FRIDAY SESSION A
2:00 - 3:30 PM
Perhaps no other topic provokes such heated debate as sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Our workshop provides a healthy alternative to didactic teaching that tells others what we believe is truth, and instead provides a unique opportunity-- perhaps for the first time-- for spiritual companions to address issues of sexuality and spirituality irrespective of one’s own sexual orientation. We will not attempt to convince one another to adopt any view, but rather offer a safe and sacred space to share knowledge and to engage in open and healthy conversations when discussing sexuality. You will leave with tools and resources for your own spiritual practice, including a free Workbook and Resource Guide for future reference, to support your journey of spiritual companioning.
Westina Matthews is an adjunct professor for the Center for Christian Spirituality at The General Theological Seminary, where she teaches contemplative spiritual direction. A graduate of the Spiritual Guidance program at the Shalem Institute, she is an author, public speaker, spiritual director and retreat leader whose practice reflects contemplative living through “holy listening.” Westina has contributed to several Forward Movement anthologies and was a frequent contributor to Sacred Journey: The Journal of Fellowship in Faith. Her newest book is Dancing from the Inside Out: Grace-filled Reflections on Growing Older (Church Publishing Inc., 2019).
A Contemplative Approach to Spirituality and Sexuality
Father Tommie Watkins, the first openly gay ordained black priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, is the Rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Alabama. A certified Spiritual Director and licensed master social worker (LMSW), he completed his joint Doctorate in Philosophy degree from the Universities of Alabama, Tuscaloosa and University of Alabama, Birmingham, School of Public Health. Father Tommie earned his Masters of Divinity (M.Div.) degree from The General Theological Seminary. In his book Living Out Loud, he shares his struggle of self-acceptance. Father Tommie’s favorite quote is Dr. King’s: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” As such, Father Tommie is compelled to continue to Live Out Loud.