Category Archives: Events

“When Sex Goes Wrong…….” (Conference 2015)

How do faith, conscience and justice inform our decisions?

How do people of faith make informed and consistent ethical choices on today’s hot topics – reproductive health issues such as abortion and contraception, 3-parent conceptions, IVF and donor insemination, polyamory and multiple relationships, use of internet and pornography, young people’s sexual behaviour and emotional well-being, HIV, sexually transmitted infections, “chem-sex” and drugs use? These are some of the topics which will figure in both the keynote presentation and panel discussions.

This is the them of our 2015 annual conference, with keynote speaker Professor Tina Beattie,  followed by open discussion and a panel discussion after lunch.

CSCS Conference Programme 2015

10:30 Arrivals, registration & refreshments

11:00 Welcome

11:15 Professor Tima Beattie

12:00 Open discussion

12:45 Lunch

13:45 CSCS AGM

14:15 Panel Discussion

16:00 Depart

All are welcome to our Annual Conference. Although the AGM is for CSCS members, all are welcome to take part, and we welcome new members and any who are interested in our work.

Cost: £25 (waged), £20 (unwaged). Price includes lunch, tea and coffee.

Venue: Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, 235 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8EP

Booking form:


Annual Conference, AGM 2015

Our Annual Conference and AGM will be on Saturday, 14 March 2015

The theme will be, “When sex goes wrong – how do faith, conscience, and justice inform our decisions?” A keynote presentation from a notable expert will help us to look at some ‘hot’ topics such as abortion, IVF, contraception and other reproductive and women’s health issues from the perspective of Christian belief and practice. The conference will take place in London with a central venue yet to be confirmed. Please place this date in your diaries now. We look forward to seeing you there!

“To Have and to Hold” – Theology of Marriage Conference

A one-day conference on the theology of marriage in the light of equal marriage

London, September 27th 2014

Hosted by The LGBT Anglican Coalition

Recognising current unease in the Church of England over same-sex marriage, the conference will ask whether there is a theological basis for expanding the definition of marriage. If so, what might a theology of equal marriage include?

To Have and to Hold

“Embodied Ministry” Conference 2014: Speakers

Speakers and workshop leaders

Adrian Thatcher, Redeeming Gender

 Adrian Thatcher, Redeeming GenderThe churches have forgotten that, until the 17th century, the dominant understanding of sex and gender was of a single humanity, ‘man’, within which women were imperfect, malformed men. Later, a two-sex view of humanity, supposedly established by modern science, became preferred. The idea of the complementarity (not equality) of the sexes arose directly from this view. The Christian Gospel offers neither an ancient one-sex theory, nor a modern two-sex theory, but a single inclusive humanity, made by God and redeemed by Christ, in which differences of all kinds are a means towards communion instead of conflict.

Professor Adrian Thatcher is Visiting Professor at the University of Exeter. He is ‘retired’ and currently editing The Oxford Handbook of Theology, Sexuality and Gender. His most recent books are Making Sense of Sex (SPCK, 2012) and God, Sex and Gender: an Introduction (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011). He is an Anglican.

Carla Grosch-Miller, Fifty Shades of Grace: The Crafting of Sexual Wisdom

Carla Grosch-Miller, Fifty Shades of Grace

 Each of us has lived sexual experience that gives us embodied knowledge.  This embodied knowledge is the premier source for the creation of practical sexual wisdom. We learn by doing, bumping up against others and surviving the consequences. Grace accompanies us all along the way. The purpose of this workshop is to explore a model of sexual-spiritual integration in which embodied knowledge is in critical-liminal conversation with theological sources to create practical sexual wisdom. Space will be made available for (private) personal reflection and creative expression. Implications for theological education will be discussed.

Revd Dr Carla A. Grosch-Miller is a minister and theological educator specialising in sex and ministry short courses for various ministry training colleges.  She is the author of Psalms Redux: Poems and Prayers (Hymns Ancient and Modern, 2014).

Brendan Callaghan, Guided Examen

Brendan Callaghan, Guided ExamenThis workshop takes the form of a guided Ignatian “Examen” – helping people reflect on where and how they encounter God in the sexual dimension of their lives. This will include an introduction from Brendan, followed by 20 minutes’ or so guided silent reflection, followed by a chance to share and discuss (as people are comfortable to), followed by a little plenary discussion.

Revd Dr Brendan Callaghan SJ is Novice Director for the North-Western Europe Provinces of the Jesuits. In addition to his 30 years of academic work in psychology of religion, based at Heythrop College in London and Campion Hall Oxford, he has run numerous workshop courses on sexuality, both for retreat guides and for committed celibates at various stages of their lives.

Christina Beardsley, Gender, Sexuality, Spirituality: Exploring the Interplay

Christina Beardsley, Gender, Sexuality, Spirituality

Gender, Sexuality, Spirituality: Exploring the Interplay is an interactive workshop that builds on trans, queer and intersex perspectives. An exploration of identity, role and practice, it requires honesty and attentive listening from participants. Produced for a day conference at St Anne’s, Soho in 2007, it has been offered (and developed) with LGBT Christian organizations, the LGBT Health Summits 2010 and 2011, and the York Spiritual Directors’ Course in 2012 and 2013. Originally a trans-led workshop, at more recent events leaders have identified as lesbian, gay, and trans, and ‘spirituality’ has always been defined broadly.

Revd Dr Christina Beardsley is Head of Multi-faith Chaplaincy at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, London. A member of Sibyls – Christian spirituality for transgender people – Tina is a speaker, writer and activist for LGBTI inclusion in the Church of England   and the author of Unutterable Love (Lutterworth, 2009), a biography of F.W. Robertson.

Rachel Mann, Queering Spiritual Direction

Rachel Mann, Queering Spiritual DirectionThe praxis of Spiritual Direction has a number of well-established orthodoxies, most notably Ignatian, Franciscan and Benedictine, each typically characterized as paths which invite us to become our ‘true’ selves in God. This session explores and interrogates practices of spiritual direction from a queer perspective, examining the exclusions, inclusions, aporia and opportunities for trans* people implicit in traditional notions of ‘Spiritual Direction’. Grounded in my experience as a trans woman, a spiritual director and directee, this session will use queer/deviant readings of Biblical texts and meditative strategies in order to open liberative and creative space for trans* Christians.

Revd Rachel Mann is an Anglican priest and writer based in South Manchester. She is the author of Dazzling Darkness: Gender, Sexuality, Illness and God (Wild Goose, 2012) – a theological memoir about what it means to be a trans, disabled and lesbian Christian – and The Risen Dust: Poems and Stories of Passion and Resurrection (Wild Goose, 2013) A trained philosopher, she regularly broadcasts and writes about the intersections between faith, culture and theory. She is also currently Poet-in-Residence at Manchester Cathedral. 


Nicola Slee, God-language in Public and Private Prayer as a Place of Integrating Gender, Sexuality and Faith: A Workshop

Nicola Slee, God-language in Public and Private PrayerIn this workshop, we will consider how praying with a range of images of God may aid the process of integrating gender, sexuality and faith (and, conversely, how the use of a limited range of patriarchal God-images can limit that work).  We will explore a range of terms, images and metaphors for God drawn from Christian tradition, in scripture, hymnody, poetry and visual imagery, considering particularly how they represent gender and sexuality in God, and how that may relate to our own sense of ourselves as embodied, sexual, engendered beings.  We will use creative writing as a tool to respond to some of these images for ourselves, as well as consider how we might offer a range of God-language to others, through the leadership of worship, spiritual accompaniment, teaching and ministerial formation.

Dr Nicola Slee is Research Fellow at the Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, Birmingham, and a well-known feminist practical theologian and poet.  Her most recent publications are Making Nothing Happen: Five Poets Explore Faith and Spirituality (Ashgate, 2014), and The Faith Lives of Women and Girls (Ashgate, 2013). 


Susannah Cornwall, Intersex and Formation

 Susannah Cornwall, Intersex and FormationConcerns about intersex and identity are actually broader questions about identity which face all of us, and the process of thinking and working through one’s own sense of one’s gender and sex is likely to better equip one to help others in this part of their journey. In this paper I note some of the questions and challenges intersex candidates may face during selection, training and ministerial formation, before going on to explore some of the theological questions surrounding formation and identity more broadly.

Dr Susannah Cornwall is Advanced Research Fellow in Theology and Religion at the University of Exeter. Her research focuses on constructive body theologies, and, in particular, the implications of intersex for theologies of sex, gender, sexuality, and theological anthropology. Her books include Sex and Uncertainty in the Body of Christ: Intersex Conditions and Christian Theology (Equinox, 2010); Controversies in Queer Theology (SCM, 2011); and Theology and Sexuality (SCM, 2013). 

David Nixon, Sod ‘Em, Sod ‘Em, Like There’s No Gomorrah”: Comparing Sexualities Education for Teachers, Doctors and Clergy in the UK

 David Nixon, Sod 'Em, Sod 'Em, Like There's No GomorrahThis seminar paper compares education in the field of sexualities equality, enquiring how teachers, doctors and clergy are prepared for their professional lives. Data from questionnaires and semi-structured interviews are analysed to reveal that although in many outward respects teaching and medicine reflect recent legislative and cultural changes and the Church does not, in more subtle ways these three professions share a common theme of disjunction between policy and practice. There is also some evidence that certain subsections of these professions offer differential degrees of welcome to gay and lesbian individuals. Behind this empirical study lies the theoretical question of the way in which historically these professions have enmeshed together to structure a dominant heteronormativity. Evidence from this research points to some loosening of these historic ties.

Revd Dr David Nixon is Dean of Studies of the South West Ministry Training Course, and was previously a parish priest in Plymouth. He is a research fellow at the University of Exeter, and has undertaken research and publication about the intersections of education, faith and sexualities. His book Stories from the Street: A Theology of Homelessness was published by Ashgate in 2013.

Also (abstract not yet available):

Sharon Ferguson, executive director of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, and the Senior Pastor for the Metropolitan Community Church North London.

Sharon Ferguson

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“Embodied Ministry” Theological Educators Conference

Rev Jane Fraser has described her journey as a female Anglican priest, in an article in CSCS News (Winter 2013), titled “Reflections on a ‘ministry in sex employment“. She explains that this rather odd description of her work arose when a parishioner either misheard or misunderstood the explanation of the term MSE (Minister in secular employment).  Nevertheless, she uses the term advisedly, because her secular work is indeed, indirectly, involved with “sex employment”: in sex education, especially among sex workers. While this is secular employment, it is also and at the same time, a valuable form of Christian ministry.

This is valuable work, but in addition to the importance of ministry for those involved in sex work, there is also an urgent need for the converse: “sex work”, in the form of sexuality education, for those employed in ministry, and in theological education of all kinds. The revelations of clerical sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, and later in several other institutions, has brought home to many people the absence or grossly inadequate extent of sexual education in the training of priests, ministers and pastors, across denominational lines. Yet it is often to our pastors, untrained in the complexities of human sexuality, that we may turn for guidance on sexual ethics, or when our sexual lives and relationships become tangled and confused.

It is for this reason that CSCS some years ago launched a “Theological Educators Project”, with the aim of providing support and resources to all those involved in sexuality education for those involved in ministry. This year, the project steps up a gear, with a two day conference at Rippon College, Oxfordshire, on the subject, under the title “Embodied Ministry: Gender, Sexuality and Formation

EmbodiedMinistry flier

Here follows the provisional programme information. More detailed planning is coming along well, and over the next few days we will publish fuller information on the speakers, workshop facilitators, and their topics, together with a call for short papers.

Provisional Programme Information 

Target Audience

Theological educators, those with denominational responsibilities in education, training, and on-going ministerial formation, students, denominational policy-makers.


The conference will attempt to respond to what appears to be a fault-line, in and across a range of denominations, regarding training and formation in the areas of gender and sexuality.


Through a combination of plenary presentations, panel discussion, experiential and reflective workshops:

  • To enable open learning, and reflection on the importance of growth in human and sexual maturity, so as to promote effective, inclusive, and non-judgmental pastoral practice.
  • To identify relevant and appropriate academic and human development resources as tools in this journey.
  • To equip those in formational communities to respond to issues of gender and sexuality.

Areas of Focus

  • Gender, sexuality & the pastoral encounter.
  • Sexual maturity and gender identity and awareness in ministry.
  • Integration of gender, sexuality, faith & spirituality.

Speakers / Facilitators (will include)

  • Christina Beardsley – Changing Attitude, England / Sibyls
  • Brendan Callaghan – Campion Hall, Oxford
  • Susannah Cornwall – University of Exeter
  • Sharon Ferguson – Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement / MCC North London
  • Carla Grosch-Miller – URC minister and theological educator
  • Rachel Mann – St Nicholas Burnage, Manchester
  • Martin Pendergast – Centre for the Study of Christianity and Sexuality / Soho Masses
  • Nicola Slee – Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham
  • Adrian Thatcher – University of Exeter

Topics (will include)

  • Integrating sexuality, gender and spirituality
  • Spirituality in the gendered and sexual “broken middle”
  • Themes from Redeeming Gender
  • Negotiating gender transition in formational communities
  • Fifty Shades of Grace: practicing sexual and spiritual integration
  • Intersex, formation and pastoral care
  • Honouring gender fluidity in liturgy and worship
  • Ministry with the families of LGBT people
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Theological Educators’ Visit to Ripon College

On Wednesday 6th June, the CSCS Theological Educators’ team met at Ripon College, Oxfordshire, where Professor Martyn Percy shared some useful information on the current shift to “common awards” in training for religious ordination.

Before the start of the meeting, Professor Percy led the group on a short tour of the college and its facilities, of which a highlight was the spanking new chapel (so new, that the first formal use of it was scheduled for the following day, and while we were there, workmen were busily engaged in last minute completion.

Outside Reception: Jane Fraser, Martin Pendergast, Martyn Percy, Terry Weldon, Carla Grosch Miller, Susannah Cornwell, Clare Herbert, Rosie Martin (Behind the camerac- Michael Moran)

One of the other topics under discussion by the theological educators’ group is the viability of arranging a residential conference for a much wider group, on sexuality and theological education. If this idea goes ahead, Ripon College could well be a potential venue.

For more pictures, see the page in our new Galleries section.

For more architectural background on this stunning  new chapel, see the website - Neil McLaughlin Architects

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London meeting: “Wholly Holy: What the Identity of Being LGBT adds to the Identity of Being Christian?”

St Martin’s Hall, Lower Crypt.

Revd Dr Sam Wells, Vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields, addresses the question “Wholly Holy: What the Identity of Being LGBT adds to the Identity of Being Christian?”

A lecture by hosted by St Martin-in-the-Fields and by Open Table, the Greater London Changing Attitude Group, to address issues currently debated in Church and society. All are very warmly welcome to this open lecture. The evening will be chaired by Revd Clare Herbert, and will include responses and questions from the floor.

Open Table
Start: January 30, 2013 7:00 pm
End: January 30, 2013 8:30 pm
Cost: FREE
Venue: St Martin-in-the-Fields
Phone: 020 7766 1100
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Conference 2013: “Gender Varying Faith”

This year’s conference of the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Sexuality will focus on a much neglected area in religious ministry, that of transgender people of faith. In partnership with the TG group, “Sibylls”, we have put together a programme that features a cross-section of the diversity that is included under the umbrella term, “transgender”, featuring two speakers in the morning session, followed by a panel discussion by additional speakers after lunch. In between the two sessions, we will fit in a short period for the business component, our AGM.


10.30 Arrivals, registration & refreshments
11.00 Welcome

Christina Beardsley & Elaine Summers, chaired by Bishop John Gladwin.
12.00 Open discussion.

12.45 Lunch

13.45 CSCS AGM

14.15 VARYING GENDERS – A panel discussion, chaired by Dr. Susannah Cornwall

16.00 Depart

 Introducing our speakers

The Revd. Dr Christina (Tina) Beardsley

grew up in West Yorkshire, was educated at Sussex University, St John’s College, Cambridge, and Westcott House, where she trained for ordination, and is married to Rob. She has worked for over three decades in pastoral ministry in the Church of England. In 2000 Tina co-founded the Clare Project, a transgender support group in Brighton & Hove: Her publications include ‘The Transsexual Person Is My Neighbour: Pastoral Guidel ines for Christian Clergy, Pastors And Congregations’ , Gender Trust: & ‘Unutterable Love: The Passionate Life and Preaching of F.W. Robertson,’ Lutterworth Press. A Changing Attitude Trustee for Transgender people, Tina also co-leads the Sibyls project ‘gender, sexuality and spirituality’: She has a special interest in the interplay between theology and the arts.

Elaine Sommers

is the femme name of a heterosexual male surgeon living in the SW of England. She is married, with children and grandchildren. She describes herself as bi-gendered rather than transsexual, but prefers the term trans as a looser umbrella expression of who she is. Elaine is the author of “Faith, Gender & Me“,  is a trustee of Changing Attitude and has interests in music worship, singing, Middle East peace, and travel.

Bishop John Gladwin (chair, morning session)

retired as Bishop of Chelmsford in 2009. He is a CSCS Patron, Chairperson of Citizens Advice, and Vice-President of WATCH.

Dr. Susannah Cornwall (chair, afternoon session)

is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Manchester’s Lincoln Theological Institute. Her current project is entitled Intersex, Identity and Disability: Issues for Public Policy, Healthcar e and the Church.

Booking Form

Conference booking form


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exploring gender variance, identity and religious belief 

Saturday, 16 February 2013

10.30 – 16.00

St. Anne’s Church,55 Dean Street,Soho,LondonW1D 6AF

Buses: 14, 19, 38 toShaftesbury Avenue/Dean Street.

Tube Stations: Piccadilly Circus (Piccadilly/ Bakerloo lines) & Leicester Square (Piccadilly/ Northern lines)




The charitable object of CSCS is:

“to advance the Christian religion by promoting objective debate within the Christian churches upon matters concerning human sexuality, with a view to developing the spiritual teaching and doctrines of such Christian churches.”

Registered charity no: 1070440

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