pastor gives a service at one of the only churches in the Philippines catering for LGBT people – amidst a growing demand for equal rights in the country.
Rev Ceejay Agbayni, 44, opened the place of worship in 2012 in Quezon City – claiming to be the only church in the country that accepts homosexuals.
Rej Ceejay, who has been living with his male partner for 12 years, says that other places allow gays but then try to change them with endless verses of damn nation.
His continued defiance of church norms comes as the LGBT community in the opver-whelmingly Catholic Philippines makes growing demands for same-sex marriage rights, with thousands regularly taking part in protest marches.
Rev Ceejay said: ”We are an affirming church in a sense that they won’t change you if your gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender which is the problem with traditional church.
”The traditional church would welcome you but once your inside you have to conform with the norm. If you’re gay you have to dress as a man and trim your hair. They would even tell you there are no GAYS in heaven and you are condemned in the bible.
”Those LGBT who feel condemned won’t go to church, or worst they will not believe in God anymore or switch to other non-abrahamic religion like Buddhism or Hinduism.”
Rev Ceejay studied Theology at the Union of Theological Seminary in 2002 upon invitation and attained his master in Divinity on 2008 and was also ordained by Reverent Elder Ken Martin of Metropolitan Community Church.
They became independent on 2012 and they registered their church as LGBTS Christian Church. Initially, it was supposed to be an LGBT Christian Church but his partner suggested to put an S for straight to make their church more inclusive.
Rev Ceejay added: ”I don’t want to be messianic to answer the world problems compared to other churches. ”My only concern is what is relevant to the LGBT community. All Christian denominations are good and they can cherry pick what is applicable to their faith.”
The clergyman admits he was an openly gay when he entered the seminary and has faced discrimination with his fellow seminarians.
He added: ”Being gay is not my problem when I entered the seminary. If anyone has issues with me being gay, that’s their problem, not mine. ”I want to be true to myself so I won’t be aloof when I move around. They’ll just bully me. I’m openly gay and they still bully me. ”
London will this weekend see a Pride march in which members of the LGBT community converge on the West End in colourful scenes.