Monday, December 28, 2009

CPCSM's Year in Review

Following are excerpts from the Christmas letter of the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM), the 29-year-old organization that I’ve had the honor of serving as executive coordinator since the spring of 2003.

Many of the events mentioned in this letter have been highlighted, in one way or another, at The Wild Reed. Accordingly, many of the links within the following version of the letter will take you to previous Wild Reed posts.


Dear Friends of CPCSM, Progressive Catholic Voice, and Catholic Rainbow Parents,

It’s once again that time of year when we thank you for your past support of CPCSM and request your support for the year ahead. All of us at CPCSM are acutely aware of the difficult economic times we are living through, yet the need for an organization like CPCSM remains. This is especially true as we continue to witness a sustained backlash within the church against any type of theological discourse and/or pastoral practice that is sensitive to and informed by the experiences of LGBT persons and their loved ones.

Despite this, we remain hopeful and dedicated to being the change we long to see in the church. Accordingly, we remain committed to coalition building and the taking of proactive measures so as to counter the reactionary and regressive efforts within our local Catholic community. In doing this, we believe we’re contributing to a global movement that’s bringing about renewal and reform – and thus hope and justice – to the Catholic Church.

Recently, an anonymous donor made a generous contribution to CPCSM – one that will ensure that we will be able to pay Michael Bayly his modest stipend as executive coordinator into the first quarter of the new year. We would, however, like to see the funding for Michael’s position secured for all of next year. This means we are hoping to raise $8,000. Anything that you can give to ensure the meeting of this goal would be greatly appreciated.

Our hope is that this one anonymous person’s generous gift, coupled with the following images and descriptions of some of the coalition-building and proactive measures we’ve engaged in during the past year [since November 2008], will inspire you in your continued support of the work of CPCSM.


Above: CPCSM co-founder David McCaffrey and CPCSM executive coordinator Michael Bayly hold a banner (provided by Mike and Mary Lynn Murphy) on the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol during a November 15, 2008 rally to protest the passage of California’s Proposition 8, as well as the passage of amendments banning same-gender marriage in Arizona and Florida.

Above: CPCSM executive coordinator Michael Bayly (right) stands with the four guest speakers at the second session of CPCSM’s 2009 Bill Kummer Forum – Monday, March 30, 2009 – who shared about their long-term committed relationships. From left: Jacqueline White, a Catholic bisexual woman married to a transgender man; Rob Dingmann and Brian Miller, parishioners at St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis who have been together for 15 years and who exchanged their vows at a commitment service 13 years ago; and Beth Hentges, a member of Dignity Twin Cities, who, with her same-gender partner of 15 years, is raising two children.

This year’s Bill Kummer Forum was a three-part series entitled “Catholic and LGBT,” and was specifically directed to priests and pastoral care professionals within the local church.

Above: Members of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR) board – including, at far right, outgoing CPCSM president Mary Beckfeld and CPCSM executive coordinator Michael Bayly. CCCR is a coalition of reform-minded organizations within the local church dedicated to the building of a church “fully alive, locally and universally, that radiates Jesus’ core teaching of radical equality, unabashed inclusivity, and transforming love.”

Other members of the CCCR board featured in this photo include (clockwise from left) Connie Aligada, Bernie Rodel, Dan DeWan, Eileen Rodel, Dorothy Irvin, and Paula Ruddy. Organizations within the coalition include CPCSM, Call to Action-MN, Roman Catholic Womenpriests-MN, Dignity Twin Cities, CORPUS, and MN St. Joan’s Community.

Above: The third annual CPCSM Prayer Breakfast for Hope and Justice - Saturday, April 18, 2009. This year's breakfast also served to launch the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform and as an opportunity to begin planning a series of “Synods of the Baptized” within the local church of Minneapolis-St. Paul. The first of these synods will take place on September 18, 2010.

Entitled “Many Voices, One Church,” the April 18 prayer breakfast at the Metropolitan Ballroom in Minneapolis featured Janet Hauter, vice-president of Voice of the Faithful (national) and co-chair of the American Catholic Council, as keynote speaker.

Above: Minnesota Senator John Marty, who was this year’s recipient of CPCSM’s Bishop Thomas Gumbleton Peace and Justice Award. Sen. Marty was presented with his award at CPCSM’s 29th Annual Community Meeting, held June 22 at St. Martin’s Table Restaurant and Bookstore.

Sen. Marty, also the keynote speaker at the annual gathering, spoke eloquently about his ongoing efforts to achieve marriage equality for all Minnesotans.

Above: Young visitors to the CPCSM booth at the Twin Cities Gay Pride Festival – June 27-28, 2009. We definitely had many more young people come and visit our booth this year than in previous years – something that we find to be quite hopeful.

These young visitors were very happy to find a Catholic presence at Gay Pride. They were especially excited to see the information we had about the Catholic Rainbow Parents. It’s clear that these young Catholics are looking for alternative theological thinking on the issue of homosexuality than that offered by the Vatican - thinking that actually reflects and is informed by the lived experience of LGBT people. They are also looking for positive information and insights on the issue that they can pass on to their parents – some of whom continue to struggle with the news of their child’s “coming out” as gay. Not surprisingly, the Catholic Rainbow Parents’ 2005 Declaration remains a source of great hope and inspiration for many.

Above: On October 8, 2009, CPCSM executive coordinator Michae Bayly was part of a group of local religious leaders that gathered at the Minnesota State Capitol to speak out in support of marriage equality for same-gender couples.

Right: Retired Bishop Lowell Erdahl of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), Pastor Doug Donley of University Baptist Church of Minneapolis, and Michael Bayly.

For more images and commentary about this special event, click here and here.

Above: CPCSM executive coordinator Michael Bayly (left) and CPCSM co-founder David McCaffrey (right) stand with guest speakers (from left) Philip Lowe, Jr. and Dr. Simon Rosser at the November 17 CPCSM event “Holding the Courage Apostolate Accountable: The Catholic Church, Homosexuality, and Reparative Therapy.”

This event garnered coverage in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Aspects of this coverage, however, were unfortunately erroneous and problematic. (See the previous Wild Reed posts: For the Record and My Response to Archbishop Flynn.)


Friends, as you can see it’s been a very eventful year for all of us – a year that’s been both challenging and rewarding. We are happy and proud to continue our role as one of a very few prominent LGBT-affirming progressive Catholic voices in both our church and the wider society.

Rest assured, we plan on hosting a range of proactive events in 2010 (see enclosed flyers) – events that will enrich and empower the local Catholic community to participate in the evolving life of the Church.

None of this could be accomplished, however, without the support of each of you, our dear and valued friends. As 2009 ebbs, CPCSM needs your help to stay financially afloat. We continue to institute various cost-saving measures and to participate as a member group in the Community Shares Minnesota fund. We also continue to maintain a very modest budget, relying on many volunteer hours. As always, we greatly appreciate the many members of CPCSM who support us with their prayers, donations, and volunteer time and energy. Your financial and moral support as ministry partners remains a critical lifeline for us.

Given the current times and the chancery’s current dismissive stance on CPCSM and its ministry, there has been a marked chilling effect within many parishes that previously had supported us. Foundations are also experiencing difficult times as the number of organizations requesting funding increases. The specific focus of our ministry also limits the funding opportunities that are available to us.

Needless to say, our ministry is completely independent of the Archdiocese and we receive no financial support from it. All of our operating support comes from small grants and individual donations. It may be helpful to recall that the Minnesota Tax Code now provides a 50% income deduction for charitable contributions over $500.

Friends, we are incredibly grateful for your past support, and hope that we can continue to rely on your generosity and kindness as we continue to live out our ministry under difficult financial conditions and an increasingly reactionary climate within the church. We thus ask you again for your support as together we work for justice and compassion for LGBT people within our church and society.

Peace and every blessing of Christmas
to you and your loved ones,
from all of us at CPCSM, Progressive Catholic Voice,
and Catholic Rainbow Parents.

Mary Beckfeld
Outgoing President

David McCaffrey
Co-founder and Incoming President

Michael Bayly
Executive Coordinator

Rick Notch

Paul Fleege

Susan Kramp

Tom Murr

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
CPCSM’s Year in Review (2008)
CPCSM’s Year in Review (2007)
CPCSM’s Year in Review (2006)
CPCSM and the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis (Part 1)

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