On Tuesday 5th January, Ekklesia was delighted to launch its first book - 'Sexuality, Struggle and Saintliness: Same Sex Love and the Church' by our associate Savitri Hensman.
The launch took place at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church where the Ekklesia office is based. This felt entirely appropriate, as Bloomsbury has recently been registered to perform same sex marriages, and had the first ceremony booked for December 2015.
Ekklesia's Chief Operating Officer, Virginia Moffatt, welcomed the crowd reflecting how timely Savitri's book is. How it demonstrates the changing thinking of Christians and theologians on the subject, experiences from people in churches, Biblical thinking and creative ways forward.
Savi read from three different chapters. The first was from 'Relationships reconsidered: the early-mid twentieth century'. This covered the pioneering work of the theologian Pavel Florensky in 1914 and Christian novelist Radclyffe Hall in 1928, as well as highlighting the fact that 'the church' is primarily a movement or community of people, some of whom have played an important part in changing social attitudes to sexuality.
Her second segment came from 'Better understanding of international church conflicts over sexuality', and examined the colonial era, widespread criminalisation of 'sodomy' and internalisation of Victorian codes of sexual conduct throughout much of the world, though Christanity could also inspire struggles for justice and freedom.
The third was from 'Coping with difference and moving forward', mentioning that consensus would not be quickly achieved, the value of looking at how intimate relationships tie in with broader concerns and the joys and challenges of living with diversity.
There were many thoughtful questions from the appreciative audience and we all appreciated the intelligent and creative responses Savi gave to these.
'Sexuality, Struggle and Saintliness: Same Sex Love and the Church' has been produced by print on demand. It is available from the following online publishers: The Book Depository, AbeBooks, and Waterstones Price £12.99. Ebooks are available Price £3.99 by contacting the office firstname.lastname@example.org. We are currently developing a word version for those with visual impairments.