Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ The Church of Jesus
Christ serving the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Straight, Queer, Intersexed,
Community of Central New York.
The Church where everyone is welcome in the Name Of Jesus!
is the church by you, for you!
are welcome here.
is the Ray Of Hope Church
Pastor's Page and it was updated March 4, 2018.
link to the Pastoral Blog is at the bottom of this page. The Pastor will give updates on what is happening in our Parish from time to time.
Meet Our Appointed Pastor
Rev. Brother Shawn Francis Benedict +
I believe “..that neither death nor life,
nor angels nor principalities
nor powers, nor things present
nor things to come,
nor height nor depth,
nor any other created thing,
shall be able to separate us from the love of God
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
(Romans 8:38,39 NJKV)
Any message contrary to the message of
these verses is not the voice of God.
The GLBTQIS community has been lied to
by people in “church world” who have
inserted words into
the Sacred Scriptures that are not
there in the original texts
for the sole purpose of persecuting
those who do not fit
into some preconceived construct of
sexual orientation and gender expression.
In short, religionists in
“churchianity” have used God’s name in vain,
the third of the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 20:7)
In our hearts we have known all along
that God really created us with a
spectrum of sexual orientations and gender
Scripture puts it this way; “The Holy
Spirit bears witness with
our spirit that we are children of
God.” (Romans 8:16)
I call this the verse that says all
know that we know that we know”
we are God’s very own special people.
I invite you to hear the Word of God
and receive all the Sacraments
with us and allow God to draw you out
of the darkness of the
lies of the “church” and “society” and
to bring you
into God’s marvelous light.
Holy Scripture puts it this way:
“..you are a chosen generation, a
a holy nation, God’s own special
that you may proclaim the praises of
God who called you out of darkness and
marvelous light.For once you were not a people but
now you are the people of God, who had
mercy but now have obtained mercy.” (1
You are the saints of God, every one
of you who is reading
this is a saint of God.Come out of the tombs of lies you have heard
all your lives
and come together with us to give God
thanks and praise
for all that God is doing for God’s
GLBTQIS people.I stand on these
words as truth and I place my eternal
destiny on these statements.
I believe in the eternal divinity of the Christ.
I believe Jesus is Lord and is truly
in the hearts of believers today
His Real Presence equally known and manifest
in the Eucharist (Holy Communion),
the Holy Scriptures,
the Congregation of Believers, and
the witness of the story of the
Church, called Tradition.
Rev. Br. Benedict is a solemn professed monk of St. Benedict of Nursia having
professed the vows of Obedience, Conversion Of Life, and Stability on June 15,
1996.The Rev. Fr. Dr. John James
McNeill (September 2, 1925 – September 22, 2015), priest and author of The
Church and the Homosexual (1976) was Br. Benedict’s Spiritual Director and
Therapist for years prior to the celebration of the Sacrament of Ordination and
Solemn Monastic Profession.Fr. McNeill
presided as the principal celebrant at the Ordination
and received Br. Benedict’s profession
of Benedictine Vows.
Rev. Br. Shawn Benedict is eternally
grateful to Fr. McNeill, who is now in Paradise with all the Angels and the
Saints, for his tremendous guidance in psychotherapy and Spiritual Direction
sessions and ultimately for Fr. McNeill’s willingness to preside at the
Ordination Ceremony and to receive the promises of life Solemn Vows as a peer
also living the charisms of religious life as a life-long Jesuit Roman Catholic
Christian.Rev. Benedict is also
grateful to Charles Chiarelli, Fr. Mc Neill’s married partner for his testimony
to the love that was made in Heaven for these two Christian men to testify to
the Church in the world.
Now in Paradise, Fr. McNeill prays for
all of us as we continue the glorious work of spreading the Gospel that says so
many wonderful things including “that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality
and that people of all sexual orientations can experience healing and rewarding
relsationships with God.”
(quote from Fr. McNeill’s web site The
Owls Nest.See the link below to
visit the site.)
Additionally, as part of the Ordination Ceremony to the Ministerial Priesthood,
and his profession of Benedictine Vows, Rev. Leo W. Mc Dermott, II retired the
use of his secular birth name, and was given the name in religion, Brother
Shawn Francis Benedict, O.S.B. by Fr. McNeill and the Council of Ray Of
Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc.
The spelling "Shawn" is the Hebrew spelling and means "God is
gracious." The name "Francis" was given in honor of St. Francis
of Assisi because St. Francis taught the Church to welcome all people,
especially the people society finds undesirable. "Benedict" was given
in honor of St. Benedict of Nursia who taught the Church how to pray in common
worship as central to the Christian life, and how to redeem time (Ephesians
5:15-17; Col.4:5) with the liturgy of the hours - a revival of the singing of
psalms "seven times a day" (Psalm 119:64) and "at midnight"
(Psalm 119:62) and who also welcomed all people in the Name of Christ.
St. Benedict also gave the Church a tremendous gift with the vow of Stability
which all "Benedictines" take. This vow says the Benedictine
Christian will remain in the religious community where they took their final
vows all the days of their life. They will not transfer from place to place as
is the custom of most professional religious people. By staying, the
Benedictine cannot hide his or her failings and sins. Rather they must live the
full Christian life in the sight of all, asking forgiveness and seeking
restoration like everyone else. The ministries of Francis and Benedict provide
excellent examples for those who would lead the People Of God in ministry at
Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
One verse in Holy Scripture that has deeply spoken to me is 1 Corinthians
15:10 where St. Paul wrote: by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
We all can sing the song lyrics I am what I am with St. Paul, and celebrate that we are who we are by the power of the Grace of God working within us. I realized by the time I made my First Communion in second grade that I was wired and made to
do this work. I had no idea how difficult it was going to be and how important it was that I was born at this time in the story of the Church. I was born into the storm of sexual orientation, gender identity, and marriage equality, and all the struggles the churches continue to have with these questions. This was the perfect time for me to be born, of course. Each day I grow in the realization of how significant it is to thank and praise God, who has made me and called me to witness out loud that by the Grace of Almighty God, made known in this Dispensation through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, I am what I am. I am a gay Christian and made so by the real, the living, and the moving work of God's Grace through the powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit. Growing each day deeper into this awareness leaves me profoundly in awe of the Real Presence of Christ with us and energizes my continuous gratitude.
I invite everyone reading this to join me in the Rainbow Parade designed, started, and continuing forward by Almighty God. This whole thing is the hand of God at work. To put it bluntly, this is all God's fault! Praise the Lord. Come and see the wonderful works of God and join us in giving God thanks and praise.
~ PASTORAL CONTACT
Rev. Brother Benedict + Appointed Pastor Of Ray Of Hope Church