Do you want to do something to help further LGBT equality in society and the Catholic church but are not sure what you should do or could do? If so, then you are a candidate for New Ways Ministry’s “Next Steps” program.
“Next Steps” is a weekend program designed to help people plot out a course of practical, feasible actions to further LGBT equality and justice that they can perform in their home communities. If you are an LGBT person, a family member, a friend, a church minister, this program can help you find out ways to make a difference. No pre-requisite knowledge or experience is needed other than a willingness to listen, reflect, and share. The only requirement for participating in the program is a desire to figure out what YOUR next steps may be.
New Ways Ministry will be sponsoring a “Next Steps” weekend, May 11-13, 2012. Our hosts will be Dignity/Los Angeles, and the program will be held at the Dignity Center, 126 South Avenue 64, Los Angeles, California, 90042. For more information on this event, click here. The weekend will be facilitated by New Ways Ministry’s Co-Founder Sister Jeannine Gramick, and Executive Director Francis DeBernardo.
The program–a blend of presentations, small group discussions, prayer, reflection, and planning–helps a participant come up with a series of next steps that fit their gifts, abilities, limits, and home community. No one is expected or encouraged to take any particular action. Only you can decide what the next steps are for you. Everyone’s next steps will be unique to them and their situations.
For example, as a result of a Next Steps weekend, a pastoral minister may feel called to start an educational program in a parish setting. A parishioner may decide that it is time to come out to their family, friends, and faith community. A teacher may discern ways to integrate LGBT topics into classroom discussions. A parent may realize that it is time to seek support from other parents of LGBT people. A social worker may feel called to start a support group for LGBT teens. All these are different sets of next steps that past participants have developed–and all are excellent because they were appropriate for each individual person.
The weekend is divided into five parts:
- Discerning an Individual Call to LGBT Equality
- Listening to the Catholic Call to Work for Justice
- Appreciating the Gifts and Struggles of LGBT People
- Designing Your Next Steps
- Sharing Your Next Steps with Others
“Next Steps” participants learn from the program presenters, but they also learn from each other. Networking with other Catholics who are interested in LGBT ministry and activities is an important benefit of participating in the weekend. People learn from sharing each others’ ideas, struggles, and joys. They gain support by making contact with people who share their ideals and values.
Do you want to be empowered to further the work for LGBT equality and justice? Do you want to build a church where all are welcome and valued? Do you want to take the next steps?
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry