Dignity/Washington held its Annual Meeting on Sunday, November 15. A terrific meal immediately before the Meeting, prepared and served by members of the Board, created a time for sharing and community building. Reports from Treasurer Jake Hudson highlighted the financial health of the community, thanks to the generosity of contributors, and the need for continued support in light of ongoing operational costs and special upcoming projects.
President Dan Barutta promoted the Call to Ministry “Sign Me Up” campaign currently underway through the month of November, urging members to volunteer for nearly a dozen select long-term or time-limited ministries and activities. Community feedback appeared positive and welcomed through the many new ideas that were proposed.
The Meeting ended with a moving video production by member Tom Yates that presented most, if not all, of the year’s exceptionally memorable events and activities of this vibrant faith and service community.
Review the varied ministries and activities at Dignity/Washington by following the secure “Sign Me Up” link below.
Follow the link below to view a Scripps Howard Foundation video on Dignity/Washington’s LGBT community and its weekly worship at St. Margaret’s Church.
Dignity/Washington and Dignity Northern Virginia supported the greater LGBT community Saturday morning Oct. 24 by participating in Whitman-Walker’s Walk to End HIV. The Walk, which supports Whitman-Walker Health, took place on Pennsylvania Ave near the Capitol. Ruthie Shipps, Anne Shipps, Carl Shipps, Allen Rose, Francisco Carvalho, Joe Hennessy and Larry Ranly participated in the walk.
The President’s Award went to Henry Huot. This award is given by the Chapter President to ONE person (or group) who has provided the President an outstanding level of support in furthering or expanding the mission of the D/W community. Nominations generally come from the President and Executive Committee. Henry received the award for his many years as a Board member and Chair of Dignity/Washington’s Public Relations Committee. In presenting the award, President Dan Barutta said: “Your tireless and unassuming efforts in publicizing and documenting all our events not only in our community but with Dignity USA and your work in increasing our efforts to improve our social media options have brought even more new people to our community.”
The John Willig Award went to Kenneth Dowling . John Willig served as an early President of the Chapter, and it was under his leadership that our Mass for the lesbian and gay community was started. Tragically John was also the Chapter’s first AIDS death in 1985. The award named in his honor is traditionally given to ONE community member (or group) who has served the D/W community over a long period of time, or made a deep impact upon the growth of the community. Nominations generally come from the Board of Directors. Kenneth in a few years helped spark new vitality in D/W. He did the regular duties of acolyte, lector, and Eucharistic Minister. He was also a Board member and Secretary, heavily influenced the creation of D/W’s new logo and branding image, and recent electronic media developments. On the local and national level he helped start Dignity Young Adult Groups and the Queers for Christ group.
The Cofler Award was awarded to the Human Rights Campaign. Created in 2002, this award is named for Jerry and Veronica Colfer, beloved supporters and long-time members of the community, who provided funds for the mortgage when the Dignity Center was purchased and made a major bequest to D/W in their estate. It is presented to a non-D/W individual or group in recognition of special service to our community.
The Human Rights Campaign has been known for being the largest and arguably most effective voice of the LGBT political movement for many years. This award is for their support of our activities during the visit of Pope Francis allowing D/W to use their lawn to display the D/W banner. Special recognition was given to Lisbeth Melendez-Rivera who so deftly assisted D/W with logistics to make the presence occur.
Community Awards were awarded to Dignity/Washington members: Jeff Vomund, Members and Presenters of the Female Presider Task Force, Mark Hibschman and Eddie Weingart. This award is in recognition of the D/W community’s gratitude to someone who has shown an outstanding level of service in volunteering or meeting a need within the community over the past year. Nominations generally come from the community, and the Board of Directors. Traditionally, up to six “Community Service Awards” are given each year.
Jeff Vomund is well known as a member and presider for D/W. He wrote an exceptionally well-worded article, “An Invitation to Pope Francis from D.C.’s Gay Catholic Community,” for the op-ed page of the Washington Post the day before the Pontiff arrived. In the article Jeff expressed welcome and explained D/W’s mission of love among LGBT Catholics. It is the most prominent public statement by/about the community.
Members and Presenters of the Female Presider Task Force, under Allen Rose’s chairmanship during more than nine months through as many sessions of large and small, committee and public meetings with up to 70 in attendance, made certain the topic of D/W’s potential use of female presiders was discussed from every angle. The community was thereby led to discern its way to be more inclusive and diverse. The result was a new Presider Credentialing Process document.
Mark Hibschman received the award for his service not only as a member of the D/W Board but for his leadership in coordinating and managing the renovation of the kitchen at the Dignity Center. In addition, he stepped in and served on the Liturgy Committee.
Eddie Weingart received his award for his service as a member of the D/W Board and as Chair of the Liturgy Committee, leading the effort to make Eucharist more accessible under both wine and grape juice.
N. This person received the award for his continued support as the creative director for the Saint Joseph’s Day Dinner each spring. He also served as joint presenter with D/W at this year’s sanctification ceremony starting the DC Pride Interfaith Service. He also is the anonymous provider of ceremonial effects at D/W.
Dignity/Washington’s Vice President Vin Testa recently published an article in the Huffington Post about Dignity/Washington’s mission and weekly Eucharist. Click on the link below to read the full article.
The Dignity/Washington Board of Directors announces that it is seeking to hire a paid part-time Communications Coordinator to promote public awareness of Dignity/Washington and its mission. Communications will focus on current and upcoming activities (as well as reporting on recent events) to its own members, and to the LGBTQ, Catholic and broader public through various media (e.g., press releases, social media, etc.).
The job description is available on request by e-mailing the Dignity Center office at email@example.com or by following this link:
Applicants should include a résumé with cover letter. Applications should be submitted by December 11, 2015. The Dignity/Washington Board is hopeful the successful candidate can begin before the end of the year.
Over the years John McNeill and his husband Charles Chiarelli were frequent visitors to Dignity/Washington. Often in conjunction with his book signings or for Capital Pride weekends, John would be a guest presenter at the community’s Sunday Mass or at the Dignity Center.
Here is John’s obituary as it appeared in the Washington Post on October 2, 2015. “Godspeed, dear friend.”
Wednesday, September 23, 2015 began as one of those glorious fall days in Washington, DC, perfect for any kind of outdoor activity. On that particular morning Dignity/Washington members Ray Panas and Daniel Barutta were gathered on the South Lawn of the White House, at the invitation of President and Mrs. Obama, to welcome Pope Francis on his historic first visit to the United States.
Meanwhile, at the Human Rights Campaign Building, a half a block from Saint Matthew’s Cathedral, several other Dignity/Washington members had joined HRC members and allies to greet His Holiness at his arrival in his iconic Fiat for a noonday Prayer Service and address to the clergy of the Archdiocese of Washington and the US bishops. Both the HRC and Dignity/Washington banners were on full display to be seen by the bishops as they arrived for the event.
The crowd’s enthusiasm was keenly felt, mixed with the hope that Pope Francis would acknowledge and welcome his LGBT Catholics as full members of the Church. Would the Pope act to redress past Church wrongs in their regard? This question was on the minds of most, if not all, who were present. Dignity/Washington could be proud of its witness that day.