Here at the Queer Church, restructuring continues – and we’re also expanding our ministry.
I began my activities in LGBT ministry by volunteering at the Soho Masses, and went on to begin writing about LGBT faith matters here at Queering the Church. I also became involved with Quest as conference speaker, webmaster and now Quest Bulletin editor, took on additional webmaster responsibilities for the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Sexuality, and for the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics. I have also facilitated successful workshops for Quest, and on “Next Steps” in expanding LGBT ministry. During the build up to the introduction of UK equal marriage, I was a regular participant in radio and television programmes as an openly gay, Catholic advocate for equality.
I’m now expanding still further.
Video / other audio-visual resources
I am about to launch a new video series synthesising what I have learned about “How to be Happy, Catholic and Gay”, The introductory episode has been recorded, and will publish on YouTube later this week, offering a summary under 7 key principles that I have found personally helpful. Each of these will be expanded into a further episode. Some of these will later be expanded into full series of their own. One that will certainly be expanded will be “Take Back the Tradition”. This has been filmed, but awaits final editing, and will be expanded into its own series in preparation for LGBT History Month UK, in February 2016. There will be further independent series on the queer Bible, and on the science of sexuality. In addition to the video series, some of the material will also be available in Powerpoint type presentation or audio format.
Interactive learning resources
Prompted by a request from the University of Durham to both Quest and the Centre for the Study of Sexuality and Spirituality, I have agreed to begin work on a series of interactive learning resources for their new religion portal.
I have a firm commitment to host a workshop on “Next Steps in LGBT Ministry” in Liverpool next February, and agreement in principle for another in London, for May. I hope that there will be several more, during 2016.
I have been invited by Stonewall to join their panel of speakers who go into schools as LGBT role models, to speak of their experience of growing up gay. I also have agreement from my local parish, for a report back on my visit to the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics, and how as a parish we can expand local ministry to LGBT Catholics and their families.
I hope to expand this in 2016, to include speaking to many other groups, particularly other parishes.
I’ve already reported on the principle behind this, but to recap:
“Queering the Church” began in late 2009 as a simple personal blog, to share the resources that had helped me to resolve my own questions about the apparent paradox of being both gay and Catholic. It continues as before, but at this new domain, and has since expanded to embrace much more, across a range of websites.
“Queer Church News” is where I place headlines, introductory paragraphs & links to a range of notable news stories or opinion pieces elsewhere, in a range of languages to offer a much more global view than previously.
“The Queer Church Repository” is a new space intended to provide a comprehensive resource base, in different languages, of the best available relevant material from biblical study, theology, church history, natural science and social anthropology, including the satellite sites “Queer Saints, Sinners and Martyrs” (on queer church history) and “A Queer Ear for the Rainbow Scriptures” (on biblical interpretation and reflections from a queer perspective).
“Restructuring” up to now has largely been a matter or sorting through and ordering the archives, but this now steps up a gear, with a series of posts synthesising the best of what I have written, into a series of scripts for the video series “How to be Happy, Catholic and Gay”. Those scripts will be published at the Queer Church Repository, complete with links and suggestions for further reading, to develop into a truly comprehensive resource base.
In addition, the Repository is now building into its store, links and texts for notable resources from other language sources.
Support this expanded ministry.
I know from feedback from notably influential people in the LGBT Catholic / Christian community and from religious academics, that my work up to now has already been valuable. (Some of my writing has been added to the archives at the Library of Congress, for its potential historic importance). I also know from personal testimony, how useful it has been to very many ordinary lesbian and gay Catholics and other Christians. The expanded work for the year ahead will be even more valuable.
However, there’s an obvious problem – it’s an enormous amount of sheer hard work, which I do freely, with absolutely no external funding. To continue, let alone to expand as I hope to do, I need your support, This could be as a financial contribution at my GoFundMe campaign page, or indirect, by spreading the word: sharing posts, or recommending the site and my services to others.
Please help, in whatever way you can – you’ll be supporting the continuing expansion of ministry to LGBT people and their families.