Here’s the issue with LGBT ministry in the Church: people like to ignore it as much as possible. And they do this with some success, until…
- a family member comes out after attempting suicide,
- or they decide to fire a gay person working for the Church,
- or they come to terms with their own (non-straight) sexuality.
But because they’ve ignored the issue, they’re totally unequipped to address it in their lives and churches.
The Revoice conference in St. Louis this summer wants to try to equip people before this. Come see me and some of my friends in St. Louis, as we try to address LGBT flourishing in historic Christian traditions!
Also, contact your diocesan office and see if the diocese would be willing to send someone to the conference, so that the diocese can learn more about how to address these questions. I’d recommend emailing the director of marriage and family life. You can usually find the relevant email address on the diocesan website. If you don’t know what to say, feel free to copy my email below (replacing names and personal info as necessary, of course):
Dear Ms. X,
My name is Chris Damian. I am a Catholic young adult living in St. Paul and a parishioner of St. Mark’s. I also identify as gay, while happily upholding the teachings of the Church in full. I’m writing to you because I wanted to let your office know about an upcoming conference this summer in St. Louis. Revoice 2018 is a new conference dedicated to supporting, encouraging, and empowering gay, lesbian, same-sex-attracted, and other LGBT Christians so they can experience the life-giving character of the historic Christian tradition. It will bring in a number of Christian speakers, many of whom are Catholic and who want to help others as they navigate issues related to homosexuality while upholding a traditional Christian sexual ethic.
In the past, the American Catholic Church has struggled in ministering to people who identify as gay, lesbian, and same-sex-attracted. It seems to me that the approach of many dioceses has been most characterized by fear when it comes to these questions. This pains me, especially since the Church has such a deep tradition to draw from and a compelling image of human sexuality. I hope that this conference, and others like it, can help churches move forward in addressing these questions in today’s contexts, while upholding all the riches of their millennia-old traditions and teachings.
What this conference does is bring together people who have been doing this work, and are dedicated to doing it joyfully. The speakers have diverse backgrounds, and there will be workshops on a wide range of topics, including outreach to the broader LGBT community, parenting an LGBT child, making sense of controversial biblical passages, building community, and navigating celibacy. I believe that this conference could be very helpful for Catholic dioceses as they move forward in ministering to and working with those who identify as gay, lesbian, or same-sex-attracted. I strongly hope that your office (or another office of the Archdiocese) will consider sending someone to the conference. I do understand, however, that Catholic dioceses operate on limited budges. At the very least, I thought I should notify you about the conference.
I wish you well in your work. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or would like any additional information. More information and registration for the conference can be found at http://www.revoice.us.