Pastoral care of gays and lesbians

By on May 1, 2000

THE AUTHOR writes this book as if he were sitting at a table with each reader, providing pastoral care. He wants every reader to find themselves and their views respected.

The first three chapters deal with research into the origins of homosexuality and the references to homosexuality in scripture. There are no surprises here for those already familiar with such topics. However, the author gives attention to the need for pastoral strategies within whatever opinion the counsellor holds. He refers to scripture that supports a loving relationship even with those who have been regarded as outcasts.

[pullquote] The book really shines in the chapters providing guidance in pastoral care. There is great clarity about what distinguishes pastoral care from psychotherapy and the need to respect both disciplines. Anyone, lay or clergy, involved in pastoral care with anyone, will find this book very helpful. I was hungering for him to share more examples from his own experiences.

There is a final chapter by another author. It was all right as an example of a community opening itself up to gay and lesbian persons, but I am not certain how well it fit. I would have appreciated more from David Switzer, whom I found to be gentle, wise and compassionate.

Early on Switzer worries some readers will give up because of discussions about the origins of homosexuality and the use of scripture. Don’t give up! There is invaluable advice for everyone interested in pastoral care. Canon Helena-Rose Houldcroft is a parish priest in Regina who chaired the General Synod task group on sexuality.

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