Call to Inclusive Love and Abundant Justice

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The Mercy Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Work Group (SOGI) invites you to join in celebrating Pride Month with renewed enthusiasm. We are delighted that the Chapter 2023 Commitment statement reflects our collective hearing of a call to “Work to ensure our lives and our ministries reflect inclusive love and abundant justice for LGBTQ+ people, recognizing this may manifest differently across country contexts.”  

We rejoice in the many Mercy people who embrace SOGI’s work as their own, learning and teaching about the lives and loves of people who have been marginalized. We are deeply gratified that the broad and diverse community that is Mercy recognizes that there are no cookie cutter ways to handle justice issues. People in specific cultures and places are empowered to find their best ways forward, and so too with LGBTQ+ allies. In the spirit of encuentro we learn from colleagues across the Mercy map. Many strategies are needed to assure the safety and well-being of those whose very lives are in danger because of heterosexism and homohatred.  

Despite the Mercy community’s six years of work to assure equity and welcome for LGBTQ+ people, we regretfully acknowledge that much remains to be done. It is shocking that violence against trans people, especially trans people of color, is on the rise. It is dismaying that books on SOGI topics are banned in some school districts. It is painful that some church officials persist in uncharitable and often untrue statements about the lives of our siblings. It is distressing to realize that even in our own circles there are still people who fear the consequences of telling their own truth. 

Pride parades and festivals offer a chance to enjoy and reflect on LGBTQ+ accomplishment and contributions to church and society. This Pride season, we of SOGI take the opportunity to review critically our own work. How do we encourage “integrity in word and deed” on SOGI concerns? How do we make visible and welcome LGBTQ+ people in the midst of Mercy and beyond? How do we take seriously the racism that undergirds the many forms of oppression we seek to eradicate? 

These questions and more that you may raise will guide ongoing SOGI work. Rejoice with us during Pride month in Mercy’s steps forward. Commit with us to take more steps together so that inclusive love and abundant justice may thrive on a healthy planet.  

Institute SOGI Workgroup:
Betsy Linehan, RSM (chair), Jen Barrow, RSM, Mary Kay Dobrovolny, RSM, Mary E. Hunt, PhD, Karen Scheer, RSM