About Terence Weldon:

About Terence Weldon:

Catholic, gay, partnered; a father and a grandfather.

I am openly gay, openly Catholic, originally from South Africa, partnered, a father of two daughters and have four grandchildren. I am actively involved in pastoral ministry and advocacy for gay and lesbian Catholics (and other Christians).

My Journey in Faith

Me

I’m a cradle Catholic, educated entirely in Catholic schools at the time of Vatican II (high school years), and lived for over half a century in South Africa, against the background of the rise and fall of apartheid. Between them, these two have given me a perspective on the church and the Gospels with a definite emphasis on equality, justice, and full inclusion for all. This directly colours my views on justice, equality and inclusion for all inside the church, as well as outside it.
The central irony of my life is that as a young man, I attempted to live entirely in compliance with church teaching – which led to an early marriage and two daughters soon after. The marriage gradually broke down, both my wife and I drifted away from any religious practice or even (in my case) belief. After the final split, I was able to do what for years I had avoided, and accepted finally that I am gay. After coming out and settling down with a man in a shared home and committed partnership – it was he who gradually led me back to full and active participation in the Catholic Church.
Since coming to the UK nine years ago, I have been heavily involved in the Soho Masses, and in view of my own experience of reconciling the apparent conflict between my orientation and my faith, have made it my business to learn as much as I could about the intersection of these two issues, faith and sexuality. As I began to learn, I felt a desire (or calling?) to share what I had learned, with others, and so started the blog over Christmas / New Year four years ago. Maintaining it, together with continuing to think and learn, and  direct involvement in LGBT ministry wherever I find it, has become an obsession, and in effect a full-time job – most regrettably, entirely unpaid.
I live in South West Surrey with my partner, Raymond, and also participate actively in my local Catholic parish, where I make no attempt to hide or downplay either my sexuality, or my involvement with LGBT Catholic activism (and have had an extremely supportive response from fellow parishioners and the two local priests).
Me at our ride tall after the march, 2009
Me at our Pride stall after the London Gay Pride march, 2009

Twelve years ago I became a regular participant at what were then  called the “Soho Masses” for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Catholics, their friends and their families. Since then, I have become ever more deeply involved in gay Catholic activism and ministry,  as a blogger, speaker, committee member for LGBT and other faith organizations, and as webmaster for a range of sites.

(I have aroused fierce opposition from some Catholics, because of what they see as my “dissent” from Catholic teaching. I see it differently. I disagree with some details of teaching, which are not in fact central to the Catholic faith, and do so in the knowledge that disagreement in conscience is fully in accordance with Catholic teaching. I have come to my disagreement on detail, by an intensely Catholic process of prayer, study and discernment of the whole body of teaching and scripture, rather than simple blind obedience to a handful of verses or catechism clauses, taken in isolation).

Major Activities:

  • When the archdiocese of Westminster approached the Soho Masses about a possible move to the Catholic parish in Warwick Street, I was one of the team that met with Bishop Longley to discuss the issue.
  • Soon after, I began writing on matters of LGBT faith at this site, and others.
  • After the “Soho Masses” moved to Warwick Street, I took on responsibility for organizing and training our team of readers and eucharistic ministers.
  • In 2011,  I led a workshop at the LGCM thirty fifth anniversary conference on  LGBT history in the Catholic Church.
  • In 2012, I was a keynote speaker on the same theme at the Quest annual conference, for the queen’s diamond jubilee, looking back on 60 years of queer faith “Sixty Glorious Years”.
  • Since the 2012 conference, I have served on the Quest national committee, for which I am now the webmaster and recently appointed editor of Quest Bulletin.
  • Also in 2012, as part of the World Pride celebrations, I participated in a London “Next Steps” workshop in LGBT ministry, led by Frank DeBenardo of New Ways Ministry.
  • In 2013 I adapted the basic framework of that workshop for British conditions, and led a highly successful workshop at the Jesuit spirituality centre at Mount Street, London.
  • In 2014, for LGBT History month, I delivered a presentation on “Queer Saints, Sinners and Martyrs in Church History”, at the University of East Anglia.
  • For Quest Conference 2014, I led a highly successful workshop on the Gospel story of Emmaus, and its importance for LGBT Catholics. I have since written a detailed report on its findings, a copy of which has been given to Cardinal Vincent Nichols.
  • I have recently (2015) been appointed webmaster for the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics.

Other Activities:

  • For some years, I have been active in my local parish, as a reader, choir member and leader of small faith discussion groups. I am completely open about my sexuality, partner and gay activism – and have received from the parish not only acceptance, but active encouragement and support.
  • I have by now had discussions or correspondence with three different English bishops on LGBT inclusion in church, and hope to continue with many more.
  • My interests extend beyond the narrow field of lesbian and gay inclusion in the Catholic Church, and am a committee member and webmaster for the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Sexuality, and their associated “Theological Educators” project, which provided training in sexuality and gender for those involved in ministerial  training or practice across a range of Christian denominations.
  • During the years leading up to the British gay marriage legislation, I was a regular participant as an openly gay Catholic advocate for gay marriage, in a range of radio and television discussion programmes.
  • I have recently been invited to join a queer theology study group, which will be meeting regularly in Brighton.

My Blogs and Websites:

Planned Expansion:

Looking ahead, I hope to extend my present activities in LGBT ministry into more direct ministry, as a speaker and workshop facilitator, and by adding video blogging (“vlogging”) to my present blogging.

Funding Campaign:

All the above work is entirely voluntary, and unpaid. Fortunately, I have a partner and do not have to worry about rent or mortgage expenses, but I do have to pay a share of grocery and household running costs. For income, I depend on three part – time jobs. Of these, the primary one is working evenings as a delivery driver. In practice, far from providing my with an income, my activities in ministry have up to now been subsidized by my work at near minimum wage rates, for example to pay for internet and computer costs, and because any time spent evenings,  for meetings or conferences, involves a loss of income. Some of my travel expenses are recoverable from the organizations involved, some are not.

To expand my ministry as I would like to do, I simply need some direct funding. I have now launched a crowdfunding campaign at Go Fund Me. If you would like to support me in my work, please consider either donating directly yourself, or if you are unable to do so, to help by sharing the link with your like – minded friends.

Remember – it’s not only the actual amount of money that’s important. Just as important, is the emotional and spiritual boost it gives me, just to know that there are people out there who are offering support, in large donations, in small donations, or just by sharing.

Terry

A.M.D.G.

(Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam – “To the greater glory of God”)

 

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3 thoughts on “About Terence Weldon:”

  1. Hello,

    I am Head of Projects and Programmes for the LGBT charity Stonewall, and wanted if possible the chance to speak with you about some of your work.

    One of our programmes (School Role Models) asks LGBT people to speak in schools about their experiences. We have some quite high profile role models including Sir Ian McKellan. more recently we have been expanding school role models to include larger numbers of Role Models of faith.

    I was wondering whether or not you would be interested in participating in the programme.

    While our role models are not paid, we cover all expenses and provide free training. Anecdotally I can tell you that our role models all say they get a lot out of completing visits.

    If you have any questions or queries please do not hesitate to contact me, I’ll be happy to answer them.

    Many thanks,

    Dominic Arnall
    Head of Projects and Programmes
    Stonewall

    1. Hello Dominic – glad you’ve made contact. I’d dearly love to speak to you too, but that will be difficult right now, as I’m in Rome, and contactable only on mobile, which will be prohibitive roaming costs.

      I’d be very happy to get into an email of facebook messaging exchange, or if it can wait a short while, I’ll be with my daughter in Switzerland from Tuesday, and could talk then on landline at more reasonable rates. Or, if you can wait a little longer, I’ll be back in the UK from Monday 12th. We could talk then on the phone – or even better, I could come up to London to meet face to face.

      I really would like a proper meeting – I’ve been wanting to speak to Stonewall for some time, about projects of my own I’ve been planning, and others in conjunction with Quest, the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Sexuality, and a LGBT/queer input to a proposed religion portal being set up by Durham University. I also have ideas for LGBT history month next February, focussing on queer church history.

      1. I should also add that speaking to schools, specifically Catholic schools, is something I would dearly like to do. Not only can I speak about my own experience, which I think is important in itself for what it says about Catholic teaching and how it clearly did not work for me, I can also offer a great deal of information from formal, approved Church teaching that is surprisingly supportive, and more than enough information to counter the common misperception that the Catholic Church is somehow “opposed” to homosexuality.

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