By Claudia W., Dignity/Detroit
On occasion, I’ve been asked to describe our Dignity/Detroit faith community. Our website states:
Dignity Detroit is a faith community of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Catholics, their families and friends who unite to celebrate God's love for all persons.
We are a community rich in diversity, that worships in an affirming and supportive setting. Ours is a ministry that speaks to us by offering an expression of faith and fellowship not experienced in other church situations. In this way, Dignity has helped many who have lost touch with the church to reaffirm and establish a relationship with God.
Dignity envisions and works for unity, equality, and an end to all forms of hatred. Most importantly, we are devoted to nurturing faith and love through Christ, the Sacraments, and one another.
To be sure, we are all of that, but we are so much more, too! Our Dignity/Detroit community is spiritual and fun-loving, supportive and welcoming, family and friends, passionate and compassionate, Catholic and catholic and sometimes just a wee bit unconventional. Most of all, however, we are a Servant Church.
Throughout our 41-year history. we have made it a point to “wash the feet” of our sisters and brothers. We have supported and continue to support (with prayers, good works, and monetary or food donations) the works of the Ruth Ellis Center, Affirmations LGBTQ community center, the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Freedom House Detroit, and the IHM Sisters South African AIDS Outreach Ministry. We are blessed, as well, to have a fairly large number of presider/priests who willingly give up a portion of their Sunday evening to celebrate liturgy with us. In return, as a small thank you, we “adopt” families from their parishes to be the recipients of our annual Giving Tree Program at Christmas. To be honest, our members never fail when there is a call for assistance.
Most recently, we followed the lead of one of our youngest members, 9-year-old Liam who, with his mom, made Blessing Bags for our homeless brothers and sisters. A Blessing Bag is simply a plastic Ziploc-type bag filled with toiletries and nonperishables that you keep in your car to give to the homeless person you may encounter on the corner as you travel about. The bags the Dignity/Detroit community made up contained water, breakfast bars, apple sauce, cheese. and crackers, pretzels, mints, peanut butter, trail mix, a first aid kit, tissues, notepad and pen, antibacterial wipes, plastic spoons, and napkins..
Our members answered the call and provided all the necessary items to complete 121 Blessing Bags! After liturgy one evening, a number of folks put together all the Bags, prayed over them, and asked God to bless those who would receive them. The response of our community in donating and organizing the items, putting the Bags together, and then taking them for distribution was overwhelming. I don’t know who is more blessed by this: those who receive the Bags or those who distribute them!
Jesus has called us to be servants of all. I am proud to be part of a community that really embodies the message of the One who loves without limits.