As part of Sr. Camille D’Arienzo’s regular interviews with extraodinary “ordinary” Catholics in the National Catholic Reporter, Fr. Ron Cioffi reflected upon his 47 years as an ordained priest. He spoke about being raised Catholic, his call to ordained ministry, connections with the Catholic Worker movement, and most of all the parish in New Jersey where he has served for many years. Then, asked if there is anything else readers should know, the priest came out, tying together beautifully his sexual identity with his vocation:
“Yes, I am a gay person whose self-identity includes an abiding call to ministry in our church. I wish to testify that there is nothing in seriously living out my life as a priest that dissuades me from any other conclusion than that my orientation is a blessing from God for use in and for the church that is called to help each of us discern and celebrate the good and always affirming love of God for all persons.”
“In sharing this deeply personal fact, I hope it will give courage and hope to so many people who find their minority status a deeply wounding and unrelieved burden that too few religious leaders have moved to redress with a healing that acknowledges one’s full human dignity.”Earlier in the interview, Fr. Cioffi said he had an as yet unrealized goal of establishing an outreach committee with a “focus on welcoming and credibly supporting” LGBT people. He explained at the interview’s end how his coming out as a gay priest might advance that welcome and support:
Despite research suggesting that a high percentage of Catholic priests are gay, there are very few priests who are out publicly. Like other out gay priests before him, Fr. Cioffi provides an example which helps combat the stigma that keeps too many clergy silenced. Such an example can heal the wounds of exclusion that too many LGBT people bear because of church ministers. This witness is, most certainly, a blessing from God!
–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry
Newlyweds Mpho and Marceline Tutu-Van Furth are on honeymoon on the Indian Ocean island of Bali after their wedding at a Franschhoek wine estate attended by Mpho’s parents, Leah and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
“Bali is quite magical,” said Mpho in an email to City Press, adding that she had decided to “give up” her ministerial duties – her authority to preside at Holy Communion, and to officiate at weddings, baptisms and funerals in South Africa.
“Because the South African Anglican Church does not recognise our marriage, I can no longer exercise my priestly ministry in South Africa,” she said. “The bishop of the Diocese of Saldanha Bay [Bishop Raphael Hess] was instructed to revoke my licence.
“I decided that I would give it to him rather than have him take it, a slightly more dignified option with the same effect.”
While same-sex marriage was legalised in South Africa in 2006, the South African Anglican law on marriage states: “Holy matrimony is the lifelong and exclusive union between one man and one woman.”
Source: City Press
The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has voted to allow ministers to continue to serve if they are in a gay marriage.The historic vote on the first day of this year’s gathering in Edinburgh draws a line under a row which has split the Kirk for nine years.Commissioners voted by 339 votes to 215 in favour of the move.The decision means that same sex civil marriage will be permitted for ministers.However, they will not themselves be allowed to conduct gay weddings within the church.
Source: – BBC News
The Rev. Cynthia Meyer said she was “called by God to be open and honest” about who she is. So, during her first sermon of 2016, Meyer broke the news: She loves another woman.
“I’ve been praying, and in a process of discernment for some time, particularly over the past few years, once I entered into a relationship,” said Meyer, pastor of Edgerton United Methodist Church.
Meyer, 53, was ordained in 1992 and served for 12 years as assistant dean of students at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, a United Methodist-affiliated school in Atlanta.
In July, more than a year after she and her partner, Mary Palarino, began living together, Meyer accepted the call to be pastor in this community of 1,700 just southwest of Kansas City.
FRACTURES in the Australian Anglican Church on the issue of gay clergy are set to boil over at a national meeting of bishops in early March, prompting Newcastle Anglican Bishop Greg Thompson to miss the event and accuse Sydney diocese of leading a breakaway conservative movement.
The emergence of a “para Anglican Communion” was underway, Bishop Thompson said in a letter to Anglican Primate Archbishop Philip Freier in December, in which he declined to attend the annual bishops conference in South Australia from March 6 because it would give the impression of a united church that conflicted with reality.
“I’ve really felt led by the Holy Spirit and inspired to take a pretty bold step to be open about who I am in my identity and my relationship,” Rev. Cynthia Meyer of Edgerton United Methodist Church in Edgerton, Kansas, said during the sermon.
Source: Human Rights Campaign
History made as South African Church Votes to Bless Same-sex marriage and Ordain Gay Ministers | O-blog-dee-o-blog-da
YES! for Gay People in Dutch Reformed Church – NG Kerk – There were Tears of joy after the announcement.
By Melanie Nathan, October 08, 2015.
History was made in South Africa today, when the synod of what was once probably the most conservative church on the planet, the Dutch Reformed Church, (NG Kerk/ DRC) in an overwhelming majority, voted in favor of ordaining gay ministers and blessing same sex unions.
From the Belfast Telegraph:
A gay cleric who preaches in drag wants to bring his message of love to Belfast.
Belfast born Ron Eberly, who describes himself as “Christ Drag Queen”, left for Canada in 1975, but now he wants to return home to speak in churches as his glamorous alter ego — Mz Rhonda.
The son of a baptist preacher, Ron emigrated from Penrose Street off the Ormeau Road with his family and later attended bible college in Canada.
He met his wife with whom he had two children during a missionary trip to Belize — but they divorced eight years later when Ron realised he “had to live an honest life”.
Ron’s family disowned him for 20 years after he came out, but he reconciled with them shortly before his parents’ deaths in 2012.
He still uses his late mother’s hats to perform as Mz Rhonda because he says they make him look like “a little church lady”.
Ron found love and married again 14 years ago, but this time to a man.
– full report at BelfastTelegraph.co.uk.
In December 2013, Methodist pastor Frank Schaefer of central Pennsylvania was defrocked after he officiated at his son’s gay wedding. Huffington Post reports on a similar case, and other Methodist pastors who are defying church regulations, by conducting same – sex church weddings, or by living openly with a same – sex partner.
Rev. Thomas Ogletree, Another Methodist Pastor, To Be Tried For Presiding At Same Sex Wedding Of Son
The United Methodist Church has formally charged another clergyman for presiding at the same-sex wedding of his son.
The Rev. Thomas Ogletree will be tried March 10 for violating church law against officiating at gay unions, his spokeswoman, Dorothee Benz, announced Friday. It’s the second high-profile United Methodist trial in recent months over same-sex relationships. In December, pastor Frank Schaefer of central Pennsylvania was defrocked after he officiated at his son’s gay wedding. The church considers homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching.”
Ogletree is a theologian, a former Yale Divinity School dean and a retired elder in the church’s New York district, or Annual Conference. Some clergy had filed a complaint after his son’s 2012 wedding announcement appeared in The New York Times.
Ogletree, 80, said he could not refuse his son’s request to preside at the wedding, which was held in New York, where gay marriage is legally recognized.
-continue reading at .Huffington Post
THE Church of Scotland is today expected to pass a historic vote accepting gay ministers, according to a leading critic who said evangelicals opposed to the move were “pessimistic”, “demoralised” and prepared for defeat at the General Assembly.
The Rev Ian Watson, a leading member of the Church of Scotland’s evangelical wing, which believes that homosexuality is prohibited by biblical scripture, was last night gloomy about the prospect of securing enough votes to retain the prohibition on gay clergy.
He said a motion permitting gay ministers, but giving congregations an opt-out, was likely to pass as the Church seeks to “represent society”.
The minister of Kirkmuirhall, near Hamilton, told The Scotsman: “Most people realise that the revisionists will win. I have not spoken to anybody on the traditionalist wing that thinks the traditionalists will win and I also expect to lose.
“The reason is that the Church of Scotland prefers to represent society rather than be a prophetic voice in society. The evangelicals have never been so pessimistic and demoralised than they are at present.”
Today, the 725 commissioners of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, which includes both ministers and church elders, will spend hours in debate and then vote on three possible options.
The first, “traditionalist”, option is that the church will not accept practising gay clergy.
The “revisionist” option would see gay ministers treated in the same way as heterosexual clergy.
A third “compromise revisionist” option, known as the “mixed economy”, would allow churches to appoint ministers in same-sex relationships but permit individual congregations to opt out if they wish.
It is the third option, which is being endorsed by David Fergusson, professor of divinity and principal of Edinburgh University’s divinity school, that is the one most likely to secure the most votes.
If passed, the issue will then go to the presbyteries for approval under the Barrier Act.
Last night, Mr Watson said: “It will happen because society wants it to happen and the Church of Scotland will not be far behind.”
– continue reading at the Scotsman.com.
- LGBT Inclusion Quandaries: Church of Scotland, Church of Ireland (queeringthechurch.com)
- Jesus was a radical … wouldn’t he have supported gay clergy? (news.queerchurch.com)
- Church of Scotland moderator ‘terrified’ ahead of vote on gay clergy (news.queerchurch.com)