The theology and spirituality of Open Table – A person-centred approach – A brave faith


OPEN TABLE – an ecumenical Christian worship community which offers a warm welcome to people who are: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer / Questioning, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA) and all who seek an inclusive Church – began at St Bride’s Liverpool in June 2008, meeting once a month for a communion service.

Since July 2015 we have been growing beyond Liverpool – now there are eleven active Open Table communities reaching up to 200 people a month, and we are in touch with more than forty other churches who are exploring this ministry in their communities. One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is

‘What is the theology / spirituality of Open Table?’

More:  – A brave faith

Transgender Day of Remembrance: Time for Catholics to Speak and Act – New Ways Ministry

Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance,  a time to pause to think about the many transgender people beaten and murdered over the past year, and for many years previously.  Close to 350 transgender people around the world were killed because of their gender identity since last year at this time.  25 of those who died were in the United States of America.  These are only the cases that are reported to authorities who keep a record of these statistics.

Regardless of what personal, political, or religious beliefs teach you about gender identity, these are horrific statistics which bespeak a disregard for human dignity.  Catholics, whose doctrines teach us to respect human dignity, without regard to a person’s state in life, should be outraged.  Catholic  leaders should be speaking out about this epidemic of disregard for human life.

Last year on this day, Bondings 2.0 posted a page of resources for Catholics to educate themselves and their faith communities about transgender issues and people.  You can access that page by clicking here.

More:  New Ways Ministry

Pope Francis: Indifference to the poor is a great sin | America Magazine

This morning, Pope Francis celebrated Mass for some 7,000 poor people in St. Peter’s Basilica, on the first World Day of the Poor.

Afterwards, he joined 1,500 of those who attended Mass for lunch in the Vatican’s audience hall, while the remaining thousands were given lunch in communities across the city, including at the North American College in Rome.

St. Peter’s Basilica has hosted many great events but never one entirely dedicated to the poor. At the end of the Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis decreed that every year, near the end of the church’s liturgical year, a World Day of the Poor is to be celebrated in dioceses and churches across the world, because “the poor are at the heart of the Gospel.”

More:  America Magazine

Report About the ILGA Europe Conference 2017 in Warsaw

The annual conferences of ILGA Europe have become events that cannot be missed by the European Forum. From 1st to 4th November 2017, the European Forum went five people strong: Co-Presidents Elaine Sommers and Wielie Elhorst, Eastern Europe Coordinator Tatiana Lehatkova, Project Manager Misha Cherniak, and Fundraiser Damir Kurtagic. ILGA Europe now has a membership of over 500 organisations throughout Europe and Central Asia, and 570 representatives were present. As the political situation is changing in Europe, with populist movements on the rise and human rights for several groups—such as (LGBTI) migrants—being under ever greater pressure, the theme of the conference was well chosen: “Change! Communities Mobilising, Movements Rising!”

More: European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups

Report About the ILGA Europe Conference 2017 in Warsaw

The annual conferences of ILGA Europe have become events that cannot be missed by the European Forum. From 1st to 4th November 2017, the European Forum went five people strong: Co-Presidents Elaine Sommers and Wielie Elhorst, Eastern Europe Coordinator Tatiana Lehatkova, Project Manager Misha Cherniak, and Fundraiser Damir Kurtagic. ILGA Europe now has a membership of over 500 organisations throughout Europe and Central Asia, and 570 representatives were present. As the political situation is changing in Europe, with populist movements on the rise and human rights for several groups—such as (LGBTI) migrants—being under ever greater pressure, the theme of the conference was well chosen: “Change! Communities Mobilising, Movements Rising!”

As shown by the horrendous persecution of LGBTI persons in Chechnya and the fundamental changes in political leadership in countries like Hungary and Poland, it is very important not to deny this change and to build a movement of very diverse LGBTI communities that is ever stronger and that can withstand all changes and (potential) adversity that lies ahead. Only a few of all the organisations present bring together and represent LGBTI people of faith. Four of these were present: Maruf Foundation, the European Queer Muslim Foundation, HuK (Homosexuelle und Kirche) and the European Forum. The conference, however, proved to be a great opportunity to collect information and to connect with ILGA Europe, some of its other member organisations and quite a few persons of interest, like the newly appointed General Rapporteur on the Rights of LGBTI People, Piet de Bruyn, in the Council of Europe, in which the European Forum is also present (since July 2016).

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Source: European Forum of LGBT Christians

Bishops’ Support Grows for Fr. James Martin and “Building a Bridge” – New Ways Ministry

As the conversation around Fr. James Martin’s most recent book Building a Bridge continues, more voices have spoken in affirmation of Martin and his call for dialogue between the Church and the LGBT community.

Cardinal Blase Cupich

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago spoke openly in support Martin on November 6th at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. Responding to a question about Martin’s book and the ensuing battles on social media, the cardinal said, “He really is one of the, if not the foremost evangelizer in the Church today, especially for young people.” In further expressing his support for Martin, Cupich said, “I appreciate what he’s doing.”
Although Martin has faced a tremendous amount of criticism and pushback via social media platforms from far-right Catholics, Cupich said that many of the people who condemn Martin actually failed to read his work. The cardinal’s response to Martin was to invite him to speak in the Archdiocese of Chicago:

Source: – New Ways Ministry

Why Our Guidance On Combating Bullying Is Part Of Our Vision For Education

IToday we published new guidance to Church schools on tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying. We are equipping schools with support to ensure that they can create welcoming communities where human identity in all its forms is celebrated.

One in ten pupils who are transgender have received death threats. Can you imagine how that can impact on a young life? More frequent is marginalizing through social exclusion, cyberbullying, verbal and physical abuse.

No parent, friend, teacher or governor would wish this on their own and it is incumbent on us as Christians to act to create welcoming schools where all pupils are honoured and respected members of their community. Without this fundamental element how can we enable all our children to flourish?

General Synod welcomed with great enthusiasm our vision for education back in July last year. Our vison speaks of dignity, community, hope and wisdom. It is a call for action based on the truth that every single one of us is made in the image of God and all are loved unconditionally by God.

Source: Huffington Post

Catholic bishops take on racism in society and the church | Religion News Service

The head of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ anti-racism task force told his colleagues that racism “lives in a particular and pernicious way” in the United States.

“Christ wishes to break down the walls created by the evils of racism,” Bishop George Murry of Youngstown told the bishops on Monday (Nov. 13) as they gathered in Baltimore for their annual November meeting.

“Racism still exists and has found a troubling resurgence in recent years,” he said, noting the “white supremacists and neo-Nazis [who] marched with hate-inspired messages in Charlottesville, Virginia,” in August.

Source:  Religion News Service

On nuclear weapons, Pope Francis goes beyond all previous papal teaching | Catholic Culture

Once again Pope Francis has ventured into new territory in Church teaching, with his November 10 November 10 condemnation of nuclear weapons. The Church has frequently lamented the existence of nuclear armaments, and Vatican II clearly condemned the use of any weapons that would destroy civilian population centers. Each successive Pontiff of the nuclear age has wholeheartedly endorsed the quest for disarmament. For 70 years, the leaders of the Catholic Church have pleaded for nuclear disarmament, decried the arms race, cautioned against the intentional targeting of civilians, and encouraged the exploration for new ways of ensuring peace. But until last week, Church leaders had stopped short of condemning the possession of nuclear weapons.

Source:  Catholic Culture

On Anti-LGBT Bullying, Catholic Educators Should Follow Church of England’s Lead – New Ways Ministry

The Church of England’s new guidelines on anti-bullying in schools encourage students to “play with the many cloaks of identity,” an approach that would be well-suited for Roman Catholic schools as well.

The Church of England Education Office released the document, “Valuing All God’s Children,” to help its 4,700 schools  address homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic bullying. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, offered his endorsement in the document’s foreword. NPR reported on the document’s contents:

“The 52-page document Valuing All God’s Children outlines 10 recommendations for schools such as training for faculty and staff so they are ready to offer pastoral support for students who experience homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying as well as writing curricula that ‘offer opportunities for pupils to learn to value themselves and their bodies.’

More:  New Ways Ministry