CALGM NEWS IN THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER
We were recently interviewed by the National Catholic Reporter about our recent interactions with the hierarchy. The story can be found here:
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In June with the support of a grant I was able to attend the annual gathering of the European Forum for LGBT Christian Groups in Barcelona, Spain. I was very impressed to meet attendees from a variety of countries in Europe, including places where LGBT persons face great challenges such as Eastern Europe. On the first day of the conference men and women met in separate focus groups to share their experience and challenges. One of these challenges was the implications of male power in church leaders and structures that lead to silence, denial, and idealization of church around sexuality and sexual abuse. Plenary sessions were presented in the Catalan language with ear phone translations into English and the Spanish of the rest of Spain. Talks addressed gender issues in theology, science and law. Among religious denominations, there were similar concerns about the negative attitudes of religious authorities toward LGBT persons and their basic human rights, including access to ministry.
Martin Pendergast from London, who has attended a couple of our conferences, co-led with me a workshop on models of ministry in the Catholic community. Attendees from England, Italy, and Germany saw their ministry challenge as tough, risky and necessary.
Among those who attended the European Forum was a representative of the Russian-speaking Christian LGBT Forum in Moscow who is also in contact with groups in Kiev and St. Petersburg. Theirs is an underground connection since there is a fear of the government. They will host an Eastern European forum gathering this September in Kiev.
On Saturday evening of the Forum we gathered in the old gothic area of Barcelona for an ecumenical religious service in a welcoming Franciscan parish.
The European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups has existed for 29 years! Their 30th conference will be next year in Berlin. This brought to my mind the wonderful challenge and opportunity for the future of an Americas Forum with people from U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central and Latin America.
After a few more days of vacation in Barcelona my trip ended with a day trip to Montserrat, a wondrous mountain ridge on which are a Benedictine monastery and a beautiful basilica church. From the height of the mountain one could almost see forever. It was a fitting conclusion to the shared visions of Christians in Europe who seek to find their way toward full life in Christ.
CALGM ON THE ROAD
During April CALGM presented an exhibit at the National Catholic Educational Association conference in Minneapolis. This annual national conference brought together 8,000 participants. For three days teachers, administrators, counselors, parents, priests and religious stopped by our exhibit to take resource materials on creating safe school environments, welcoming parishes, and supportive parents and families. They also asked many questions, learned about CALGM and often were amazed by our presence. Some were not sure what to say or do in their schools, but recognized the need to address the challenges on their campuses and in their parishes. Among those who stopped by for resources and conversation were representatives from Puerto Rico and Guam. The most frequent comment was “thank you for being here.” It was a wonderful opportunity to reach Catholic leaders engaged in education and support work with youth and young adults. We are grateful for the foundation grant that made our presence possible.
CALGM EN EL CAMINO
Durante abril CALGM presentó una exposición en el Congreso de la Asociación nacional de Educación Católica, en Minneapolis. Esta conferencia nacional anual reunió a 8.000 participantes. Durante tres días los maestros, administradores, consejeros, sacerdotes, y religiosos hicieron una parada por nuestra exposición para tomar materiales de recursos sobre la creación de ambientes escolares seguros, parroquias acogedoras, y padres de apoyo y familias. Ellos también hicieron muchas preguntas, aprendieron sobre CALGM y a menudo se sorprendieron por nuestra presencia. Algunos no estaban seguros de qué decir o hacer en sus escuelas, pero reconocieron la necesidad de afrontar los desafíos en sus campus y en sus parroquias. Entre los que hicieron una parada para obtener recursos y conversar se encontraban representantes de Puerto Rico y Guam. El comentario más frecuente fue "gracias por estar aquí." Fue una oportunidad maravillosa para llegar a los líderes católicos comprometidos en la educación y el trabajo de apoyo con los jóvenes y los adultos jóvenes. Estamos agradecidos por la donación de la Fundación que hizo posible nuestra presencia.
Spring 2010 Retreats
Fr. Jim Schexnayder, CALGM Resource Director, led three retreats for Lesbian and Gay Catholics and other Christians this Spring:
1. A Lenten Retreat Day on March 13th at Vallombrosa Retreat Center in Menlo Park, California: “OUR PRODIGAL GOD: MORE LOVE THAN WE CAN HANDLE”
2. A weekend retreat, May 21st-23rd at the Jesuit Spirituality Center in Grand Coteau, Louisiana: “GIFTED AND CALLED FOR A PURPOSE IN GOD’S DESIGN”
3. A weekend retreat, May 28th-30th at the Franciscan Center in Tampa, Florida: “I AM WHO I AM BY THE GRACE OF GOD”