Activism in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
Most Holy Redeemer: Ecumenism
We restate our thesis about the nature of MHR:
Redeemer is not a Catholic church with gay members. It is a
gay spiritual institution that is willing to use
Catholicism, including the sacraments, just as far as they
can be made "inclusive" of the formative experience of the
parish, which is homosexuality, and no farther."
Nothing demonstrates this
more clearly than MHR's variety of Ecumenism. Like all
religions, the religion at MHR is quite willing to practice
"Ecumenism" when there is nothing vital to its identity at
stake. As long as that's the case, MHR is perfectly happy to
accomodate other "denominations."
From Fr. Godfrey's book:
(Rev. Jim) Mitsulki (of Metropolitan Community Church) has very fond memories of Fr. Tony (McGuire) Mitsulki speaks of a certain revolving-door factor operating between their respective congregations. Some attended services at both churches . . . Sometimes parishioners from Most Holy Redeemer went to MCC for same-sex weddings they could not hold at MHR. -Godfrey "Gays and Grays..." p54.
On December 1, 2006,
MHR hosted Rev. John Kirkely. Rev. Kirkley is an Episcopal
Priest serving in San Francisco. From his
"I'm a priest of the Episcopal Church serving a small, growing, progressive parish in San Francisco. Prior to ordination, I worked in the non-profit sector for about a decade, ultimately focusing on fundraising. I'm an INFJ and an Enneagram One. Married to my partner, Andrew, for 12 years, we have one son, Nehemiah."
On December 4, 2007
MHR held an Advent Vespers service. The guest speaker
was Dr. Ora Prochovnick, President of Sha'ar Zahav
Congregation. From their
"Congregation Sha'ar Zahav, the Congregation of the Golden Gate, is a progressive Reform synagogue, established in 1977. We are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and heterosexual Jews, together with family and friends, both Jewish and non-Jewish."
The speakers at Most Holy Redeemer's 2010 Advent Vespers Services included Episcopal Rev. Jay Emerson Johnson. Rev. Johnson is a member of the doctoral faculty at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and the Senior Director for Academic Research at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry.
Another speaker was the Rev. Jeff Bert. Reverend Bert has served as associate pastor at Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco. The MCC is a Church whose founding principle is the celebration of homosexuality:
"In 1970, a group of queers dared to create their own church."
for more about the speakers at MHR's 2010 Vespers
And of course the
Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The Sisters did not just
magically appear at the Archbishop's Mass on October 7,
2008. One of the earliest "SPI's" Jack Fertig, decribes his
experience at MHR:
"When I spoke with Sr. (Cleta Harold) about entering RCIA, I was clearly not about to compromise anything regarding my sexuality. I didn't go into a lot of details, but I showed up in my Levis and leather jacket and talked about my background as a Gay activist, clearly not about to change that I talked about my background with witchcraft and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and my disagreements with certain points of the catechism. Sister never batted an eyelash, but asked if I could show up Sunday mornings at 8." Jack Fertig (aka "Sister Boom Boom" of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence) quoted in Godfrey p 42.
Since that Christmas, MHR and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have continued to interact from time to time. Godfrey, p40.
But that Ecumenism only goes so far. There are limits:
We do not believe our
thesis can seriously be challenged: the organizing community
experience at MHR is not Catholicism, but homosexuality.
At MHR, one's religious
affiliation is irrelevant--what matters is one's attitude
towards the celebration of homosexuality. That is the
issue on which compromises will not be made, where
differences will not be tolerated--because that is
the real lived religion, not Catholicism.