Male and Female God created them
Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th July, 2016
“Listen: there was once a king sitting on his throne. Around Him stood great and wonderfully beautiful columns ornamented with ivory, bearing the banners of the king with great honour. Then it pleased the king to raise a small feather from the ground, and he commanded it to fly. The feather flew, not because of anything in itself but because the air bore it along. Thus am I, a feather on the breath of God.”
St Hildegaard of Bingen, 1098 – 1179
St Hildegard took note of the ways in which feathers are gently held in the air and carried by the wind currents below and likened it to the way God carries each of us. We are because of the love of God. Each of us actualises the Divine image within us in his or her distinctive and unrepeatable way – female and male, gay and straight, trans and genderqueer.
Referring to a letter written by the Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote, “We are to be ‘new words for God,’” adding, “out of all this comes the miracle, the ‘unbearable lightness of being,’ as you might say: the recognition that my reality rests ‘like a feather on the breath of God.’”
The 2016 Quest Conference will explore what is involved in being a person. What are the possibilities as yet latent in our personhood, and what is the ultimate fulfilment of being a person in respect of issues of gender and sexuality?
The speaker at the Conference will be the Reverend Dr Christina (Tina) Beardsley. Tina grew up in West Yorkshire and was educated at Sussex University, where she met her husband, Rob; at St John’s College, Cambridge, where she was a research student; and at Westcott House, where she trained for ordination. She has worked for over three decades in pastoral ministry in the Church of England. In 2000 Tina co-founded the Clare Project, a transgender support group in Brighton & Hove. She is the author of The Transsexual Person Is My Neighbour: Pastoral Guidelines for Christian Clergy, Pastors and Congregations, published by the Gender Trust.
The Conference will be take place at the Scarborough campus of the University of Hull, a return visit to the venue for the 2014 Conference.