“Souls, move forward!”. Events and initiatives on Faith and Homosexuality within the program of the Euro Pride 2011 Rome
Andrea Rubera (Nuova Proposta of Rome), May 29th 2011
Within the official program of the Euro Pride 2011 (Italy), which will be take place in Rome from June 1st to 12th 2011, for the first time a section of events on Faith and Homosexuality has been inserted; the initiative is promoted by the roman group “Nuova Proposta” in collaboration with many european and italian groups of gay Christians,together with the Gionata Project, the Italian Forum of Christian LGBT Groups, the European Forum for LGBT Christian Groups, Adista, and Noi Siamo Chiesa (International Movement We Are Church) .
The program includes the world premiere of the film “Taking a Chance on God” about the life of John McNeill (who will be in Rome for the occasion, with the director of the movie), an exhibition of portraits by the artist Luca Loiacono, a conference on “LGBT people and Christian churches in Europe: fears and opportunities for full acceptance and inclusion”. Within the Pride Park, there will be also an information desk on Faith and Homosexuality showing books and papers about the theme.
“For all of us to be present at the Euro Pride – – as the organizers say – means to have an exceptional opportunity to spread information and training on “Faith and Homosexuality”, to contribute with our means so that the debate within the Christian churches leads to the removal of barriers and prejudices and to the development of awareness of homosexuality and transsexuality as mere variants of human condition and that homosexual and transsexual people obviously have the right to self-determination and therefore the possibility of designing a full life as every human being can.”
“It also means having the opportunity to talk about Christ and to bring His message of true Love and Inclusion at the center of the debate; to give a message of hope to homosexuals and transsexuals people who feel the need to combine (and we know that it can be done successfully) their faith and their sexual orientation (or gender identity).”
“It means finally, to show to Italy and Europe that homosexual and transsexual Christian people do exist, out of the shadows and silence. They do exist with the beauty of their lives, their jobs, their research. They exist in their desire to contribute to the evolution of the Church of God in the people.
The slogan which characterises the whole initiative:
“Souls, Move Forward!”, inspired by the song “Avanzate, ascoltate (Advanced, listen)!” by Paolo Benvegnù, whose use has been kindly granted by the artists to be used in the background of the video with which some people of the group “Nuova Proposta (New Proposal)” (www.nuovapropostaroma.it) testified to the point of their participation in Euro Pride 2011.
This slogan seeks to represent our full membership in a living church, in which everybody must be able to find his/her own space, a church which should not be static but dynamic, open to the contribution of each one of us.
It also wants to stimulate all Christian homosexuals to come out in the sunlight and to make their contribution by telling the stories of their lives, their joys and sufferings, thus training and producing direct information on Faith and Homosexuality.
It means, finally, to encourage everyone not to give up their faith and spirituality, giving hope in the Love in Christ who does not obey to strict rules, but is overflowing of full life.
Program of initiatives
The project is developed through four strands:
– Debate/discussion: on june 10th 2011 at 3 pm, a conference titled “GLBT people and Christian churches in Europe: fears and opportunities for full acceptance and inclusion”
– Prayer: an ecumenical prayer will follow the conference
– Participation/Information: an information desk on Faith and Homosexuality will be organized within the Pride Park and members of many Italian and European glbt christian groups will march together at the parade on june 11th behind the the banner of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups
– Story-telling: the exhibition of portraits of LGBT Christians, made by the artist/photographer Luca Loiacono, and the world premiere of the movie “Taking a Chance on God”, directed by Brendan Fay, about the life of John McNeil, one of the pioneers of the liberation movement of LGBT Catholics who, though now aged 85, will be in Rome for the occasion.
EuroPride Rome. World Premiere of the movie “Taking A Chance on God” (June 6, 2011)
Taking A Chance on God tells the story of 85-year-old John McNeill, Catholic priest and pioneering advocate for LGBT human rights.
The film traces his life – from a childhood in Buffalo, New York, through his months as a prisoner of war in Nazi Germany, his call to the priesthood and his passionate advocacy for justice and equality for LGBT people in the Catholic Church and beyond. After the Stonewall uprising of June 1969, John became a leading voice of liberation for all LGBT people …
It’s already begun the long path of glbt groups of believers to organize vigils for the victims of homophobia on May 17th, 2011, this year with the European groups of the European forum of lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender christian groups.
But after Vigils for the victims of homophobia there is another initiative in which the Italian groups have decided to engage, the EuroPride 2011 in Rome …