A central London church will mark the final destination of a Christian writer's pilgrimage of repentance for homophobia.
Symon Hill announced in December that he will walk from Birmingham to London this summer in repentance for his former homophobic attitudes. He has now said that he will finish with a talk at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church on the evening of Friday 1 July, before joining in the Pride march the next day.
Hill, who is associate director of the Ekklesia thinktank and author of The No-Nonsense Guide to Religion, will leave Birmingham on or around 16 June. Venues for talks on the way will include St Columba's United Reformed Church in Oxford on Sunday 26 June.
The walk has been welcomed by the human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and endorsed by the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, Ekklesia, Courage UK and Inclusive Church.
Symon Hill said:
"I have been deeply moved by the many messages of support and encouragement I have received since announcing my plan. They have made me more determined than ever to demonstrate repentance of the harm I have caused and to challenge the Church's whole attitude. This is a matter of love and justice, integral to our calling to live by the spirit and teachings of Christ."
Jeremy Marks, director of Courage UK (www.courage.org.uk), said:
"Symon Hill’s pilgrimage of repentance is one of those projects that truly warms and encourages the heart of any gay person, because it recognises deeply held views yet illustrates the process of repentance in a very real and inspiring way. Let us pray that Symon’s example will inspire many others to reconsider their views and similarly repent of their homophobia."
More information on the pilgrimage of repentance is available at http://www.repenting.wordpress.com.
The pilgrimage will begin in Birmingham on or around Thursday 16 June and finish in London on Friday 1 July. Venues and timings are still being arranged, but locations will include Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry, Daventry and Oxford.
The final talk in the pilgrimage will be at 7.00pm on Friday 1 July in Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church (see www.bloomsbury.org.uk). People of all religions and of none will be welcome, whatever their views on sexuality.
Symon Hill is associate director of Ekklesia and author of The No-Nonsense Guide to Religion (published by New Internationalist, 2010). He has written for publications including the Guardian, Morning Star, The Friend, Third Way and Baptist Times. He is a signatory to the Common Wealth statement of Christians committed to economic justice and opposed to the government’s cuts.
In 1998, Hill organised a “Church Crawl”, walking with others for a week to raise Christian awareness of depression. He later oversaw media relations for the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and was part of the team that took the government to court over BAE Systems' 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.
Photographs of Symon Hill walking are available to the media on request.