|Stephane Tchakam, Charge de Communication Pan Africa ILGA|
The leader of Nigeria's only gay church plans to bring services back, three years after gay witch hunts forced the House of Rainbow to shut its doors.
Rev. Rowland Jide Macaulay, who founded the church in 2006, is orchestrating its reopening, though he lives in London through a self-imposed exile, according to The Guardian.
After two years of operating the church, Macaulay said public backlash, and brutal attacks outside of the hotel in Lagos where service was held, led to the House of Rainbow's demise.
Macaulay is rebuilding his faith community by recruiting small teams in local areas across Nigeria, and Ghana to lead prayer meetings, and Bible study groups. Eventually, they hope the small meetings can lead to forming a full church. Rowland is also considering applications for prayer leaders in Rwanda and Zimbabwe.
He told The Guardian that having a gay-affirming faith community is important because "religion is a backbone to life in Nigeria, so we all want to go to church, but we don't want to lie to God about who we are."