Jim Cotter was a founder member of the Gay (later the Lesbian and Gay) Christian Movement in the UK in April, 1976. He served as Honorary Secretary for the first two years and was the co-ordinator of counselling service for three years after that. Together with Douglas Rhymes, Giles Hibbert and Malcolm Macourt, Cotter drafted the Statement of Conviction which has served for nearly 40 years as the theological rallying point for gay and lesbian Christians and our friends. The assertion that "it is entirely compatible with the Christian faith not only to love another person of the same sex, but also to express that love fully in a personal sexual relationship" still binds LGCM’s members together in an inspiring, clear and focussed challenge to received orthodoxies and the status quo. Cotter gave the Michael Harding Memorial Address, "Another Country," at the Annual General Meeting in 1984. He was a contributor to a monthly column for Gay News, under the general heading of "Our God Too." Some of the articles plus other pieces appeared in Good Fruits, a book published in 1981 and now out of print. However, the gist of this book, plus much more, is contained in its successor, Quiverful, published by Cairns Publications in 1999.
Cotter was born in 1942 at Stockport and went to the local Grammar School then on to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. After a year in Nigeria doing Voluntary Service Overseas he trained for the Anglican ministry at Lincoln Theological College and was ordained in 1967, working in the Diocese of Manchester. A gifted teacher, Jim was a Lecturer at Lincoln (1970-73), and then while the Associate Vicar of All Saints, Leavesden (1977–83) he was Assistant Principal of the St. Albans Diocesan Ministerial Training Scheme.
During the 1980s Cotter founded Cairns, a publishing house which over the years produced nearly 30 of his books of prayers and songs together with over 15 from other writers. This meant a large network of people grew up whose spiritual lives were greatly enhanced by his work.
In 2001, after being reprimanded by the Archbishop of Wales for openly supporting the civil partnership of two women Cotter wrote The Service of My Love which is a useful liturgical and pastoral handbook for these occasions. Much earlier in 1978 he had edited Exploring Lifestyles: An Introduction to Services of Blessing for Gay Couples – presaging a long period of debate which continues to this day.
In 2008, Jim took up what was to be his last post as a vicar, at St. Hywyns Church in Aberdaron, near the tip of the Llyn peninsula in Wales. Perched on the edge of the Irish Sea, the church braves all that the elements can throw at it. Jim made a host of new friends who surrounded him with love and practical support until he died on 16 April, 2014, at his home in Llandudno.
(This biographical statement provided by Jim Cotter with additional information from an obituary by Malcolm Johnson: http://www.lgcm.org.uk/2014/04/obituary-for-jim-cotter/)
Biography Date: February, 2004
Church of England | Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (United Kingdom) | Author/editor | Clergy Activist | Marriage Equality | United Kingdom