If you’ve been a regular reader of Bondings 2.0, you will be aware of the terrible trend in recent years where LGBT and ally church workers are being dismissed from Catholic institutions. If this information is news to you, please check out this blog’s resource page which archives all the news related to this terrible injustice.
Catholic schools have been a main target for these firings–both high schools and elementary schools. While we’ve reported on the firings, the reactions, the protests, one thing that has been missing is the personal stories of the teachers affected. Furthermore, another untold story is the fear and anxiety that these firings have had on those currently employed in Catholic institutions.
Two researchers from academic institutions have contacted New Ways Ministry to let us know about a study they are doing where they will survey LGBTQ educators currently working in Catholic schools. This category includes teachers, counselors, administrators, coaches, support staff, and others working in Catholic schools. Respondents do not have to be Catholic themselves. The goal of the survey is to generate a sense of the experience these people face as employees in Catholic schools. The survey would take 15-25 minutes to complete and is completely anonymous. The identity of the participant, along with any potential identifying factor, will be kept strictly confidential. Educators do not have to be “out” as LGBTQ to participate.
This research will be a boon to our church, providing first-hand testimony and data from those who are most affected by this misguided policy of firing.
The researchers have asked New Ways Ministry for help in identifying LGBTQ educators in Catholic schools. So, we turn to you, our faithful blog readers, to spread the word about this research project. If you are an LGBTQ teacher in a Catholic school or you know someone who is one, please be in touch with New Ways Ministry: office@NewWaysMinistry.org or phone (301) 277-5674 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Eastern U.S. Time.
All information will be held in strictest confidence by New Ways Ministry and by the researchers. The study is being conducted in April and May, so quick responses would be the most helpful.
This research work will provide solid, scientific information and personal experience that can help our church better understand LGBTQ people, particularly those employed in church institutions. If you have any possibility of asking someone to participate, please do so. Please feel free to share this information with others.
This upcoming Sunday is Palm Sunday, and Bondings 2.0 will continue our Lenten reflection series with an essay penned by a Catholic high school teacher who identifies as gay and queer. If you are interested in getting the personal dimension to this issue, be sure to check back here on Sunday, April 9, 2017, to read this moving account.
If you would like to learn more about the issue of LGBT church workers in Catholic institutions, consider attending New Ways Ministry’s Eighth National Symposium, Justice and Mercy Shall Kiss: LGBT Catholics in the Age of Pope Francis, scheduled for April 28-30, 2017, Chicago, Illinois. Leslie Griffin, a professor of law, will give a plenary session talk on “Religious Liberty, Employment, & LGBT Issues.” During one of the focus sessions, three people affected by the firings, Colleen Simon, Margie Winters, and Andrea Vettori will give personal testimony about “The Challenges of LGBT Church Workers.” For more information and to register, visit www.Symposium2017.org.
—Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, April 7, 2017