A Hawarden-based library will play host to activist and author Andrew Graystone, who will give a talk about religious abuse and how the Church can do better.

Mr Graystone is the Political Writer in Residence at Gladstone's Library, which regularly hosts events. His talk takes place on January 23 at 3pm online and in person at the library.

He said: "The provocative question is: is the Church institutionally abusive? Is the structure of the institution such that abuse is unavoidable?"

Mr Graystone has written a number of books including Faith, Hope and Mischief, which touches on the moment he went viral for what he described as a "tiny act of rebellion".

A Tweeted selfie, taken as he held up a sign in a moment of solidarity with Muslim worshippers following the Christchurch mosque attacks in 2019, was shared and liked hundreds of thousands of times.

His upcoming talk, Can the Church Heal?, partly draws on his most recent book Bleeding for Jesus, which details the story of John Smyth QC, who was excommunicated after being accused of serious physical abuse in the Church of England.

He said: "The book forms the basis of the talk, but actually it's a jumping-off point to look at how the Church responded to abuse, and the ways in which it failed to respond.

"This response, in the main, has been legal and managerial. There are now safeguarding officers across the country, but, when I checked, none of them came from a Christian or pastoral background."

Mr Graystone argues that a philosophical and theological perspective to the problem remains unconsidered.

He said: "Part of the talk will involve suggesting ways to approach abuse from these perspectives.

"The talk is titled Can the Church Heal?, which has a double meaning; I am going to explore whether the Church can heal victims of abuse and heal itself."

Peter Francis, warden and director of Gladstone's Library said he looked forward to welcoming Andrew.

He said: "Andrew's book and ideas are a significant step toward a process of healing and of building trust between Church and society."

• Online and in-person tickets are available for the talk. For more details visit www.gladstoneslibrary.org/events/events-courses-list or call the library reception on 01244 532 350.