Creating space to receive the whole person, grow systems of mutual support, and empower for creative discipleship
Hey Fellow Traveler,
It’s good to have you here! Usually these “about us” sections on websites give you a mission statement and a list of credentials. That makes sense. “What are you about and why should we listen to you?” Scroll down a little further and we'll tell you who we are and what we believe. But stay here a second, if you don’t mind.
Because what we do and what we have done isn’t exactly “who we are.” These are aspects of us, sure. Facets of the whole. But who we are starts in the very beginning. It starts before we were born. It starts before our conception. It will go on long after we die.
Who I am, who you are, who we are together is simple. We are willed, loved, unrepeatable men and women created in the image and likeness of God. We are adopted daughters and sons of the Father. We are redeemed through the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ. By the sacramental life, we are animated by the wild abundance of the Holy Spirit.
We’re human persons. Disciples. Dreamers. Wounded. Graced. Striving. We’re not experts, therapists, doctoral theologians, or activists. We’re just complicated people. Kind of like you.
Eden Invitation is our project. Welcome to the adventure!
ANNA CARTER | CO-FOUNDER & PRESIDENT
Chronologically speaking, Anna loved books, the outdoors, Hanson, the Eucharist, girls, and, finally, an integrated life. Anna now serves as the vision-caster, general ringleader, and resident wordsmith for Eden Invitation. Growing up, her tenacious faith in Jesus predated awareness of her same sex desires. Her passion for catechesis and evangelization brought her to the Franciscan University of Steubenville, NET Ministries, and the high school classroom. She’s passionate about helping the Church serve unmet needs and about helping her friends find good books to read. More from Anna about her story here.
SHANNON OCHOA | CO-FOUNDER & DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY CARE
Shannon directs more than programs. She's nurturing relationships and developing community. Shannon graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in Social Welfare and Gender & Women's Studies. She has fallen for men and for women, but ultimately she fell for the beauty of Christ and His Church. Prior to founding Eden Invitation, Shannon worked in college campus ministry with The Evangelical Catholic and Brew City Catholic. If you're looking for her, try the shore of the nearest body of water. She’ll be in a hammock. More from Shannon about her story here.
JOSH WATTENBARGER | DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS & SPECIAL PROJECTS
Josh provides strategic vision, operational acumen, and an eye for our broader church impact. An alumni of NET Ministries and Franciscan University, he innately understands accompaniment and evangelization. Josh's career has taken him to Catholic parishes and dioceses managing teams and directing faith formation. In the meantime, he earned an MBA and MA in Theology. Josh lives in Las Vegas with his wife, three children, two dogs, and one much-needed Costco membership.
RAQUEL STOREY | MISSION ENGAGEMENT COORDINATOR
Raquel dynamically engages new program participants and brings donors into our mission. Her attentiveness to the margins led her to several years with the Catholic Worker and urban ministry. Raquel first encountered Eden Invitation as a curious participant, and God drew her deeper into involvement and leadership. She recently completed her Masters of Divinity at Notre Dame. Raquel loves the local food movement so much, she decided to marry a farmer! Produce coming soon to a South Bend, IN farmers market near you. More from Raquel about her story here.
Eden Invitation is rooted in the belief in everything contained in the word of God, whether written or handed down in Tradition, which the Church, either by solemn judgment or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium sets forth to be believed as divinely revealed. We firmly accept and hold each and everything definitively proposed by the Catholic Church regarding teaching on faith and morals.
In union with a traditional, Biblical anthropology and sexual ethic as proclaimed throughout Christian history and articulated by the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian churches, we state the following:
We believe that the human person is made in the image and likeness of God. Each person possess intrinsic dignity as a unique, unrepeatable human being. We are called by God first to union with Him.
We believe that the human person is both corporeal and spiritual. The entire human person - body and soul - is willed by God. Being created male or female is a "very good" reality. Our sexual identity is rooted in our whole person, male or female. We acknowledge that effects of the Fall are present in both our bodies and souls, and in sexual identity and sexual desire for all persons in various ways.
We believe that we are not individually morally culpable for our concupiscence. Desire becomes a matter of vice or virtue when the will is engaged in choice. To experience discord within one's bodily sex or to experience attraction to someone of the same sex is not sinful per se.
We believe that sexual expression is intended to be unitive and procreative within the context of an exclusive, indissoluble marriage between one man and one woman. Sexual expression outside of this union is sinful for all persons.
Every person is called to holiness and to chaste integration of their sexuality according to their state in life.