Gathering Voices 2019 – speakers and breakout group leaders

Keynote speakers

Luke Dowding is the Executive Director of OneBodyOneFaith. He previously worked within the advertising industry in London.

Luke is a fervent campaigner and fundraiser for LGBT+ rights in Albania, and patron for Streha: the first shelter for LGBTQ+ homeless young people in the Balkans. He believes that at the core of Christian identity is the inclusion of the marginalised regardless of their beliefs or orientation.

Luke’s marriage to Steven, at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, was the first same-gender marriage held within the Baptist Union of Great Britain.

Luke has a degree in Theology from Spurgeon’s College and a Masters in Biblical Studies from King’s College London. He is a Deacon and Trustee at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, and Co-Director of Affirm a UK network of Baptist Christians working together for LGBT+ inclusion. He finds time to be a Stonewall School and Faith Role Model and Committee Chair for Christians at Pride in London.

You can follow @LukaDowding on Twitter.

Dr Carol Shepherd is a Sociology Lecturer at Andover College and Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Winchester, UK.

Carol has done much research on the perception that bisexual Christians have on their selves and their sexuality, and frequently speaks on issues relating to bisexuality, Christianity, and mental health

Her book Bisexuality and the Western Christian Church: The Damage of Silence (2019, Palgrave) critically examines the lived experiences of bisexual Christians across a range of Christian traditions here in the UK and in the USA.

Under a psudonym, she also published an autobigraphical work 119: My Life as a Bisexual Christian – a personal account of how the system failed her as an individual, and the failure of a whole system to recognise and provide for a whole group of people within it.

Carol is secretary of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups.

You can follow @bispacemission on Twitter.

Breakout group leaders

Kieran Bohan is originally from London, now living in Liverpool.

He trained for the Roman Catholic priesthood in his 20s, but chose not to be ordained. He is now a lay member of the leadership team at St Bride’s CofE Church in Toxteth.

In May 2012 he and his partner celebrated the first civil partnership to be registered in a place of worship in the UK.

In March 2019 Kieran was commissioned by the Archdeacon of Liverpool as a Missional Leader with responsibility for outreach and pastoral care for the LGBT+ community, and training around gender and sexuality issues for faith communities, in the Diocese of Liverpool.

He co-ordinates Open Table, a network of ecumenical worship communities for LGBTQIA+ Christians and all who seek and inclusive church. He is also part-time chaplain for a regional Christian charity supporting vulnerable adults.

You can follow @opentablelgbt on Twitter.

Fr Julian Hollywell is a parish priest, living as Vicar of Spondon and an experienced Spiritual Director walking alongside diverse people from different contexts.

Fr Julian believes “We are all created, held, and nurtured in God’s love – whatever our gender or heritage, whether we are straight or gay, regardless of disability or mental health issue.”

Fr Julian also co-founded the Open Table Derby community in 2018.

You can follow @RevJFH on Twitter.

Jade Irwin is National Director of Diverse Church (DC).

She has a wide experience of working in religious and non-religious youthwork settings as a Youth and Family worker in Belfast.

Prior to becoming National Director, she led sessions on DC National Meet Up Days, and been involved with leading the Belfast hub for DC18, and been on the host team setting up DC19.

You can follow @jade_irwin on Twitter

David Monteith, Dean of Leicester

The Very Revd David Monteith has been Dean of Leicester since 2013 and had the lead role in the Diocese for interring the remains of Richard III in Leicester Cathedral in March 2015.

Originally from Enniskillen in Northern Ireland, David has previously served Birmingham and London, including at St Martin-in-the-Fields.

He is committed to living with diversity – living in Leicester, one of the most multicultural cities in Britain. The cathedral offers generous Christian hospitality to all.

David shares long-term interests in music, poetry and the visual arts. He shares his life in a Civil Partnership with David Hamilton.

You can follow @davidrmmonteith on Twitter.

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