A Contemplative Approach to Spirituality & Sexuality

A Contemplative Approach to Spirituality and Sexuality

Among many communities, but especially faith communities, perhaps no other topic provokes such heated debate as sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Join us for this one-day workshop as we engage in healthy and honest discussions around spirituality and sexuality, with the goal of enhancing the capacity of participants (spiritual directors, laypersons, and/or clergy of any denomination or none) to discuss issues of faith and sexuality. 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 honest dialogue. Tools will be provided for participants to engage in healthy discussion around sex, sexuality, and spirituality.  

Spirituality and sexuality are intricately connected and infinitely complex, and both are gifts from God. Jesus taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:3). As we spread the good news of the Gospel, we envision this tent for our neighbors as both wide and broad, including all people irrespective of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, class, age, culture, country of origin, or ability. Contemplative spiritual direction is a way in for everyone to discuss issues of faith and sexuality, all grounded in God’s grace and love.

When: October 4, 2018.
Where: St. Mary's Sewanee, 770 St. Mary's Ln., Sewanee, TN, 37375
The workshop will commence the morning of October 4 and will conclude that evening.

Tuition: $160
Lodging for the night of October 3 at St. Mary's Sewanee may be purchased separately.



Dr. Westina Matthews is an adjunct professor for the Center for Christian Spirituality at General Theological Seminary where she has taught contemplative spiritual direction for the past eight years. A graduate of the spiritual guidance program at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, Dr. Matthews is an author, public speaker, spiritual director, and retreat leader whose practice reflects contemplative living through “holy listening.” She received her doctorate in education from the University of Chicago, and completed postdoctoral research fellowships at both Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. After retiring from Merrill Lynch as a managing director, Dr. Matthews was a Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University where she studied women and girls of faith in Burundi.

Dr. Matthews has contributed to several Forward Movement anthologies, including A Year of Daily Meditations (2011, 2014, 2015, 2016) and Wisdom Found: Stories of Women Transfigured By Faith (2011); is the author of three books in her Have A Little Faith series; and was a frequent contributor to Sacred Journey: The Journal of Fellowship in Faith. Before relocating to Savannah, Georgia, Dr. Matthews was a lay leader at Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City, where she served on the vestry and co-led the parish’s annual offering of Commitment to Discipleship. She is now a member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on Skidaway Island, Georgia where she and her husband reside.

The Rev. Dr. Tommie Lee Watkins, Jr. is the associate rector and associate chaplain at Canterbury Chapel in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he is also a graduate professor at the University of Alabama School of Social Work. He is a spiritual director, behavioral scientist, social worker, former mathematics professor, and commercial pilot. Currently, Rev. Dr. Watkins is the only African-American priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, and the first openly gay black clergy ever ordained in that diocese.

Rev. Dr. Watkins completed his joint Doctorate in Philosophy degree from the Universities of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, and University of Alabama, Birmingham School of Public Health. Rev. Dr. Watkins graduated Cum Laude from the General Theological Seminary of The Episcopal Church in New York City in May 2016 with his Masters of Divinity (M.Div) degree. His company website www.twgllc.biz contains information on his book Living Out Loud, and news print and video of his struggle of self-acceptance as an openly gay clergy.  His favorite quote of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” As such, Rev. Dr. Watkins is compelled to continue to Live Out Loud.


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