Communicating Hope | Meet the Bloomsburgs
…Words have an extraordinary power to bring people together or to divide them, to forge bonds of friendship or to provoke hostility….Communicators have the opportunity to promote a true culture of life by distancing themselves from today’s conspiracy against life (cf. Evangelium Vitae, 17) and conveying the truth about the value and dignity of every human person.
These words from Saint John Paul II’s final World Communications Day address ring just as true, if not more so today as they did nearly 20 years ago. While his address was originally directed towards those directly working in media, we are all communicators who have the opportunity to promote the dignity of every human person through the words we use.
Two such communicators, Kristina and Sam Bloomsburg from Fargo, ND, use their unique gifts to serve God and others through their work– Kristina as a Communications Assistant for the Diocese of Fargo and Sam as a resident physician for general surgery. Outside of work, they enjoy good conversations with friends over a cup of tea. They first started talking about Eden Invitation when Kristina’s friend became involved in our community.
“Before Bernadette got whisked away to St. Paul to join the staff, she was my roommate!” Sharing a love of the English language and how we use it, Kristina and Bernadette had many chats about how to communicate the truth, particularly when it concerns potentially contentious topics.
Even if two people are speaking the same language, each one brings their own experiences to the table. An innocent phrase for one person may bring up difficult memories for another. As Kristina admits, “How many times have I said mean things without knowing? How many times have I heard well-meaning people say offensive things about those with same-sex attraction?”
The extremes in culture war discourses, even when shared with good intentions, cause sometimes quiet, but still very real collateral damage. With assumptions and commentary shooting past ever faster with the rise of the internet, many people with LGBTQ+ experiences are bombarded with doubts: “Am I really a beloved child of God? Am I the only one who feels these desires? Do I need to be ‘fixed’ before I can receive God’s love? Who will walk with me if I strive to live according to the Church’s teachings?”
While the doubts and division around LGBTQ+ experiences in our Church and culture could cause us to despair, Kristina sees this gap as an opening, an opportunity to step into hope: “Jesus is calling each of us to Himself, no matter our experiences or our past,” Kristina shares. If we take time to learn where each person is coming from, we’ll find that we all share a Longing for God, and “we have the same desire for community and love…I'm hopeful that bridges will continue to be built between families and friends so that true conversions may occur for all.”
Soon these conversations deepened from discussing how we generally communicate the truth of the Gospel to how unique individuals–Kristina, Sam, and Bernadette–can do this. “When Bernadette was discerning working with Eden Invitation, it seemed so clear to me that God was calling her there.” Kristina shares. “We're called to treat every person with dignity and respect. But how do we love, cherish, and walk with those who are struggling with their sexuality?... Eden Invitation creates the space for good community and conversation to really walk with people.”
To build constructive and life-giving conversations around our stories, Eden Invitation launched the Porch Series in 2021, which includes guides on how to share one’s own LGBTQ+ experience with someone and how to receive someone who is sharing their story. We’re also working to expand our resources in 2024 (but you can read more about that in our end-of-year newsletter here).
“Eden Invitation has helped me to ‘speak the language’...to have the mindset and confidence to engage in conversations about sexuality when they come. Where the world says there's division, there really can be unity, since we're all brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ."
“The mission is so needed in our world…[Bernadette] seemed like the perfect person for this mission,” Sam added. The couple started giving a monthly donation to support Eden Invitation because “We knew working for this mission would come with some unique challenges for her too…we wanted to be sure she felt supported financially so she could be free of worry to do the work God was calling her to.”
Their donations and the regularly scheduled donations from our Mission Support Team bring stability to our day-to-day operations. With their support, our staff can focus on this world-changing work, and we can ensure that the cost of participation is not a barrier. Our Story Calls, Book Clubs, Hearth Groups, Porch Events, volunteer formation, retreats, and online community spaces are sorely needed resources for disciples with an LGBTQ+ experience–all of these and more are offered at low to no cost to our participants.
Through the witnesses of the Eden Invitation staff, community, and supporters, more people are beginning to grow in understanding– learning to speak the same language and grow as striving disciples of Christ. You can become a part of the impact whether you're giving for the first time or in addition to your monthly support. Please prayerfully consider giving to our 2023 End of Year Campaign to help us reach our $50,000 goal. We are so grateful for the Bloomsburgs and for all of you who support our mission with your generosity and prayers!