LGBTQI LISTENING TOUR: AN OPEN LETTER TO OUR BISHOPS IN THE USA AND CANADA

To Our Readers: Email us your name and city of residence at editors@orthodoxyindialogue.com if you would like to co-sign this letter. You need not reside in North America or be Orthodox to sign. If you are a bishop, priest, or deacon, include your ecclesiastical title and the jurisdiction to which you belong. Your name will be added below as quickly as possible after we receive your email.
Please share this letter widely among your family members and friends who might feel moved to join their voices to ours. 
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Dear Metropolitans, Archbishops, and Bishops of the Orthodox Church in the United States and Canada:

Masters, bless. Christ is in our midst.

Please accept the present Open Letter as a respectful follow-up to our Sexuality & Gender: Open Letter to the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America of September 24, 2018. We received no response at that time except from one bishop asking that we remove his name from our mailing list. (See Letters to the Editors, September 28, 2018.)

Orthodoxy in Dialogue has observed Pride Month 2019 by conducting a virtual listening tour for your benefit. The following twelve voices represent a diversity of perspectives expressing a common plea: to be heard, to be taken seriously, to be loved, to be welcomed openly and without fear in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Christ, and to become contributing participants in an ongoing theological, spiritual, and pastoral dialogue among Orthodox brothers and sisters on questions of sexual and gender diversity in human nature. These questions include—but are not limited to— same-sex orientation, transgender identity, and biologically intersex bodies, as well as the spiritual ramifications of these for our ecclesial life in Christ slowly transfigured by divine grace and human ascesis.

We ask that you read the following testimonies prayerfully and with a shepherd’s heart:

1.
A Voice from the Grave
2.
A Mother’s Tearful Plea for Her Intersex Child
3.
 Sexual and Gender Diversity at the Dawn of Modern Orthodox Theology
4.
Priest to Mother, “Better Your Transgender Child Were Dead”
5.
Remembering the UpStairs Lounge
6.
Saving the Lives of Our LGBTQ Youth
7.
Transgender Identity Is in the Brain, Not the Mind
8.
A Seminarian Speaks Out
9.
Brief Notes on a Teenaged Boy
10.
Open Letter from a Celtic Catholic Priest
11.
At Age 13 I Begged God to Kill Me
12.
The Mockery and Name-Calling Never Stop
And lastly…
The Orthodox Church: The Loneliest Closet of All
and
The Sexuality and Gender section in our Archives by Author & Subject

We respectfully urge the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops, or individual jurisdictions, or individual bishops to take two actions:

First, create a committee of clergy, theologians, psychologists, therapists, laypersons, and especially Orthodox individuals who identify as LGBTQI to study questions of sexual and gender diversity in all their complexity.

Second, authorize, endorse, and sponsor—as an official, permanent ministry—a global support organization for Orthodox Christians who identify anywhere along the LGBTQI spectrum.

Orthodoxy in Dialogue stands prepared to offer our services to begin laying the groundwork for these important ministries. We have the contacts to do so.

Finally, in publishing this Open Letter we cannot predict how many individuals will co-sign. If in the end the numbers are low, we attribute this to the climate of extreme fear—deliberately perpetuated by certain of our priests and laity—which forces our LGBTQI Orthodox brothers and sisters and their allies to remain hidden in the closet. We have lost count of the number of them who have reached out privately to let us know that Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s work has saved their lives, their hope in God’s love for them, and their faith in the Orthodox Church.

Relying on the archpastoral prayers and blessings of each of you,

  1. Archpriest Isaac Skidmore, Orthodox Church in America (Ashland, Oregon)
  2. Subdeacon Luke Beecham, Orthodox Church in America (Indianapolis, Indiana)
  3. Reader Maximus (Daniel) Nicholas, Orthodox Church in America (Dallas, Texas)
  4. Father Sean Andrew Lotz, Celtic Catholic Church (Shelton, Washington)
  5. Giacomo Sanfilippo, Editor, Orthodoxy in Dialogue (Toronto, Ontario)
  6. Eric A. Wheeler (Huntington Station, New York)
  7. Andrew Murden (Leyland, United Kingdom)
  8. Ioanna Karounos (Toronto, Ontario)
  9. Anastasia Black (Somerville, Massachusetts)
  10. Đorđe Milutinović (Raška, Serbia)
  11. Micah Wilger (Seattle, Washington)
  12. James Bouse (Detroit, Michigan)
  13. Esther Robinson (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin)
  14. Alexander Patico (Columbia, Maryland)
  15. Madeleine Rólka (Brooklyn, New York)
  16. Kristen Michaelis (Georgetown, Texas)
  17. Steven McMeans (Garden Grove, California)
  18. Susan Anderson (Livermore, California)
  19. Iain Kobak Elabo (Papua, Indonesia)
  20. Charlotte Riggle (Sumner, Washington)
  21. Bruce Anderson (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan)
  22. Jeff Steen (Burlington, North Carolina)
  23. Daniel Martin (Burien, Washington)
  24. Gary Zabolusky (Edmonds, Washington) 
  25. Caleb Upton (Toronto, Ontario)
  26. Tracy Thallas (Gillette, Wyoming)
  27. Helen Coats (Rock Hill, South Carolina)
  28. Vincent van Buuren (Haarlem, Netherlands)
  29. Katherine Apostolacus (West Chester, Pennsylvania)
  30. Lydia Bringerud (San Diego, California)
  31. David Byrne (Oshawa, Ontario)
  32. Gabrielle Royer (Flint, Michigan)
  33. Ronald Dieleman (Toronto, Ontario)
  34. Christina Carasis (Antioch, California)
  35. Yosef Lopez-Hineynu (Chicago, Illinois)
  36. Laura Prado (Madison, Wisconsin)
  37. Velibor Šantić (Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina)
See A Special Kind of Orthodox Clergy Directory
SEE OUR PATRONS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS IF YOU WISH TO SUPPORT ORTHODOXY IN DIALOGUE’S WORK

 

 

16 thoughts on “LGBTQI LISTENING TOUR: AN OPEN LETTER TO OUR BISHOPS IN THE USA AND CANADA

  1. Pingback: FIFTY YEARS AFTER STONEWALL: A VIRTUAL LISTENING TOUR | ORTHODOXY IN DIALOGUE

  2. Pingback: A VIRTUAL LISTENING TOUR: A voice from the grave | ORTHODOXY IN DIALOGUE

  3. Pingback: A VIRTUAL LISTENING TOUR: A mother’s tearful plea for her intersex child | ORTHODOXY IN DIALOGUE

  4. Pingback: A VIRTUAL LISTENING TOUR: Sexual and gender diversity at the dawn of modern Orthodox theology | ORTHODOXY IN DIALOGUE

  5. Pingback: A VIRTUAL LISTENING TOUR: Priest to mother, “Better your transgender child were dead” | ORTHODOXY IN DIALOGUE

  6. Pingback: A VIRTUAL LISTENING TOUR: Remembering the UpStairs Lounge | ORTHODOXY IN DIALOGUE

  7. Pingback: A VIRTUAL LISTENING TOUR: Saving the lives of our LGBTQ youth | ORTHODOXY IN DIALOGUE

  8. Pingback: A VIRTUAL LISTENING TOUR: Transgender identity is in the brain, not the mind | ORTHODOXY IN DIALOGUE

  9. Pingback: A VIRTUAL LISTENING TOUR: A seminarian speaks out | ORTHODOXY IN DIALOGUE

  10. Pingback: A VIRTUAL LISTENING TOUR: Brief notes on a teenaged boy | ORTHODOXY IN DIALOGUE

  11. Pingback: A VIRTUAL LISTENING TOUR: Open letter from a Celtic Catholic priest | ORTHODOXY IN DIALOGUE

  12. Pingback: A VIRTUAL LISTENING TOUR: At age 13 I begged God to kill me | ORTHODOXY IN DIALOGUE

  13. Pingback: A VIRTUAL LISTENING TOUR: The mockery and name-calling never stop | ORTHODOXY IN DIALOGUE

  14. Pingback: A SPECIAL KIND OF ORTHODOX CLERGY DIRECTORY by Giacomo Sanfilippo | ORTHODOXY IN DIALOGUE

  15. Pingback: OPEN LETTER DELIVERED TO THE BISHOPS | ORTHODOXY IN DIALOGUE

  16. Pingback: SAME-SEX LOVE = CHILD RAPE? YES, FATHER LAWRENCE FARLEY WENT THERE by Giacomo Sanfilippo | ORTHODOXY IN DIALOGUE

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