there is a cavity
where my heart used to be
can she fill it?
i was innocent
will his touch warm the chill?
quench the burning?
i can never quite tell
what i really mean
what i want
who am i, really?
this body doesn't match their lines
their roles and standards
...and a fallen world's lies...
"my Lord, my deepest yearning is before You."
these gaps that stretch in the silence
but piercing, aching, longing
“He stretched out His arms between heaven and earth.”
do i long alone?
or do You allow Yourself to thirst?
“give Me a drink.”
You allow Your fullness to lose
You allow Your communion to long
the hen gathering the chicks of wayward Jerusalem
ever drawn to the wandering sheep
can You survive the loss of Your little ones?
"for Love is strong as death, longing as fierce as sheol
...deep waters cannot quench love, nor rivers sweep it away."
can i stand at the edge of that abyss?
can i peer into the darkness that dazzles me?
because Your love is light
more light than i can see
CARE TO JOIN US?
If you're an LGBT+ disciple on the way, striving to follow Christ and His Church, we at Eden Invitation are your companions on the journey! Our retreats are one part formation, two parts family reunion, several cups of prayer, and more than a dash of crazy. We'd love to have you!
| YOU'LL GET |
4 days and 3 nights in a wooded enclave, meals included
Dynamic communal prayer and Catholic sacraments
Space for solitude and quiet rejuvenation
Family dinners and happy hours
The greatest talent show of your life
Talks on theology, psychology, and life practicalities
Spiritual guides on hand for advice and life chats
| FOR |
$300 + optional $35 for airport transportation
The retreat is in the greater Atlanta area. Exact location will be shared with registered participants.
| SIGN UP |
| MEET THE TEAM |
Below you'll find a portion of our team. There will also be some in leadership who won't show up on this list. They're people from our community - small group leaders, musicians, session leaders - who aren't public about their sexuality. While we can't add them here, we're excited for you all to meet!
We'll also be adding more pastoral leaders throughout the next month, so stay tuned!
Anna Carter is the Co-Founder and President of Eden Invitation, serving most often as vision-caster, general ringleader, and wordsmith.
Anna has been mission-minded for while now, with a theology background and ten years in ministry. She's also pretty passionate about books and bourbon. One of her highlights of 2019 was spending three months in the American West, where she had plenty of opportunities to step into the longing in wilderness solitude.
Shannon Ochoa is the Co-Founder of Eden Invitation, filling the critical roles of "Mama Bear" and diligent workhorse.
She's gentle with the brokenhearted and feisty about injustice, which led to programs in social welfare and gender & women's studies and a career in college campus ministry. When Shannon is most in touch with her longings, she's meandering through the woods, cooking meals for others, or jamming in an all-out praise and worship session.
Amy received her Master of Arts in Counseling from Reformed Theological Seminary. With over twenty years of experience working with individuals on their journey to wholeness, including private practice, residential treatment centers, churches, and elementary schools, she offers a diverse skill set as a counselor. Amy has a gift of coming alongside people and offering her strength and tenderness. She believes that we all hunger for a reality and depth to our lives that only Christ provides.
FR. RAPHAEL MARY SALZILLO
Fr. Raphael Mary Salzillo, O.P. is a priest of the Dominican Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, in the Western United States. He grew up on the Oregon Coast as an evangelical Protestant and converted to Catholicism in high school. He was ordained a priest for the Dominican Order in 2009 and worked in campus ministry in Seattle. In 2019 he completed PhD in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and is now teaching at University of St. Thomas in Houston, TX.
WHAT THEY SAID LAST YEAR
"I loved the feeling that the weekend was for us."
| Jon, 33 |
"As an entrepreneur, I'm a huge fan of calculated risks & taking leaps of faith. Coming to this retreat was no different than any other scary thing I've done in life. But the ROI for this decision was probably the greatest one by far...I was pretty much a different person walking out of that place on Sunday"
| Karen, 25 |
"Yes, this retreat was for people culturally identified as LGBT. But it was more importantly for people. We're all tempted at every turn to doubt that God is here, that Jesus is present in His Church, that the Lord's commands and promises actually lead to fullness of life. This weekend gave me the opportunity to look into my heart, to see these doubts, and to whisper an invitation to the Spirit to come in.
The result was an experience of trust in God that cast out all fear, and an experience of kinship with my brothers and sisters who are courageously using their God-given freedom to trust Him too.
We hear all the time that 'if the Church is going to hold to this teaching, then we need options for people.' This retreat, or rather, this community, is one hell* of an option."
| Raquel, 28 |
"Definitely gotta make this retreat longer. Tooooo quick."
| Carlos, 25 |