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).
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).
- 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.
- 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:
- Queering the Church (this site)
- Queer Saints, Sinners and Martyrs
- A Queer Ear for the Rainbow Scriptures
- Quest Gay Catholics (on behalf of Quest)
- The Centre for the Study of Christianity and Sexuality (for CSCS)
- The Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (for GNRC)
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.
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.
(Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam – “To the greater glory of God”)