London – British star of the American Christian rock scene, Vicky Beeching came out as gay Aug. 13 in an interview with the U.K. newspaper, the Independent. She is a popular writer and singer of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) worship songs and has been performing for 12 years but has been writing them for much longer.
“What Jesus taught was a radical message of welcome and inclusion and love,” said the 35-year-old Anglican, who recently left the (CCM) world to become a TV news commentator, but still makes a living from royalties when American churches sing her worship songs. “I feel certain God loves me just the way I am, and I have a huge sense of calling to communicate that to young people.”
Beeching is one of the most prominent CCM singers to come out since Jennifer Knapp’s much-discussed revelation in 2010, Christianity Today reports.
“I’m gay,” she said. She has never said this publicly before – a handful of people in her private life know. She has only just told one her closest friends, Katherine, and Katherine’s father, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Beeching moved to the United States in her early 20s. Now in her mid 30s Beeching is still a religious performer but her career may take a slight change. She sings popular worship songs such as “Glory to God Forever,” and many that she has written herself.
She describes experiencing same-sex attraction starting around the age of 13 and felt extremely conflicted in evangelical settings, where church leaders would pray against the “demon of homosexuality” that they believed to be within her. Beeching came out to her family earlier this year and to the Archbishop of Canterbury and his family.
Beeching studied theology at Oxford spent much of her 20s in the Christian music scene in the United States, living in Nashville and San Diego. Over the past decade, Beeching has recorded three albums, performed with America’s best-known Christian artists like Matthey West and Joy Williams, and had her songs appear on popular compilations such as WOW Worship and Here I Am to Worship.
Beeching “still considers herself an evangelical,” writes veteran British religion reporter Ruth Gledhill, “although she no longer attends charismatic evangelical services and now prefers the more traditional services of London’s main cathedrals.”
“I am not angry with the Church, even though it has been very difficult,” she told Gledhill. “The Church is still my family. Family do[es] not always agree or see eye to eye. But family stick[s] together, and I am committed to being part of the Church, working for change.”
She lives in London now where she discusses church news on the BBC and other outlets. The Church of England does not currently recognize same-sex unions but that isn’t stopping Beeching she has vocalized her support for equal marriage and LGBT rights.
“The Church’s teaching was the reason that I lived in so much shame and isolation and pain for all those years. But rather than abandon it and say it’s broken, I want to be part of the change,” she told The Independent.
For the time being Beeching relies on royalties from her worship music to make a living, and confesses that speaking out about LGBT rights has cost her a lot.
“As a result of raising my voice to support equal marriage, I’ve received lots of messages from conservative American churches saying they will ‘boycott my songs.’ If they don’t get sung in the mega-churches of North America, my royalties basically stop.”
In recent years, a handful of Christian artists have come out as gay, including Ray Boltz, gospel singer Tonex, and most famously, Jennifer Knapp, who described her hiatus from Christian music and her decision to come out in an interview with Christianity Today. Knapp is releasing a book about her story, focusing on her faith and sexuality, in the fall.