| Letter from the Executive Director
This seminar has been my dream for 35 years – bringing the fields of sexuality and religion into creative dialogue. Its purpose is to bring together individuals involved in sexuality and in religion to discuss (and hopefully integrate into curriculum) some of the vital challenges that face both the sexuality field and religious institutions.
As an ordained American Baptist minister serving a local church, I was faced with a wide variety of sexuality issues that I had never dealt with in my seminary training. This seems to be a common occurrence among pastoral clergy. To me, the key is developing curriculum in our seminaries that will address these issues and equip our pastors for the sexuality challenges that face them. While it is important for clergy to know about sexuality, it is also essential that religion offer the field of sexuality the moral and theological implications that will result in promoting sexual health and responsible sexual behavior.
We are bringing together many seminaries from across the theological spectrum. We want to present the best in sexuality information, research, and best practices – and work within the theological spectrum to integrate the material into each theological framework. Our purpose is not to change anyone's theological stance, but rather to find a relevant way to make that theological stance meet today's sexual challenges.
The conference will cover some of the most sensitive topics, not for argument or debate, but for clarification, understanding and appreciation of what each seminary curriculum can offer to its students. We will look at biological anomalies, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, lifestyle issues, sex and the internet (a huge new issue in contemporary society), as well as love, intimacy and relationships. We will consider ways of teaching and dialoguing. Our faculty includes dynamic professionals representing a complete and broad theological spectrum.
We hope this event will be an inspiration, as well as a learning experience for everyone who participates.
William R. Stayton
The Center for Sexuality and Religion