Worship leader and songwriter Vicky Beeching who came out as a lesbian in 2014 has been awarded by the head of the Anglican Communion for her contributions to worship music. Beeching feels honored that she has been presented with the Thomas Cranmer Award for Worship by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, last week.
Together with over 35 people from around the world, Beeching received awards for outstanding service to the church in a ceremony at Lambeth Palace in London on Friday. The awards recognize outstanding service in different fields, including prayer and the religious life, reconciliation, and evangelism and witness.
"Still amazed this happened last Friday. Never thought, after coming out as gay, that I would receive an award like this. Means so much," she tweeted on Monday, and shared a link of the official document praising her for her contributions to contemporary worship music.
She also shared several pictures of her mother and father at Lambeth Palace, where the awards ceremony took place. "Having my Mum and Dad at the Awards meant so much to me. Here's a photo of them & @JustinWelby after the ceremony. A day I'll never forget."
The Church of England's decision to honor Beeching in such a way drew criticism from some Christians online, who suggested that Beeching is not a Christian for her LGBT activism.
"Dear trolls, I dearly hope that my life shows plenty of evidence of being a Christian.. I certainly try my best anyway. #LoveWins," she wrote in one reply late last week.
"Sorry trolls, but today has been really special & you won't spoil it for me," Beeching wrote in another tweet.
Beeching moved to central London in December 2012. As of February 2013, she was pursuing a PhD in the Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University, with religion, technology, "online connectivity," and ethics as her topics of focus. In June 2014, Beeching announced that she had changed her PhD focus topic to Christianity and sexuality. Shortly after she announced her sexual orientation, an interviewer wrote that her new PhD focus is specifically Christianity and same-sex marriage, and he also highlighted that she continues to identify as an Evangelical Christian.