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The following news release was issued on 10th December 2010, announcing the walk.
News release – 10.12.10
Christian writer repents of homophobia with plan for three-week pilgrimage
Christian writer and activist Symon Hill has announced that he plans to walk from Birmingham to London as a pilgrimage of repentance for his former homophobic attitudes.
Hill, the associate director of the Ekklesia thinktank, will speak at churches along the way, encouraging the Christian Church as a whole to repent of homophobia and think differently about sexuality.
Taking a circuitous route of between 150 and 200 miles over around three weeks, Hill will arrive in London on the day before the Pride march on 2 July 2011. Between now and then he is urging churches to join him in expressing repentance and to offer to host him on the route.
The precise route will depend on hosting offers but is likely to include several places in which Hill has lived, including Coventry, Daventry and Oxford. The walk has been endorsed by Ekklesia, the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, Courage UK and Inclusive Church.
Symon Hill said:
“I have struggled for years with issues of sexuality – through prayer, reflection, personal experience and reading my Bible. These struggles have led me to the conclusion that it is not homosexuality, but homophobia, that is sinful and contrary to the message of Christ.
“Many churches continue to reject loving same-sex relationships and to oppose equality. Others have failed to speak out due to a misplaced desire for unity. Given the hurt and abuse involved, minor changes are not enough. As Christians, we are called to take a stand against injustice”.
Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner, said:
“Symon Hill 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.”
- Symon Hill has been associate director of Ekklesia since June 2009. His book, The No-Nonsense Guide to Religion, was published this year by New Internationalist publications. He contributes regularly to the Guardian, Morning Star, The Friend and Baptist Times and is a signatory to the Common Wealth statement of Christians committed to social and economic justice and opposed to the government’s cuts. In 1998, he organised a “Church Crawl”, walking for a week to raise Christian awareness of depression. From 2006-09, he oversaw media relations for the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and was part of the team that took the government to court over BAE’s Saudi arms deals. As a result he was nominated as a Hero of 2007 by the activist comedian Mark Thomas in the Independent on Sunday.
- Symon Hill is appealing for churches to host talks and/or provide him with accommodation during the pilgrimage. The precise route will depend on hosting offers.