Sex and Sensibility - An atheist and priest talk about sexuality and social change

By Press Office
October 1, 2015

Sex and Sensibility: October 13th, 6.30pm. Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, 235, Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H, 8EP.

The past thirty years have seen a revolution in attitudes towards human sexuality, yet throughout the world women and LGBT people still face lethal discrimination.

Many see religion as a key part of the problem. Others find in faith a key resource for struggling against inequality and injustice, and towards liberation for all.

In what is sure to be an inspiring and wide-ranging conversation in central London on Tuesday 13 October 2015, two major public figures discuss these issues and look at journeys of transformation towards a different future.

Hosted by the beliefs and values think-tank Ekklesia, internationally known human rights activist Peter Tatchell and Anglican priest the Rev Sally Hitchiner – who was unexpectedly ‘outed’ on live television – examine how change happens and what role belief plays in it.

They have very different stories to tell, but also a huge amount in common.

Peter Tatchell explains: "I come from an evangelical, neo-fundamentalist Christian family. I transitioned in my teens to a liberation theology interpretation of my faith before eventually embracing atheism, humanism and secularism. Organised religion has been historically the single greatest cause of human rights abuses globally. Even today, in many countries, churches are at the forefront of opposing women's and LGBT rights. Nevertheless, I value the contribution of progressive Christians to the struggle for equality and social justice – and work with them. I've been inspired by many such people, including Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King and Desmond Tutu."

Sally Hitchiner says: “Telling people’s stories well can change the world. When you really hear someone’s story, you can genuinely connect with them. The church is changing, especially on issues such as sexuality at the moment. I have been running a project called Diverse Church, which is a support network for young LGBT Christians. They and their stories are genuinely changing the church. It’s exciting. It feels like we’re at an enabling stage. Religion isn’t something that everyone wants to do, but everyone should feel like that they should be able to.”

This public conversation at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church is open to people of all belief backgrounds and none. It will be chaired by Ekklesia director Simon Barrow, who adds: “As a think-tank we seek to combine transformational Christian thought and action with a commitment to working positively with people who often find religion confusing or damaging. We are grateful to Sally and Peter for being willing to talk openly about their own convictions and how they relate to a shared search for human transformation.”

The event will take place on 13th October at 6.30pm at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, 235, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8EP. Tickets £6 can be purchased here


Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.