Retreating Forward - A Spiritual Practice with Transgender Persons
Transgender people are among the most marginalized and vulnerable populations in the world. Misinformation, lack of education, and lack of experience among cis-gendered persons often result in forms of violence and abuse directed towards those perceived as transgender or gender non-conforming. Such violence and abuse are not restricted to secular culture but expand into faith communities and essential forms of spiritual care and support. When transgender people of faith share the reality of their gender identity they often experience rejection by the very communities that should provide support, encouragement, and practical ministries of hospitality. Retreating Forward: A Spiritual Practice with Transgender Persons is an educational and practical resource for individuals, spiritual leaders, and faith communities seeking to provide practical and spiritual sustenance. The retreat model included in this text proved transformational for those involved. ""At a time when hate violence disproportionately affects trans women of color, David Weekley offers an insightful model for transgender and gender non-conforming persons. Weekley's retreat model study is a compelling cutting-edge resource. His carefully crafted observations and analyses will be of interest to those who are in ministry with marginalized communities."" --Pamela R. Lightsey, Boston University School of Theology; author of Our Lives Matter: A Womanist Queer Theology ""Theological discussions, meaningful group games, and an in-depth preliminary survey provide head starts for a first-rate retreat. Based on the life-experience of transgender pastor David E. Weekley, hundreds of gender non-conforming people of faith, and a fine annotated bibliography, this text earns my enthusiastic recommendation."" --Virginia R. Mollenkott, author of Omnigender: A Transreligious Approach ""This is an accessible resource that can help spiritual leaders extend their ministry into the transgender and gender non-conforming community, and begin to address the wounds inflicted by religious leaders on this small and vulnerable community."" --Erin K. Swenson, Psychotherapist ""All in all, this is a very strong project. I'd love to see it funded and replicated in other parts of the country. Because Weekley's process is so participant driven, I think it will adapt easily to different cultural perspectives/settings."" --Justin Tanis Managing Director, Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion at Pacific School of Religion; author of Transgendered: Ministry, Theology, and Communities of Faith ""David has enriched both learning and methodology in relation to transgendered people, the wider church, and--perhaps especially--in the area of spirituality. A spirituality of listening and attentiveness in a context of hospitality and welcome is central to Christian life and mission today."" --Clare Watkins, University of Roehampton; co-author of Talking about God in Practice David E. Weekley is an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church, and an advocate and member of the transgender community. Dr. Weekley received his MDiv from Boston University School of Theology in 1982, and Doctor of Ministry degree in 2016. Currently serving as pastor of a United Methodist congregation in New England, David continues to advocate for and develop creative ministries with those who identify as transgender.