Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ The Church of Jesus Christ serving the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender,
Straight, Queer, Intersexed, Asexual, active or celibate, Community of Central
This is the Church where everyone is welcome in the Name Of Jesus!
the church by you, for you!
In the Book of Genesis chapter 1 and
verse 31 God celebrates the wonders and perfection of all God personally
created by calling it GOOD. Therefore we openly declare all persons are created
good with the full spectrum of sexual orientations and gender expressions being
an outpouring manifestation of the continuing creative activities of the
Eternal One and Holy God, of Abraham, Isaac, David, Ruth, Naomi, Sarah, Joseph,
Mary, Jesus, and all believers everywhere - being in fact walking and living
tabernacles of the living God in Christ, through the powerful ministry of the
Holy Spirit. See 1 Corinthians chapter 6, verses 19 and 20.
the Ray Of Hope Church
Pastor's Page and it was updated April 28, 2018.
The link to the Pastoral Blog is at the
bottom of this page.The Pastor will
on what is happening in our Parish from
time to time.
Meet Our Appointed Pastor
Rev. Brother Shawn Francis Benedict +
the Scriptures declare, so I believe;
....that neither death nor life,
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 for
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
they intentionally twisted and
mistranslated the Scriptures as a tool to exclude or persecute
any person or group of persons.It is my observation that many have
obstructed and twisted the
Gospel of Jesus and His Church into what I
call religianity, churchianity, and sexianity.
The assault on millions of people has been
In our hearts we have known all along that
God really created us with a
of sexual orientations and gender expressions.
Scripture puts it this way; “The Holy
Spirit bears witness with
our spirit that we are children of God.”
I call this the verse that says all our
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
into God’s marvelous light of Christ present
with us always.
Holy Scripture puts it this way:
“..you are a chosen generation, a royal
a holy nation, God’s own special people,
that you may proclaim the praises of
God who called you out of darkness and into
marvelous light.For once you were not a people but
now you are the people of God, who had not
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, Rev. Br. Shawn Francis Benedict, believe in the eternal divinity of Jesus the
Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of God,
eternally begotten of God.
Jesus is one being with God.Jesus is God from God, Light from Light, true
God from true God
as the Creed so clearly states.
I experience Jesus as Lord and Saviour
in the hearts of believers today through
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,
I also understand and experience the Holy
Spirit to be God and Christ present and the
power of all the ministry the church
does.This is the traditional Christian
of One God in three persons, the Blessed
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 in Syracuse, NY in the presence of the Congregation of Ray Of Hope Church,
Rev. Joseph C. Fischer, Rev. George Mc Dermott, and the Rev. Fr. Dr. John James
McNeill (September 2, 1925 – September 22, 2015), priest and author of The
Church and the Homosexual (1976).Fr.
McNeill 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
Pictured at Ordination Fr. McNeill giving
the Sermon, and then pictured during the Eucharistic Prayer are
Rev. Br. Benedict, Rev. Dr. Fr. John J. McNeill,
Rev. George Mc Dermott, Rev. Joseph C. Fisher
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 of nearly 50
years for his testimony to the love that was made in Heaven for these two
Christian men to testify to the Church in the world.
Pictured: Fr. John J. McNeill and his married
partner Charles Chiarelli.
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
relationships 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.
was taken on March 11, 2018 on Laetare Rejoice Sunday on the 4thSunday
of Lent. On both Laetare and Gaudete Sundays the color is
rose pink, the color of joy. Notice the fun dusty rose Timberland
work boots. The flowers in the stole are pansies a very robust flower
that shows all the colors of the rainbow. These two rose pink
Sundays are favorites to me..
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" from the musical The Bird Cage 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
~ PASTORAL CONTACT
Rev. Brother Benedict + Appointed Pastor Of Ray Of Hope Church
For more than forty years, John J. McNeill, an ordained priest and
psychotherapist, has been devoting his life to spreading the good news of God's
love for lesbian and gay Christians.
after the publication of The Church and the Homosexual,
McNeill received an order from the "Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith" under Cardinal Ratzinger in the Vatican, now Pope Benedict,
ordering him to silence in the public media. He observed the silence for nine
years while continuing a private ministry to gays and lesbians which included
psychotherapy, workshops, lectures and retreats. In 1988, he received a further
order from Cardinal Ratzinger directing him to give up all ministry
to gay persons which he refused to do in conscience. As a result, he was
expelled by the Vatican from the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) for challenging the
teachings of the Roman Catholic Church on the issue of homosexuality, and for
refusing to give up his ministry and psychotherapy practice to gay men and
lesbians. McNeill had been a Jesuit for nearly 40 years.
In his latest book Sex As God Intended McNeill
presents a simple and straightforward answer to the question: What did God
invent sex for? The answer, derived from an incisive investigation of the
Judeo-Christian Scriptures, is that God intended sex as a source of pleasure,
joy and love. This book represents a concise summary of the wisdom culled over
a lifetime. McNeill's ideas have enriched the faith of thousands, including
fellow teachers, religious scholars, ministers and lay folk. This volume
includes a Festschrift to John McNeill, celebrating his life
and work in a series of essays by students, friends, and activists, honoring
him for his lasting contribution and spelling out how he touched their lives
and work. VISIT THE OWLS NEST Fr.
McNeill’s official web site by clicking here.
For easy instructions on how to use Skype to participate in our activitiesclick here.