Apr202014
The work of DignityUSA on April 20, 2014 is proudly sponsored by Robert Downtain.
"My first day at Dignity in 1976"

Appendix One: Chronology

August 1983:

The House of Delegates established a Task Force on Sexual Ethics:

Whereas: The Dignity "Statement of Position and Purpose" confesses the belief that gay and lesbian sexuality can be expressed in a manner that is consonant with Christ's teaching and should be exercised in an ethically responsible and unselfish way; and

Whereas: Since 1980 members of Dignity have been encouraged to discuss the implications of that belief along with the general subject of sexual ethics; and

Whereas: It is crucial to the development of a positive and harmonious relationship with the Church that the Dignity organization define and clarify its position in regard to the ethics of gay and lesbian sexual expression; and

Whereas: It has become apparent that members of Dignity throughout the United States and Canada do have an interest in receiving sound theological direction on the subject of gay and lesbian sexual expression:

Therefore, be it resolved:

That Dignity establish an Ad Hoc Study Committee with the following title: "Dignity Task Force on Sexual Ethics ": and be it further resolved:

That representation on the Task Force be comprised by lay and religious, women and men; and be further resolved:

That implementation of procedures for the establishment and financial support of this Task Force be carried out by the Executive Board of Dignity, Inc., provided that funding can be found; and be it further resolved:

That the "Dignity Task Force on Sexual Ethics, " in conjunction with the efforts of other groups studying this issue, formulate and publish a preliminary study document to be presented to the Dignity membership on the occasion of the 1987 Convention; and be it finally resolved:

That in partial recognition of Dignity's 20th Anniversary, a document be presented to the Executive House of Delegates for approval at that Body's meeting on the occasion of the 1989 International Convention.

October 1983:

A list of interested individuals and their qualifications was presented to the Board of Directors. interviews were conducted throughout the next year to form the Task Force. The members of the Task Force began the process of research and reflection. Their thoughts on the concept of sexual ethics and on goals for the group were subsequently shared with the membership of Dignity in a four-page mailing which included questions for reflection and discussion.

May 1985:

The Task Force on Sexual Ethics (TFSE) held its first meeting in San Francisco. The members began to outline goals and procedures for listening to the experience of the gay and lesbian People of God and for encouraging communal reflection on that experience. The TFSE met with several experts.

September 1985:

The TFSE reported to the Board of Directors and the House of Delegates during the New York convention. The members conducted workshops during the convention. Following the convention, the TFSE conducted interviews with several experts and developed a format for initiating discussions in the Dignity chapters. Canadian members continued to be contacted for their suggestions as Region 11 became Dignity Canada Dignité.

February 1986:

The TFSE met in Vancouver, B.C. and determined that the document called for by the House of Delegates should take the form of a pastoral letter geared toward conscience formation and spiritual growth. A survey seeking Dignity members' experience and encouraging communal reflection was prepared. The format for personal interviews as developed. Another letter detailing the work of the Task Force was sent to the membership. The questionnaires were sent to each local group with an accompanying letter to the chapter president. The questionnaires were also distributed at the Dignity Canada Convention. Communications were sent to each Regional Director. Throughout the next year in depth personal interviews were conducted and consultation with experts continued. The questionnaires were returned and the results tabulated.

March 1987:

The TFSE reviewed the results of the surveys and interviews at its meeting in Philadelphia. The TFSE outlined the pastoral letter and began writing it. Writing and editing continued in smaller meetings and through correspondence.

May 1987:

The TFSE met in Chicago to complete the draft document. The revision and editing process continued.

July 1987:

The preliminary study document, in the form of a pastoral letter, was given to the Board of Directors and the House of Delegates at the Miami convention, prior to presentation to the membership of Dignity. The members of Dignity began the process of reflection, discussion, and revision with the help of a study guide. The responses were subsequently reviewed and collated. Members of the Task Force attended various regional conventions and meetings to receive further input and continued their work through correspondence.

July 1988:

Members of the Task Force met in Indianapolis to rewrite the document. This was then further critiqued and revised over the next several months. It was then given to a professional editor.

March 1989:

The Task Force met in Cincinnati with the editor to discuss proposed revisions. Members of the Task Force critiqued and revised the resulting draft correspondence.

May 1989:

The document, in its final form, was made available to the membership of Dignity prior to its presentation to the House of Delegates at the San Francisco convention.

August 1989:

The document was adopted by the House of Delegates at the San Francisco convention:

Whereas the DignityUSA Task Force on Sexual Ethics has presented, as mandated, a document entitled "Sexual Ethics: Experience, Growth, Challenge" to the organization's membership on the occasion of Dignity's 20th Anniversary being observed in San Francisco; and

Whereas this document faithfully reflects the lived experience of the membership of Dignity;

Therefore, be it resolved that on behalf of the entire membership of DignityUSA, this House of Delegates gathered in San Francisco (August 29-31, 1989) fully accept and endorse the document entitled "Sexual Ethics: Experience, Growth, Challenge"; and be it further resolved, that the DignityUSA Board of Directors distribute this document to each member and the President of Dignity Canada Dignité no later than December 1, 1989.

The following resolution was also adopted:

Whereas the House of Delegates meeting in Seattle in 1983 established a Task Force on Sexual Ethics to present a document on gay and lesbian sexual expression to this twentieth anniversary convention; and Whereas Kevin Calegari, Mari Castellanos, James D., Ed Dempsey, Nate Gruel, James Mallon, Diana Raffle, Ron Schulte, Wayne W., and Sue W. have dedicated themselves to the fulfillment of this mission; and

Whereas the final document "Sexual Ethics: Experience, Growth, Challenge" has been accepted and endorsed by this House;

Therefore, be it resolved that the Task Force on Sexual Ethics be commended for their exceptional accomplishments in reflecting the experience of a lesbian and gay People of God and challenging us to growth on our pilgrimage of hope.

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