Category Archives: Conference papers

Male AND Female God Created THEM

(Workshop to be presented by Revd Sharon Ferguson at the “Embodying Ministry” July 2014 conference of the CSCS Theological Educators Project).

What if you understand your gender as ‘both/and’ rather than ‘either/or’? Where do you find yourself in scripture? How are you represented in liturgy and worship? How can ministers ensure a person of non-binary gender identity is affirmed and welcomed into the worshipping community? This workshop will briefly outline some of the alternative ways to understand gender and how those who transgress the binary models of male/female struggle to find a place within the Church. The group will be encouraged to consider what for them is comfortable /uncomfortable about gender identity and the reasons why. We will also consider the gendered language we use in liturgy and worship and the issues of inclusion/exclusion that these may raise.

Sharon Ferguson
Revd Sharon Ferguson is the Senior Pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church in North London, Co-President of the European Forum for LGBT Faith Groups, and was also the CEO of LGCM until the end of May 2014. In October 2014 Sharon will embark on a PhD researching the biblical and theological bases for understanding non-binary gender and its implications for the Church. Sharon is passionate about the inclusive love of God for the diverse world that God created.

Intersex and Formation

(Paper to be presented by Dr Susannah Cornwall at the “Embodying Ministry” July 2014 conference of the CSCS Theological Educators Project).

Concerns 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.

Susannah Cornwall, Intersex and FormationDr 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).

Guided Examen

(Workshop to be presented by Revd Dr Brendan Callaghan SJ at the “Embodying Ministry” July 2014 conference of the CSCS Theological Educators Project).

This 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.

Brendan Callaghan, Guided ExamenRevd 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.

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God-language in Public and Private

Prayer as a Place of Integrating Gender, Sexuality and Faith: A Workshop

(Paper to be presented by Nicola Slee at the “Embodying Ministry” July 2014 conference of the CSCS Theological Educators Project).

In 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.

Nicola Slee, God-language in Public and Private Prayer

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).

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Gender, Sexuality, Spirituality: Exploring the Interplay

(Paper to be presented by Revd Dr Christina Beardsley at the “Embodying Ministry” July 2014 conference of the CSCS Theological Educators Project).

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.

Christina Beardsley, Gender, Sexuality, SpiritualityRevd 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 (Changing Attitudes blog, Christina Bearsley) and the author of Unutterable Love (Lutterworth, 2009), a biography of F.W. Robertson.

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Queering Spiritual Direction

(Session to be presented by Rachel Mann at the “Embodying Ministry” July 2014 conference of the CSCS Theological Educators Project).

The 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.

Rachel Mann, Queering Spiritual DirectionRevd 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. 

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“Redeeming Gender”

(Paper to be presented by Professor Adrian Thatcher at the “Embodying Ministry” July 2014 conference of the CSCS Theological Educators Project).

The 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.

Adrian Thatcher

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.

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“Fifty Shades of Grace”

The Crafting of Sexual Wisdom

(Paper to be presented by Revd Dr Carla A. Grosch-Miller, for the CSCS  Theological Educators’ Project July 2014 Conference, “Embodied Ministry“).

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.

Carla Grosch - Miller

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).

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“Sod ‘Em, Sod ‘Em, Like There’s No Gomorrah” 

Comparing Sexualities Education for Teachers, Doctors and Clergy in the UK

David Nixon

In this seminar paper to be presented at the “Embodying Ministry” July 2014 conference of the CSCS Theological Educators ProjectRevd Dr David Nixon 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.

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“Embodied Ministry” Conference: Booking Form

CSCS Theological Educators’ Project Conference

EmbodiedMinistry flier

Bookings can still be made (until 30th June 2014), by printing and completing the form below and sending it with a cheque made payable to CSCS to:

Sharon Ferguson, CSCS Theological Educators Conference, Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, London, E2 6HG                Cheques must be received by 30th June 2014.

 

Booking Form

Name ……………………………………………………………………………………………………

Address………………………………………………………………………………………………….

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Post Code ………………………..         Telephone ……………………………………………….

e-mail ………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Denomination …………………………………………………..    Lay / Ordained / in Formation

 

Wednesday 9th July only

(non residential, inc. dinner)                                                        £40.00        £ ………..

 

Thursday 10th July only

(non residential, inc. lunch)                                                 £40.00       £ ………..

 

Wednesday and Thursday 9 -10 July

(non residential, inc. Wednesday dinner and Thursday lunch) £75.00       £ ………..

 

Wednesday and Thursday 9 -10 July

(Residential, inc. all meals and accommodation)                     £125.00     £ ………..

 

Donation for Bursary Scheme                                                       £ ………..

 

Total                                                                                               £ ………..

 

Bursaries:

If you would like to apply for assistance with the conference fee please complete the booking form and send to Rev Sharon Ferguson, Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, Bethnal Green, E2 6HG along with the following information.

i)             Your background e.g. student and what studied
ii)           What is your interest in the conference topic
iii)          How do you plan to use what you learn from the conference
iv)         What % of funding you are requesting & why needed
v)           Details of other applications for funding and outcomes if known

Applications must be received by 1st May 2014 and confirmation of outcome will be sent by end of May 2014.