Starting venue confirmed

I’m delighted to report that the starting venue for my pilgrimage has been confirmed. I will begin with a talk at Carr’s Lane Church in central Birmingham on the evening of Wednesday 15 June. I will then begin walking from there the next day.

I am very grateful to Carr’s Lane for their hosting offer, and to my friend John Cooper for his help in arranging it. I’m very pleased, partly because it’s great to have another venue confirmed, but also because the starting venue is particularly significant. A number of individuals, churches and groups in the Birmingham area have been really supportive and encouraging, so are likely to help in promoting the event.

I admit that on the whole I have found it harder than I hoped, or even expected, to find churches willing to host talks in some of the places I am visting. In a few places, there have been supportive individuals who have told their church about my pilgrimage and found that there has been more oppositon than they had hoped.

By confirming the talk at Carr’s Lane, I am of course announcing not only the starting venue but also the starting date. It’s just over two weeks before I’ll arrive in London, meaning my initial estimate that the walk would take around three weeks has turned out to be a bit inaccurate.  I hope the slightly shorter time won’t lead anyone to conlude that the walk is less meaingful!

There are now three events confirmed for my pilgrimage, all in city centre churches. The other two are in Oxford (Sunday 26 June) and London (Friday 1 July).  I am very close to confirming with one other church, and still talking with a few others. I am also pleased to have received an offer from a church that may not be close enough to the likely route. I am working out whether it will be feasible to vary the route in order to visit them.

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5 comments so far

  1. Audrey on

    Dear Mr. Hill,

    I am so moved by your pilgrimage of repentance. My son is gay and I love him beyond measure. We are Mennonites, and our denomination is struggling with the “issue” of homosexuality.

    My heart is breaking for our church and for all of us who are damaged by the homophobic theology we have embraced. Our bi-annual denominational convention is coming up in July. If you think of us as you walk, pray for us, that the Holy Spirit with bathe us in repentance and transform our church.

    Thank you again for your faithfulness. May God Bless you and keep you on your journey.

    Peace to You,
    Audrey

    • Symon on

      Dear Audrey,

      Many thanks for your really moving message. It’s really appreciated. I think the Mennonites are wonderful and I have been influenced by many aspects of Mennonite theology. I didn’t realise your convention was coming up in July; thanks for telling me. I will pray about it on my walk.

      With love in Christ,

      Symon

  2. davidinchippy on

    This is good news! And we’re looking forward to welcoming you at St Columba’s (www.saintcolumbas.org)in Oxford on the 26th.

  3. Wendy on

    I have read with some interest and a heartfelt tug-o-war over this issue. The bible seems to me to teach same sex is aginst God’s ways, my own heart inclusion of people doesn’t mean i have to ‘approve’ of or understand those ways to be Godly ie murderers, theives etc etc. ithis will no doubt be a long standing debate in Christain circles.
    State curches endorsing your walk of repentance only serves to further confuse me!

    • Symon on

      Thanks for your comments, Wendy. I appreciate you’re confused by this issue and I value your honesty in saying so. Having been struggling with these issues for years, it’s something I can identify with.

      I appreciate that the Bible seems to you to rule out same-sex relationships. However, the only clear condemnation of same-sex relations in the Bible is in Leviticus, which contains a vast body of law which Christians are not obliged to follow, because Christ fulfills and supersedes the law. There are comments about certain homosexual practices in the New Testament, but they are in the context of prostitution, adultery and idol-worship. Condemning loving same-sex relationships on the basis of texts aimed at idolatry seems to me to be as unfair as opposing loving heterosexual marriages because of texts condemning prostitution.

      It has always been the case that certain texts of the Bible have been used to justify ideas and practices which go against the over-riding messages of the Bible. In the eighteenth century, a large number of people sincerely believed that the Bible upheld slavery. They were not seeing the wood for the trees. Jesus’ message of love had got lost.

      I believe Jesus calls us to something much harder, but more fulfilling, than following a set of rules. We are called to live by the Holy Spirit, in radical lifestyles rooted in love. Paul wrote repeatedly about living by the Spirit, suggesting that ‘the letter kills but the Spirit gives life’ (2nd Corinthians), ‘love is the fulfilling of the law’ (Romans 13,10) and ‘if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law’ (Galatians 5, 18). These comments seem to me to be representative of his teaching. I think he would be appalled at the idea of people snatching lines of his writing out of context to be used in the legalistic way he had rejected when he gave up Pharisaism for Christianity.

      Of course, to love people does not have to involve approving of them. We are called to love murderers, rapists, etc, while opposing what they do. But it is impossible to murder and rape while acting in the spirit of Christ. But a loving, faithful relationship can be entirely within the spirit of Christ and I don’t think that has to depend on the gender of those involved.


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