the Baptist network affirming lesbian and gay Christians
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Committee members


Joint Co-ordinator
Martin Stears-Handscomb

Martin Stears-Handscomb is a lifelong Baptist and member of Tilehouse Street Baptist Church, Hitchin. In 2007 he entered a civil partnership with Ian, a retired Baptist minister. A retired teacher, he currently manages an accountancy office. In his spare time, as well as contributing to Affirming Baptists, he led the group which founded the successful Black Squirrel Credit Union, of which he continues to be President, now more than ten years old with over 1,200 members.

Martin Stears-Handscomb
Joint Co-ordinator
Avril Mackenzie-Parr

Avril Mackenzie-Parr is a lifelong Baptist and serves on the Leadership Team of One Church Brighton, a new Baptist church that was formed in 2011 by the coming together of two baptist churches in Brighton in order to realise a new vision for the city of Brighton and Hove. She is head of politics at a local sixth-form college, and is in a civil partnership with Nerina, her partner since 2007.

Avril MacKenzie-Parr
Membership & Pastoral Support
Ian Stears-Handscomb


Ian Stears-Handscomb
Pastoral Advisor
Jeremy Marks

In 1988, Jeremy Marks founded Courage UK, which became one of the leading Christian ministries in the UK for lesbian & gay people. Twelve years later, he startled the evangelical world by publicly embracing a fundamentally gay-affirming approach, after recognising the despair that had resulted for many sincere Christian folk who tried the ‘ex-gay’ approach. Although Courage officially finished in 2012, Jeremy continues working post-Courage, providing pastoral care, spiritual direction, speaking engagements, and writing. Courage’s activities (group meetings etc) are now being continued by a new ministry, the Two:23 Network.

Jeremy Marks