What is the European Forum?
The European Forum of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Christian Groups is an ecumenical association of LGBT Christian groups in Europe.
The European Forum aims to achieve equality and inclusion for LGBT people within and through Christian churches, other religious bodies and multilateral organisations.
The European Forum works for freedom of religion, for human rights and dignity for LGBT people and for an affirmative discourse on human sexuality.
Training on Dialogue with Clergy
The Roman Catholic Church Working Group and the Board of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups are pleased to open the call for applications for the upcoming Training on Dialogue with Clergy. The training will take place in Le Cenacle, Versailles (France) from 9 to 11 November 2018. Please find more information about the event and its programme below.
It is becoming ever more clear that one of the most effective ways to bring about change in the Church is by sharing our personal stories as LGBT people of faith. When we do this with clergymen in smaller circles, then in turn, with time, it will help influence the whole church hierarchy reaping longer lasting results.
This dialogue with religious leaders depends on regular and safe face-to-face encounters, away from any cameras of the hungry media, but which nonetheless, helps disarm fears and suspicions a step at a time. Whenever we face cynical or oppressive clergymen, we would try to encourage a healthy exchange by sharing some elements in our personal story that are moving and true. We can give context to our suffering, regarding some positions held and we could do so in an atmosphere of respect and collegiality. This is how true change comes about.
This training is being offered especially for those who already have some experience in bridge-building with bishops and who are finding their role important yet challenging. Some may be experiencing particularly difficult reactions and are feeling somewhat discouraged and dismayed. This is an occasion to re-group and take strength from our shared experiences, so that the on-going reflection on what works best, may be deepened through the training sessions themselves.
There is a fine line between telling our story and the theological questions that often are thrown back at us. We are to become people able to manoeuvre through the labyrinth of building relationships of trust, oozing credibility because we are engaged in academia and scientific research also.
The exercises included in this training will give candidates a chance to explore and implement some useful tips and resources, adapting them to given situations and contexts. This would help us become more creative in our strategy. Within the European context, we are in different situations and we can truly learn from one another, as we undergo some role-plays and practical exercises together. We will reflect on what others have done and exchange good practices. We will identify tasks that may be done together, to strengthen our resolve. Above all, we will get better equipped and organised to support each other in our efforts across Europe.
For whom is the training?
- You already have some experience in the field of dialogue with bishops and clergy of the Roman Catholic Church.
- You are currently or are planning to be personally involved in dialogue with RCC bishops and clergy.
- We wish to ‘train the trainers’ so that there will be that ripple effect, for long-term benefit. Therefore when submitting your application, you would do well to point out what circles you are already engaged in and which you may influence as a result of the training. This will facilitate the scholarships’ selection process.
- L, B & T applicants will be treated with preference.
- We will not take more than 2 participants per country.
- Joseanne Peregin (Drachma Parents Group, Malta)
- Dr. Michael Brinkschroeder (Study Group Gay Theology, Germany)
Introduction: ground rules, hopes, limitations
Sharing experiences of dialogue with bishops (analysing types of bishops, typical experiences etc.)
Reflection, further thoughts from Friday
Framework for a good conversation
Taking a reflective attitude
Story-telling (with exercises)
Role-play: Meeting with a bishop
Reflection of the role-play
"Sea of Words"
Evening in Versailles
Theological and scientific issues
Costs: 50 € per participant. This includes travel, accommodation, food and other costs. The training is financially supported by the Arcus Foundation.
Deadline for applications: 20 September 2018
You can find the application form here.