About 35 of us made our way for the familiar warm welcome and for this curiously named conference. In recent years, a number of theologians have developed ‘queer theologies’ that draw on queer theory to question and reinterpret Christian faith in challenging and subversive ways. The term ‘Queer theology’ had come up several times in EF conferences and here was a chance to engage with it in a more concentrated way.
Our speaker, Dr Nicola Slee is a feminist theologian and poet and an associate member of staff at Queens Theological College in Birmingham. In this conference she invited us to share her interest in and exploration of Queer theology (a field distinct from feminist theology) through talk, discussion and creative writing. It was a chance to become more aware of what this branch of theology has to offer and the results it yields from its approaches. We were free to ‘take or leave’ some or all of it.
After an introduction to Queer theology, then we tried reading the Bible from a ‘Queer perspective’. In a session of creative writing we were encouraged to express our thoughts on paper and then worked in groups to prepare parts of the Sunday worship. The communion service worship was both sensitive and inclusive with elements of the familiar and the ‘queer’. It was an offering of our weekend’s work with the worship still very much focussing on God and our common faith. A wonderful conclusion to a challenging and enjoyable weekend.
Nicola Slee is a theologian and poet and honorary research fellow at the Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, Birmingham. Books include Women’s Faith Development: Patterns and Processes (Ashgate, 2003) and Praying Like a Woman (SPCK, 2004), and was working on a second collection of poems.