Roughly 40 people gathered from all over the country (and one from the USA), joined by several others just for the day on Saturday. In the Friday evening welcome meeting there was a relaxed atmosphere, and a strong sense of it being an extended family. In the evening epilogue three extracts from movies were introduced to get us thinking about our sexuality in terms of the confrontations it brings, its validity as a lifestyle and how we should learn to celebrate it.
On Saturday morning a number of people gathered for prayers before breakfast. Throughout the weekend a great many individuals were involved in leading discussions and worship. The variety of approach reinforced the relaxed nature of the conference
Three stimulating sessions were led by Margaret Gill, the guest speaker. For many who related to what was said by Margaret, or by others who contributed, there were emotional moments. To understand that others endure as you do, or share your joys, was a powerful experience.
Listening to our sexuality is important. People have different needs, and even within ourselves there are conflicts which must be constantly addressed. We need to seek God’s help to create a unity within. In relationships, likewise, the wholeness does not come easily, nor does it continue unless we work at it. Listening to one another requires gentle wisdom and respect. The clashes that occur as we explore our sexuality and our relationships are often what bring strength. Risk can produce creativity. God’s dream for us is that we will be complete people, called
into union with God and with one another.
One quote made a big impression: ‘To expect perfection from anyone (including yourself) but God is to crush them’. We need to be reminded that God looks at us and sees the good in us. Our view of God is distorted. We expect him constantly to pounce on us, and only to want us when we are
In the final session there was a moving meditation. We were asked by our speaker to imagine our sexuality as a house and consider what the different rooms might contain. We were then invited to greet Christ at the door and invite him in and take him on a tour of the house. What might we feel? What might we hope to conceal?
The service of worship and communion on the Sunday was an emotional highpoint. The whole service brought back memories of the first time I had shared communion in a specifically gay group. The sense of God’s acceptance was almost overwhelming.