Trans-Queer Ministry Needs Support

Good day! I am Reverend Liam Hooper and I'd like to tell you a little about me and what we are trying to build through Ministries Beyond Welcome.

Dorothy Day, cofounder of the Catholic Worker Movement, said (to quote and paraphrase):
"Never to be severed from the people, to set out always from the point of view of serving the people, not serving the interests of a small group or oneself"...we must and will find the Holy in each and every person when we see them, not only as our siblings, but as particular expressions of the image of God among us.

This idea of never being "severed from the people" has become, for me, a kind of ministry-mantra: a way of grounding and framing the mission of my call to a vocation of ministry that,
      1) reimagines that thing we call "church,"
      2) that commits to actively seeking to do justice as the best way to articulate justice,
      3) and affirms the belief that God is, indeed, still present, active, and speaking in, among, and through all persons ~ especially, those persons ignored, shunned and marginalized by the likeness-equals-sameness-affirming systems that keep us divided.

From this place of deeply seeking Sacred relationship between and among us, I am called and moved to a deep congregation of community with trans, queer, and out-cast folks of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, ideologies, abilities, genders, sexualities, recovery-statuses, religious histories, economic statuses, and all manner of human-beingness-expanding ways of showing up and being in the world. 

The work I am committed to is simply the work we have been called to do as people of faith: to never be severed from the people, to love God in love of each other, to love mercy, to seek justice, and to walk together, humbly, as siblings. Period.

This is the core of a commitment to relational ministry, advocacy and activism, direct spiritual and community service, public education and awareness-raising, interfaith and intersectional community building that informs and characterizes Ministries Beyond Welcome. And, we need your help to be sustainable as we continue to build this ministry. 

As founder of this ministry, I am a trans man ordained in the United Church of Christ. I am a second-career professional with over 20 years of experience as a therapist/counselor with a speciality in addiction/co-occurring mental health conditions. I am a graduate of Wake Forest School of Divinity (2015). I bring all of my life experience and training to bear on my work in the trans and LGBQ communities. I have been working to build and grow this ministry for over 3 years. I and the community I serve are embedded in a rich and supportive interfaith community. The ministry is growing, with so much need and momentum in fact, that it is not sustainable in its present form. Further, given the primary nature of the work, we do not have the options available to other types of church-starts or ministries. And, grants are limited in number and in scope. We continue to seek ways to fund this ministry and preserve it. You may be asking yourself, "why isn't he just doing the bi-vocational thing like so many other churches and church starts?" 

That is a good question. The short answer is twofold. Namely, doing this work effectively ~ and reimagining the church beyond the building ~ requires being out, proud, visible, and relatively flexible.  This results in a common problem among my people: not many employers are willing to hire a trans person...certainly not one like me ( I know, I've been job hunting for over a year). And, secondly, it takes a lot of active work to build ministry like this, to engage in activism and advocacy, as well as pastoral care, public education, study groups, support groups, speaking, preaching, and teaching. It is not 9-5 work and requires some creativity and agility.

Every contribution you make, no matter how small goes to the continuance and support of the following initiatives and services:
~ direct ministry and pastoral care with transgender, gender-expansive, and LGBQ persons in the community, including (secular) trans support groups and couples' groups;
~ consultation, training/education, and spiritual accompaniment with faith groups seeking to become welcoming-affirming and/or to deep their welcoming practice;
~ affirming services, vigils, Bible studies, book/film studies aimed at trans and LGBQ persons in community;
~ curriculum-development, training/educational program development for public and religious education; public-speaking; awareness-raising events/programs; Pride events; vigils and other special worship services and community gatherings; and
~ supplies, operational costs not covered by in-kind donations, and unreimbursed mileage/gas, lodging, etc. for travle within NC and across the South.

For continued viability and sustainability, we need a minimum of $1,200.00 per month (or, 12,000.00 a year) just to maintain what is already being offered. 

Every contribution you offer makes a difference. My gratitude is deep... as deep as my personal longing for glimpses of the Holy One in spaces between us and in the faces of other seekers.  

I personally answer, respond to, and thank every person who contributes to this work. Peace for your journey and blessings to you this day and days to come.                                Rev. Liam
  • Ryan Leon 
    • $10 
    • 37 mos
  • Louis Mitchell 
    • $50 
    • 41 mos
  • Jon Bohland  
    • $20 
    • 43 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 43 mos
  • Ted Wilkinson 
    • $20 
    • 51 mos
See all

Organizer

Li Hooper 
Organizer
Winston-Salem, NC
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