings of the Palace. My parents have had to watch me go through a lot of trolling and online abuse lately, so they were delighted to see something so positive happen for me; they kept saying how great it was to see me smiling.
The awards were a silver medal on a blue ribbon, and the Archbishop called each of us forward by name then hung the medal around our neck. That was an emotional moment for me - and for my parents. It felt like a visual symbol that I am still a valued member of the church; so it felt like a very healing moment indeed.
Vicky's Mother and Father with the Archbishop of Canterbury
What do you think it means for Christianity and LGBT issues that you've been recognised in this way?
There is still a long way for the church to go in fully including LGBT people and affirming same-sex marriage, but this is one of many small, positive steps that give me hope. Years ago, I don't believe they could have given someone like me an award without vast backlash. So I feel there is a growing acceptance that different views are present within the church - and that LGBT people are not going away; we need to be taken seriously and listened to. Christianity is, at heart, a religion of love and grace, so we should be leading the way on LGBT equality; telling everyone that they are unique, valuable and irreplaceable; loved for exactly who they are.
Here's the award certificate from the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury, detailing exactly why Vicky was chosen.
If you’d like to read more about Vicky (and who wouldn’t, she’s awesome!) be sure to check out her latest DIVA column, in which she opens up about her personal journey from shame to pride. You can grab a copy of our Pride issue, available digitally and in print at divadigital.co.uk.
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