Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Discerning Deacons


Dear friend,

We have done so much together to advocate for the restoration of women deacons: sending nearly 60,000 signatures to the Vatican through postcard campaigns and petitions; educating fellow Catholics about the history and present possibility of ordaining Catholic women deacons through teleconferences and podcasts, our “Women Deacons: Why Not Now?”resources, and www.catholicwomendeacons.org ; hosting the first-ever retreats for women discerning a call to the diaconate; encouraging dialogue among clergy and laity with DeaconChat in partnership with the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests and Voice of the Faithful; and keeping the conversation going through our presence and media work at assemblies of the Synod of Bishops.

Because of your participation in and support of these efforts, we want to introduce you to a new and exciting project, Discerning Deacons, which is being led by three friends of FutureChurch! 

Both Casey Stanton and Ellie Hidalgo have recently preached for Catholic Women Preach and Luke Hansen completed his field education with FutureChurch in 2016 – assisting us with our women deacons programming – while completing his Master of Divinity degree. All three serve as co-directors of the project. The mission of Discerning Deacons is “to engage Catholics in the active discernment of our Church about women and the diaconate” through opportunities to learn, pray, and witness. 

We encourage you to visit their website, www.discerningdeacons.org, to learn more about the project and opportunities to get involved. 

Thank you for all you have and continue to do! We will continue to work for the restoration of women deacons until it is a reality and we’re happy to have this new project and these partners in this important work!

In hope,

Russ Petrus and Deborah Rose-Milavec
Co-Directors, FutureChurch

FutureChurch Programs
Women Witnesses for Racial Justice: Celebrating Anna "Madre" Bates as we celebrate Mother's Day 
May 11, 2021 at 7:00pm ET
Join us for this enriching prayer service, just after Mother's Day, as we celebrate a Woman Witness for Racial Justice, Anna "Madre" Bates, the founder of Our Lady of Victory Mission/Parish in Detroit. Learn about her witness and her leadership in the face of racist obstacles!

Woman Erased: The Critical Role of Latina Women in Leading the U.S. Catholic Church Today
Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at 8:00 pm ET 
Natalia Imperatori-Lee, Ph.D. explores how dominant narratives about Catholicism in the United States often render the stories of its significant and growing Latinx membership, especially that of Latina women invisible or irrelevant. Through the literary and artist works of Latina women like Rosario Ferré and Yolanda López, as well as the popular faith practices such as the devotion to Guadalupe, Imperatori-Lee illustrates how the sensus fidelium subverts institutional notions of holiness and offers a more truthful, complicated, but wholistic understanding of the intuitions and holiness of the laity, in general, and women in particular. 

Enacting Vatican II History, Documents, and Implications for Today!
Four part series: Wednesdays May 26th thru June 16th at 7:00pm ET
Sr. Maureen Sullivan, OP heads up this four part series on the Second Vatican Council which produced a charter for the Church to move from the rigid, hierarchical model espoused by Pius IX at Vatican I (1869-70) to the collegial, "communio" model that emerged under John XXIII at Vatican II (1962-65). In the four brief sessions that took place from 1962-65, over 2,500 bishops--who often disagreed on the most critical issues-- produced sixteen documents that touched the very essence of the Catholic faith. Join us!

Women Witnesses for Racial Justice: Shedding White Fragility and Working for Racial Justice
Thursday, June 17, 2021 at 7:00pm ET
Andrew Lyke encourages white Catholics to leave white fragility behind and enter into "brave spaces" where the devastating effects of white supremacy on people of color can be confronted as people of faith.  What white people and particularly white Catholics need in order to address the “original sin” of our nation is not “safe space” like that which we tried to provide them, but “brave space.” A commitment to entering into "brave space" gives the process room for error and grace for forgiveness. It demands patience and self-examination. It calls forth the power of human empathy that bonds people of good will. 

Being anti-racist does not require a bullhorn, microphone or podium. It means being an ally in the struggle for equal justice and an agent of racial healing. The first step is being an interrupter. Whether it is in the workplace, the grocery store or the family dinner table, when white supremacist thoughts are expressed, interrupt them, challenge them. 

Women Erased: Grappling with Patriarchal Constructs of Women in the Lectionary and Bible
Thursday, July 29, 2021 at 8:00pm ET
Hebrew Bible Scholar, Rev. Wil Gafney., Ph.D., argues that the overwhelming majority of Christians receive their scripture mediated through a lectionary. Lectionaries are not simply as androcentric as are the scriptures, but women are even less well represented than they are in the biblical text. To the degree that biblical texts function as scripture for religious readers, it ought to be possible to tell the story of God and God’s people through the most marginalized characters in the text. Though the bible is an androcentric document steeped in patriarchy, a women’s lectionary should demonstrate and grapple with the gender constructs of the text rather than romanticize heroines.

The story of Jesus and those who tell his story may begin for some with the gospels and the story of a miraculous pregnancy. At least that is what the table of contents suggest. Tables of contents are implicitly suggested reading sequences. But suggested by whom? All of our stories have editors behind the curtains who curate or shape what we read. Scholars of the text will tell us that another beginning to the story of Jesus is the epistles, the letters written by the presumptively male followers of his followers to tell his story because the first hand eye-witnesses had died or were dying. Some of the accounts of those witnesses would later be written down as gospels and some of them would be canonized, receiving official table of contents status. Again, hidden hands, male hands, shape the contours of the story of these sacred stories.

Please Support FutureChurch 
as We Share the Renewing Spirit of Hope
We know that these are uncertain times for everyone. But, if you are in a position to do so and would like to make a contribution, we would appreciate your support as we work to share the renewing Spirit of Hope at this critical time. 

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