(Warning: Some links contain graphic descriptions and images.) 

Through their Ignatian Spiritual Life Center, the Jesuit-run parish of St. Agnes Church, located in the Haight-Ashbury District of San Francisco, will host a workshop (on May 20, 2017) entitled: LGBTQ Gifts for the Institution Church. The “facilitator” for the workshop will be Brian Bromberger, a Deacon of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. According to the Center’s description for the event:

Brian Bromberger is an ordained permanent deacon in the archdiocese of San Francisco. He has studied contemplative spirituality academically, but more importantly tries to incorporate it into his prayer and active life, with hopefully these two areas becoming more and more united. Brian is a freelance writer and editor, with interests in social sciences, religion/spirituality, and sexuality. He considers ecumenical and interfaith pursuits, especially Buddhism, as essential to his vocation and evolution as a progressive Christian. He is proud to be a gay Roman Catholic and sees no contradictions in that identity, only opportunities for the Holy Spirit to help him grow into a more loving, compassionate, and holy person.

According to a description of the workshop printed in the Sunday Bulletin at St. Agnes:

This workshop will focus on what the Church can learn from the LGBTQ community so as to revitalize her own faith. As a way to better articulate how queer experience can be appropriated in faith, we will use contemplative prayer, especially centering prayer, as a way to build that bridge as well as offering LGBTQ people a model to understand the spiritual implications of the queer experience. Join us at for this workshop to ask, how might practical aspects of everyday queer experience such as pride, coming out, authenticity and hospitality invigorate contemporary Christian practice? And how might being inclusive to LGBTQ people make us better Christians and fulfill God’s calling to us? The workshop will focus on these questions and on what the Church can learn from the LGBTQ community.

Ordained in 2005, at the time Bromberger was a parishioner at the predominantly “gay” parish of Most Holy Redeemer in the Castro. Prior to his ordination, Bromberger spoke to the congregation at Most Holy Redeemer:

While my ordination may be a milestone in my own spiritual life, more importantly it’s a significant event in the life of our faith community here at MHR. I’m a symbol.

In 2006, Bromberger assisted openly gay Episcopal priest John Kirkley when he offered “the sacrament of the sick” at Most Holy Redeemer. Bromberger later moved to St. John the Apostle Church. He now is a frequent contributor to the gay newspaper The Bay Area Guardian where Bromberger offers book and movie reviews as well as articles about homosexuality, religion, and same-sex marriage. The Bay Area Guardian is the oldest continually published LGBT newspaper in the US. The paper covers both national and local stories of interest to the LGBT community; a variety of companies advertise in the paper: from hospitals and high-end hotels to gay sex clubs and men offering “nude erotic massage.”

Here are a few excerpts from Bromberger’s articles for The Bay Area Guardian:

I’m a Porn Star…is a documentary by Charlie David following the lives of four Internet gay pornographic stars who might seem like ordinary guys the rest of the time. We are given behind-the-camera insight into this $13 billion business, as well as several scenes of graphic sexuality. So if you have ever wondered what the real life of an adult entertainer might be, the ins and outs, the ups and downs, this might be that rare opportunity to take a look. 9/4/14

Despite centuries of history silencing LGBT relationships, a brief perusal of Days of Love should convince any skeptic that there have always been LGBT people seeking love. As we bask in these heady days of social acceptability and legality of same-sex marriage, we are reminded that many people past and present paved the way for our civil rights, not the least of which is the right to love whomever we want. 12/11/14

One can’t help noticing whether consciously (to show their erection) or not, almost all the men were touching their c**ks as they philosophized about them, perhaps to combat nervousness or promote confidence. Overall the tone is celebratory and sex-positive, and the viewer receives the impression that most of the men are happy, even relieved, to talk about what their d**ks mean personally to them. 1/22/15

The writing is hysterical, whether he is choking on a dusty dildo during Skype sex, rendezvousing with a flight attendant who dresses as a dolphin (part of the furry phenomenon), spilling a glass of red wine on his date then using a Tide-to-Go pen on the crotch of his pants to clean up the mess, or having an eczema attack during a sexual liaison. 7/16/15

With the Supreme Court’s legal ratification of same-sex marriage in all 50 states in June, there has been a celebration of committed relationships in all their forms. 9/17/15

…radical inclusivity of LGBTQI people challenges all members in a religion to bring their full selves to their spiritual lives. As long as gay/lesbian folks are excluded, the tradition is incomplete and doomed to continual struggle.
There is no single path for LGBTQI inclusion given the diversity among American faith communities. Progress in a tradition needs to be seen in historical context. For example, Orthodox Judaism’s rejection of reparative therapy is revolutionary for such ultra-conservative Jews. Even in liberal bastions such as Episcopalians, LGBTQI people can still be informally treated as second-class citizens, with qualified rather than unconditional acceptance. 1/7/16

This riveting film is an ideal resource for anyone struggling with their sexuality, or for families/allies wanting to know more about the gay experience. This movie is perfect for high school human sexuality courses (a two-part high school version is a bonus feature) as it is accessible and fast-paced for a young audience, with its intimate, even awkward moments, such as Peters’ mother asking whether anal sex hurts. 10/6/16

Through interviews with Holmes’ colleagues, porn stars (Jeff Stryker, Jim Bentley), observers of the period (Chi Chi LaRue, John Waters), this winning documentary reveals the crucial role Holmes played by not only setting standards for porn and teaching gay men how to have sex, but in shaping ideas about masculinity and what it means to be gay. 11/3/16

St. Agnes Church regularly hosts gay Jesuit Donal Godfrey as a homilist. Godfrey, Associate Director for Faculty/Staff Spirituality at the University of San Francisco has argued that God is transgender and gay men should “imagine Jesus as gay.”