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(as posted on Facebook @teri.harroun on April 20, 2024)

I am Catholic.

I am grateful that there are alternatives to the Roman Catholic Church. So I am part of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion.

In the ECC I am a priest, and I get to serve as pastor at Light of Christ in Longmont, Colorado.

I have said this, and things like this, before. I dream of a humanity where we don't need these words.

I am saddened by parts of the recent document from the Vatican, Dignitas Infinita, especially related to my trans and nonbinary siblings, along with statements about mental health and those who die by suicide.

It is tempting to speak out against the Roman Catholic Church. But if this document had been put out by another denomination, I wouldn't feel the desire to respond. So instead, let me tell you about the ECC that I have chosen to be part of.

We are sacramental in our experience of the Divine. We like smells and bells with our grace. We believe in sacramental justice and breaking those sacraments open so that God’s grace is available and accessible to everyone.

Grace pursues us. And that grace begets grace. It is abundant.

We believe in the dignity of all. When we say all are welcome it also means all are cherished and valued and wanted. Just as you are. All people are welcome but all behaviors are not. Behaviors that diminish or deny the dignity of another are not welcome. That means racism and homophobia and transphobia and antisemitism are not welcome here.

We celebrate LGBTQ+ individuals and families. We celebrate, and I preside at, the Sacrament of Marriage for all couples. We bless the re-naming ceremony with transgender individuals. We recently did this for one of our members during Mass. We will refer to you by your chosen pronouns. We are a resource for parents and grandparents who want to learn more to support the young people in their families. And we are learning at the same time.

And we experience the Real Presence of Christ in our shared meal during Mass.

We are committed to the radical inclusion that Jesus taught and focus our work in this kin-dom not only on sacramental justice, but justice and peace for all. This work is based in love: love of God and love of neighbor. Actually, it is love of neighbor as ourselves that Jesus taught, so we are committed to loving ourselves well. That means we are part of teaching and showing each other that we are all lovable.

We also do the work to bring healing and wholeness to each other and the world. We lift each other up. We pick each other up. Sometimes we lay in the pit of despair with each other and wait with you. Healing can't be rushed.

We recognize the harm that religions have done, and continue to do, to LGBTQ+ people and we are committed to creating a safe and sacred space for everyone to deepen their relationship with the Divine. Some of us are LGBTQ+ as well. We are not hidden here; we are active, loud and proud. We are blessed and are blessing.

We cannot do it all but we will do our part. We will appeal to prayer and science, the Communion of Saints and education, Scripture and psychology. God is still speaking in so many ways.

If you know someone who is looking for a safe and sacred community to be part of on this pilgrimage of life, in relationship with other life pilgrims and God, please let them know there are other ways. Yes, they can reject it all. Especially if they feel rejected by church and therefore by God. But they don’t have to reject it all. We are certain that God does not reject them. And we in the ECC do not either.

If you are a person who prays, will you pray with me? If you are not a person who prays, will you join your good energy and best intentions for humanity with mine?

Let the Breath within our breath, be the thread of Love that unites. May we all look within to transform the ways that we minimize or reject the dignity of another. May we all expand our hearts and minds to embrace the radical inclusion of our eclectic humanity. May we dream of and work for the flourishing of all. May we enkindle the healing grace among us. May we be the Body of Christ, the hands and feet and heart of Christ, loving generously in our corner of the world each day. Amen.

Teri (she/her/hers)

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