The House of Rainbow Church, on Monday, September 5, marked its 10-year anniversary in faraway London, away from the grasp of Nigeria’s anti-homosexuality law.
Below are 15 things you should know about Rowland Olajide Macaulay’s movement, which is described as“Nigeria’s first gay church”.
1. Although it was founded in Nigeria, there is no record of a physical church structure for House of Rainbow on Nigerian soil.
2. It was founded in September 2006 by Macaulay, Nigeria’s first openly gay pastor.
3. In Nigeria, Macaulay ran the church from his home in Jakande Estate, Isolo, Lagos and a “worship space” in Ojodu Berger, Lagos.
4. 32 people were in attendance at the first meeting which took place at Ikeja Capital City Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.
5. On December 31, 2006, House Of Rainbow hosted the largest number of LGBT people of faith gathering in Lagos for the New Year’s eve celebration. Over 200 people attended.
6. The Nigerian house of assembly invited Macaulay in 2007 to speak on the same sex prohibition bill but he never got the chance to address the chamber.
7. He fled the country after national newspaper publications emerged about his church in 2008. Following the release of the articles, Macaulay received numerous death threats.
8. Macaulay once considered committing suicide because of his homophobic family members.
9. Macaulay was married to a woman in 1991 and got a divorce in 1994.
10. The House of Rainbow church is located in London, UK.
11. There are currently 13 active groups with 17 volunteer local leaders, 11 cities and in 7 countries, Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi, Lesotho, Burundi, Zambia, and the United Kingdom.
12. House of Rainbow has two groups dedicated to LGBTIQ Muslims in Nigeria and Ghana respectively.
13. The religious organisation has performed over 10 same sex weddings or blessings in the past 10 years in Europe and Africa.
14. House Of Rainbow has printed and distributed over 10,000 copies of pocket Ddevotional for LGBT Christians.
15. House Of Rainbow now includes fellowships to LGBTIQ Christians and Muslims.