The concept is simple: interested parties attend a worship service in London, where a guest speaker enlightens us about a topical issue and then we 'network' and make new friends.
It's a powerful place to be, many people have been stung by the thorny experience of church rejection and many are passionate about seeing real change in the way gay people in the church are treated. To hear the worship come from the lips of those so often told they do not 'qualify' to worship is a truly beautiful experience. As it is also, to hear speakers talk about topics such as family without the implicit heterosexism which is usually endorsed by the church.
It is a healing experience. To be part of the network, for me, is to feel that my life as a gay Christian has a license, that I am not simply tolerated by the church but that I am a warranted member of it. The freedom to be 'me' which has been robbed through past treatment by the church is being re-established and not only that, but re-ignited in its most passionate form.
Two:23 has been growing with each meeting, and the second meeting had parents of LGBT people sharing their experiences, showing how widespread the passion for equality is, and showing that the inclusion that can be found extends beyond those of us directly affected.
My favourite aspect of two:23 is how 'normal' it really is. It's no gay parade of rainbows and glitter, it's not some freakshow as some of us have been made to feel in our own churches, it's people like you and me, who just happen to be facing the same uphill struggle. It's fun and lighthearted, but with plenty of opportunity to speak freely, lose those chains others have placed on us, and seek true fellowship with no elephants in the room.
I hope to see you at the next one!