Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Deacon Georgia Walker ARCWP Delivers Petition with 30,000 Signatures to Diocese of Kansas City/"A Call to Bishop Finn for Justice and an Apology To Colleen Simon "
"A petition supporting a church employee fired for being married to a woman made it to the Diocese of Kansas City, but not without some struggle.
A petition drive in support of Colleen Simon acquired more than 30,000 signatures, said petition organizer Georgia Walker. Those who signed had asked the diocese to reinstate Simon, who was fired after "an irreconcilable conflict between the laws, discipline, and teaching of the Catholic Church...," according to a letter Simon received from the diocese after her dismissal.
Walker and other supporters attempted to hand-deliver the signatures to the diocese, but were halted once they arrived inside the church's downtown headquarters.
Somebody eventually took the signatured and promised to deliver it to Bishop Robert Finn.
"These are concerned Catholic parishoners who are all here to say we've had enough," said Walker. "We want a change. We want a change toward compassion. We want a change toward acceptance and inclusivity."
Simon married a woman in Iowa, and was fired in May after 10 months of work with St. Francis Xavier as its Parish Social Concerns Minister..."

July 23, 2014
To:  Bishop Finn
Today I have delivered a petition to you signed by more than 25,000 individuals.  We are asking that you apologize to Colleen Simon and reinstate her to the position at St. Francis parish.  My reasons for doing this delivery are summarized in the following paragraphs.
The Roman Catholic parishioners in the Diocese of Kansas City-St Joseph yearn to have a bishop-shepherd who leads with compassion, understanding, dialogue and peace.  We pray for one who hears the voice of conscience and follows gospel values of Jesus of Nazareth, who was welcoming, inclusive, collaborative, forgiving and loving.  We are weary of actions that reflect inflexible church rules despite the devastating consequences in the lives of sincere human beings striving to respond to God’s call to ministry.
Colleen Simon is a gracious and loving person with many talents who was putting those God-given talents to work in service to the poor.  Wouldn’t it be better to sit down with her, share your concerns and hear her perspective?  Instead, it appears that you callously fired her from a ministry that she was performing with great success and much compassion.  Some of us urged you to avoid a costly legal challenge and simply consent to enter into mediation so that you could both express your points of view and develop an understanding of the situation from both sides of the dispute.  Why do you refuse to talk?  We asked you to meet with the parishioners of St. Francis and those with whom she ministers even though many were deeply wounded by your abrupt decision to fire her.
The injustice of the discriminatory firing deeply impacts our sisters and brothers of the Kansas City LGBT community and makes many of them feel unwelcome in the church. Moreover, Colleen was left with no job, no health insurance, and no access to unemployment compensation.  Why do the men who are to gently lead the church not care enough for our own workers to participate in the Missouri Unemployment Insurance system!  Colleen is a cancer survivor who still needs medical care.  Please pray about that as you ponder why the parishioners of this Diocese are leaving the church in droves!  Please read The Nonviolent Life by John Dear so that you might learn to act with more compassion and respect for the dignity of all God’s people!  Jesus stood with the marginalized! Respectfully, I ask that you resign from your position so that we can participate in a more loving and inclusive Roman Catholic Church!
Georgia Walker     
(816) 572-3453     1919 East 58th, KC, MO  64130
Bridget Mary's Response
"Injustice anywhere" as Martin Luther King said is "a threat to justice everywhere." The firing of Colleen Simon because she is a lesbian and married to her partner is an example of discrimination. Bishop Finn, ask yourself what would Jesus do in this situation and do it. Show compassion, reinstate Colleen and apologize. Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

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