“It is very good that you are undertaking this pilgrimage of repentance. I very much hope it will have a wide influence. Repentance in the original Greek word means changing one’s mind, and rethinking one’s whole outlook in the light of God’s saving presence in Christ. That is what the church needs to do today in relation to gay and lesbian people.”

Richard Harries, former Bishop of Oxford

“Symon Hill’s pilgrimage of repentance is an incredibly brave and generous gesture. He is bearing witness and setting an inspiring example of Christian repentance for 2,000 years of church homophobia. I hope Pope Benedict and Archbishops Rowan Williams and John Sentamu will join him.”

Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

“Greenbelt is happy to support and encourage Symon in his walk of repentance… As a previous speaker and a loyal festivalgoer, Symon has always been supportive of this inclusive approach. We are pleased that we now have the opportunity to reciprocate that support, as Symon explores and promotes a vision of a faith where all are welcome.” 

Jenny Baker, Acting Festival Director, Greenbelt

“Symon Hill’s pilgrimage of repentance is one of those projects that truly warms and encourages the heart of any gay person, because it recognises deeply held views (prejudices) yet illustrates the process of repentance in a very real and inspiring way. Let us pray that Symon’s example will inspire many others to reconsider their views and similarly repent, of their homophobia.”

Jeremy Marks, Director, Courage

“The legacy of Christian homophobia is vast. We will only truly root it out when we consciously take a stand against it. Symon Hill’s pilgrimage is not only a powerful personal act of spiritual witness but also an event that we can all identify with, using it as a time to reflect on our own deep-seated fears and prejudices around our own sexuality and that of others.”

Noel Moules, founder of Workshop/ Anvil Trust

“Homophobia does real damage to the lives of many millions of people both in Britain and worldwide. It’s great to see someone working on the underlying attitudes, as well as coming clean about their own previous homophobia. We really can’t find a solution if everyone pretends they’re not part of the problem. Symon Hill’s pilgrimage is certainly a step towards a more tolerant society, and an inspiration.”

Marcus Morgan, Bisexual Index

“Symon’s pilgrimage echoes his journey of belief, and testifies to the fact that attitudes can change. It is a call to Christians across Britain to stand in solidarity with all those marginalised on the grounds of their sexual orientation, gender or physical sex, and to recognise the image of God in everyone.”

Susannah Cornwall
Theologian and author of Sex and Uncertainty in the Body of Christ

“Pilgrimages are journeys of awakening and transformation. ‘Repentance’ means to turn around and go in a new direction. Symon Hill has made the vital connection between the two and is encouraging Christians to welcome, rather than defile, Christ’s face in their LGBT sisters and brothers.”

Simon Barrow, Co-Director, Ekklesia

“I am pleased to hear about your courageous walk.  I would like to offer you my support as the parent of two adult children who describe themselves as gay and who are Christians, as indeed I am… We campaign and support all initiatives to make the world a better place for LGB and T people. Good luck!”

Margaret Evans, New Road Parents

“We support and applaud the journey that you have taken (in your thinking) and are taking (in your pilgrimage) on these issues. To repent privately, is valuable and worthy; to do so in the very public way that you have chosen is brave, challenging, and significant. Thank you for your bravery. Thank you for challenging those around you who love the name of Jesus. Thank you for taking this significant step of faith.”

Leadership Team, Community Church, Surbiton

Click here for a list of organisations supporting the pilgrimage.


5 comments so far

  1. Steve on

    Symon Hill, I know you like to quote Romans from the Bible, how about: Romans 1:27 “In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” When did sodomy and buggery ever become acceptable except for the sexually deviant, including homosexuals?

  2. Steve on

    The only comments you will accept are from those who wish to legitimise, homosexuality, buggery and sodomy for the morally inclined. But what is worse, you quote: “Love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13,10,) without including Romans 1:27. Isn’t that dishonest and deceiving? And you call yourself a Christian.

  3. Symon on

    Thanks for your comments, Steve. I appreciate that you have a different interpretation of Romans to me and I’m by no means suggesting that everyone should share my interpretation.

    I think it’s important to note that Paul is criticising Roman Christians for following the same sort of practices as the Pagans who they criticised themselves. As much as anything else, this is a warning against judgmentalism. However, I accept that Paul probably did regard sexual relations between men as wrong, as he would have been influenced by his context and would probably not have encountered loving same-sex relationships.

    While I believe that the biblical writers were inspired by God, I also believe that their words were affected by their own context, culture and understanding. To regard the Bible as directly dictated by God turns it into a rule-book. Paul, in contrast, repeatedly emphasises the need to live by the Holy Spirit and not by rules. I seek to follow the Bible because it points me towards Christ, not the other way round. I think Paul would be appalled by the tendency to take his words out of context in order to set up rules.

    With regard to your other point, I certainly don’t accept comments only from people who agree with me. Otherwise, I would not have accepted yours! There are several comments on this site made by people who disagree with me, and I haven’t made any attempt to stop them being here.

    What do you mean by “sodomy”? The sexual sins described in the story of Sodom in Genesis involve rape and selfish lust. What makes you think that I’m advocating rape? On the contrary, I utterly condemn rape and all other forms of sexual abuse, and wish society would make a higher priority of tackling them.

  4. Nick on

    I’m not sure it is right to use the term homophobia here. A phobia is a fear and I haven’t really met Christians who are afraid of homosexuals. However, we have often been quick to condemn and somewhat slower to offer help to those caught up in homosexuality. The way Jesus treated the woman caught in adultery has much to teach us. Sadly one of the biggest hindrances to those wanting help to escape a homosexual lifestyle has been the well meaning attempts of some to justify it instead. Celibate homosexuals express a sense of betrayal by sections of the church that do so.

  5. adam on

    “Homophobia” isn’t real, actually. It’s a buzzword used by the media. Mental Illness is often misunderstood, so I can understand the ignorance of those that believe it is an actual illness. It’s just a cute word to describe a very natural feeling among heterosexuals who are hard-wired to be repulsed by gay sex. No one has ever been legitimately been diagnosed as “homophobic,” and never will. If someone truly WERE clinically afraid of homosexuals, they probably wouldn’t leave their house for fear of running into one, and they certainly wouldn’t go out of their way to confront one.

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