Vanderbilt to host Sexuality and Black Churches conference

Complex issues around the black church’s response to sexual issues will be explored at a public conference at Vanderbilt University.

The “Loving the Body? Sexuality and Black Churches” conference will be held Feb. 21-23 at various locations on the Vanderbilt campus.

The conference is free and open to the public.

“This conference will offer those interested in black churches some ways to more fully and honestly engage sexuality in worship and practice, and declare a love for black bodies that calls one to action and reverences God’s miraculous design,” said Constance Dunlap, a Vanderbilt Divinity School student and coordinator of the conference.

“The goal of this conference is to challenge those who attend to address and respond to matters sexual, ever hopeful that the cries of ‘Where are the black churches in our time of suffering?’ can finally be answered with a resounding, ‘Here we are, Lord. Send us.’”

Keynote speeches will be delivered by the Rev. Horace Griffin, a pastoral theologian and director of field education at The General Theological Seminary in New York, and Kelly Brown Douglas, who holds the Elizabeth Conolly Todd Distinguished Professorship at Goucher College.

Griffin speaks at 1:45 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, at the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center. Douglas will speak at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, in the arts room of Vanderbilt Divinity School.

Other highlights of the conference include a discussion about Black Sexuality in Religious Media at 6:15 p.m. Feb. 21 in the arts room of Vanderbilt Divinity School and Feb. 22 sessions from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sexuality, Education and Youth; Pastoral Care for Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual and Queer Communities; and Domestic Violence. On Saturday there will be a day-long session on discussing sex with teens.

The conference is sponsored by the Carpenter Program in Religion, Gender and Sexuality at Vanderbilt Divinity School. For more information, call (615) 936-8453.

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

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