Reports from past events
Residential weekend at Purley Chase centre, Warwickshire
Friday 24 – Sunday 26 September 2021
The residential weekend has been a foundation of Sibyls as a community – a chance to relax, chat, share and worship together, and to get to know others much better over meals and walks. This year we welcomed Alex Clare-Young and Susan Gilchrist to lead discussion over the weekend.
Christian communities, transgender people, and Celtic traditions
We considered how Christian community brings support and insight to transgender people in their everyday lives, by learning about two Christian traditions. The Iona and Corrymeela Communities are Ecumenical Christian Communities in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Alex Clare-Young is a member of the Iona Community, Susan Gilchrist is a member of the Corrymeela Community. Both communities:
- have brought reconciliation and healing to socially and religiously divided societies.
- have the common tradition of Celtic Christianity at their foundations.
- work and campaign for full LGBTI inclusion in society, and across Christian denominations.
Celtic Christianity has brought differing attitudes to men, women, gender identity, and gender roles compared to Roman Christianity. We explored how we may use these experiences to enrich the welcome and inclusion of transgender people in today’s society, churches and institutions.
Sibyls celebrate 21 years of support
Sibyls 21st anniversary dinner was held on 18 March 2018 at St Katharine’s Foundation London – the Sibyls’ original home. It was attended by current members of the Sibyls, some former members, and friends who have helped or supported the Sibyls at any time during the years of its existence. A thanksgiving service was led by Tina Beardsley. At the dinner, Susan Gilchrist spoke of our appreciation for Sibyls founder Jay Walmsley and presented her with an engraved glass bowl, followed by a gracious and reflective speech from Jay. A report of the event and Tina’s sermon is here.
Pride London 2018
London Pride 2018 was held on 7 July 2018. For some of us, the day started with breakfast at St Anne’s, Soho, offering a Pride Prayer Breakfast, with coffee tea, fresh fruit and croissant, a pain au chocolat too and for some even a bacon sarnie. Then it was time to get to the parade meeting point for 12.00. As usual, it was smiles, shouts, high-fives, music and cheering all the way through the friendly crowds.
Love’s constancy and legal niceties: transgender perspectives on marriage.
Revd Tina Beardsley and Susan Gilchrist
Susan and Tina presented a session at the conference To have and to hold – the theology of marriage on 27 Sept 2014 at St. Johns church in Waterloo. Recognising current unease in the Church of England over same-sex marriage, the conference asked whether there is a theological basis for expanding the definition of marriage. If so, what might a theology of equal marriage include?
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 has eliminated the need for a couple to divorce when one of them transitions, but has raised other problems, particularly the requirement of spousal consent to Gender Recognition, and the backdating of pension rights. This experiential workshop reflected theologically on marriage in the light of these and other realities of trans people’s lives and relationships.
It was led by Susan Gilchrist and Tina Beardsley, both members of the Sibyls, and each has been with their partner for over four decades. Both are married to their partner: one for the whole of that time, the other following transition.
Living in Prophetic Hope
Changing Attitude workshop, St Martin-in-the-Fields London, May 2014
This workshop prayed through and with the stories of individuals who have tapped into prophetic hope in the midst of homophobic oppression. It focussed on the story of the martyred Ugandan organizer David Kato, who, with his religious and secular friends, resisted the anti-gay witch-hunts in his own country; and it focussed on the stories of local panelists from Africa and Britain, who have fought for LGBTI and immigrant justice here in London. Through discussion, reflection, and prayer, we hope to discover the ways that God is stirring up prophetic hope in our own lives.