In Nick’s view, they had to…they had no option but to change…when, in 2014, a teenager in the church, Lizzie Lowe, took her own life. Utterly shocking and devastating of course for her family, her friends and the church family in which she’d grown up, but even more so when it transpired that Lizzie had come to realise that she was gay, and couldn’t see how her faith and her sexuality could co-exist – the chasm between those 2 parts of herself had, in her mind, become just too wide to cross.
Nick talks of the moment, as he walked down the steps of the coroners court from the inquest in which the probable reasons behind Lizzie’s death had been described, when he knew that things had to be different. ‘I remember thinking….that’s it, my traditional conservative view of sexuality has gone, it can never be the same again. A new chapter is beginning and I have no idea what it looks like, but from this point, everything’s going to be different, whatever the cost.’
Faith Hope and Love Dr Gemma Simmonds, a sister with Congregation of Jesus, has written a book designed to be a guide to doing your own retreat at home. It’s called ‘Dancing at the Still Point: Retreat practices for a busy life’.