A SHELTER FROM THE STORM - A DOCUMENTARY
COMMISSIONED FOR THE GUARDIAN AUDIO (THE STORY PODCAST) AND THE UPSIDE
Constructed as an ‘audio portrait’ – this piece takes the listener into what first appears to be an ordinary dilapidated church somewhere in London. The chairs creak and the congregation clap along accompanied by a tambourine and guitar whist they enthusiastically sing generic hymns. The first listener reaction could be an eye roll and a little discomfort at the ‘Kumbaya’ nature of it all. Then the sermon starts and we hear a female Reverend Jak Davis, and quickly understand we are not in the realm of the usual church experience as she talks about persecution and rejection by other churches and communities and how this church welcomes everyone, whatever there sexual orientation or gender preference..
This piece is primarily about rejection and acceptance, but also subtly touches on our own bias and preconceived ideas about the church and Christian worship in the UK.
As Western society becomes increasingly tolerant of sexual orientation and non-binary gender definitions, it is easy to forget that faith, and in this case Christianity, is still a deeply troubling experience for many members of the LGBT community. “How can we believe and worship a God who we are consistently told rejects and is even disgusted by us?”
When faith, the church and the rituals associated with them are an integral part of family, community, spiritual and cultural life, all this is a lot to give up and walk away from in exchange for being ‘out’. The simple act of just sitting in church, holding hands with your same-sex partner is the ultimate liberation, freedom and feeling of acceptance.
Producer: Lucia Scazzocchio
Executive producer: Max Sanderson