Monday, October 01, 2007

Out and About - September 2007

Above and below: Autumn in Minnesota.

On September 15-16, I was honored to be part of a retreat for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Catholics - not only as a participant, but as the facilitator of one of its sessions.

The retreat was entitled “Come As You Are,” and in many ways was inspired, the organizers told me, by a previous Wild Reed post that focused on a hymn of the same name that I’d grown up with in Australia. Basically, the retreat invited those in attendance to reflect upon their spiritual journey, and explore and experience different ways of acknowledging, celebrating, and deepening their relationship with God.

The retreat was held at Dunrovin Christian Brothers Retreat Center (pictured above) just north of the town of Stillwater. It was a very beautiful and peaceful location, with lots of woods to walk through, a small lake, and an abundance of wildlife - birds, in particular.

The session I facilitated on Saturday involved participants identifying and exploring key experiences of their lives when they were gifted with an increased level of awareness and acceptance of themselves as LGBT people of faith. What were these experiences and how did they discern God present and active in them? How were they changed by these experiences? How have they helped clarify and shape their understanding of God, themselves, and the Church? That sort of thing.

Those in attendance, numbering about twenty, genuinely seemed to appreciate and benefit from the various activities and discussions I facilitated. And as a teacher by training, that’s always heartening to know!

For more about this retreat, click here.

Above: Recently, two national initiatives – the Iraq Moratorium Committee and the General Strike for Peace – called for making the third Friday of every month a day of activity against the Iraq War.

The first of these “days of activity” (or inactivity, I guess, in the case of the General Strike!) was Friday, September 21. Accordingly, I joined with approximately 40 others, including my friends Shane and Lauren (pictured above), for an anti-war protest and bannering at Mayday Plaza on the West Bank in Minneapolis.

For more images and information about this event, click here.

Above and below: On Thursday, September 27, I was one of several adults to chaperone students (including my young friend Joey) on a day of canoing on the St. Croix River.

In the photo above, Joey (who looks uncannily like Harry Potter!) is pictured with his classmate Fred in the canoe we successfully navigated down the beautiful St. Croix.

Above: Members of the Progressive Catholic Voice - Minnesota, gathered for a September 27 planning meeting.

As a newly formed coalition dedicated to reflection, dialogue, and the exchange of ideas, the Progressive Catholic Voice will seek to make audible the voice of renewal and reform within the Catholic community of Minnesota and beyond.

Above: Standing at left with fellow Progressive Catholic Voice members Mary Beckfeld; Theresa O’Brien, CSJ; and Brigid McDonald, CSJ – September 27, 2007.

I’m honored to be part of this new coalition – one whose first initiative will be the October 4 launch of a monthly e-newsletter entitled The Progressive Catholic Voice. This e-newsletter will list upcoming events and contain interviews and articles written for and by Catholics who share the call to actively participate in the ongoing renewal of the Roman Catholic Church.

October 4 is, of course, the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi (whose portrait by Jon Giuliani can be seen in the photograph above). We purposely chose St. Francis as the e-newsletter’s patron saint as, in his time, he heard and responded to God’s call to “repair my Church.” This call continues to resound today in a Roman Catholic Church that, at its worst, is corroded and weakened by clericalism, hypocrisy, intellectual dishonesty, a profound lack of imagination, and a monarchical mindset and structure totally contrary to Jesus’ egalitarian model of community.

I’ll share more about The Progressive Catholic Voice e-newsletter (including how you can subscribe to it) in a future post.

Above: The leaves of many of the trees may be turning and beginning to fall, but there are still some beautiful flowers blooming in my front garden - such as these asters. I also have some sunflowers in spectacular full bloom in my backyard!

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Back in the USA
It Sure Was Cold!
An Energizing and Spirited Weekend
Out and About - April 2007
Out and About - May 2007
Out and About - June 2007
Out and About - July 2007
Out and About - August 2007


Anonymous said...

Looking forward to reading Progressive Catholic Voice.

I'd definitely like to subscribe.

Michael J. Bayly said...

Hi Eileen,

I have your e-mail address and will be sure you get on our e-mailing list for The Progressive Catholic Voice. Thanks for expressing your support and interest.

By the way, do you know what's happened to Winnipeg Catholic and his blogsite? The latter no longer seems operational. It basically contains ads and there's no way of accessing previous posts or Winnipeg Catholic's profile. Any idea of what's going on?