Seeking change through the power of art.
“Wonderfully Made — LGBTQ+R(eligion)” is a combined fine art project and feature-length documentary that together strike at the root of anti-LGBTQ+ attitudes by exploring the challenges and aspirations of LGBTQ+ Catholics and, indeed, any religious tradition that does not fully embrace our LGBTQ+ siblings.
Quest is delighted to be working in partnership with the film’s Director, Yuval David and the Executive Producer, Mark McDermott to host the online debut UK screening of ‘Wonderfully Made’. This amazing 95-minute film will be shown on Wednesday 2nd August at 7pm (UK time).
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s Narrator and Director: Yuval David and Executive Producer: Mark McDermott. The Q&A will be led by Quest member and documentary maker Mark Dowd.
To Register your interest in joining us for the screening on the 2nd August 2023 at 7pm UK time go to the registration form here: https://forms.gle/eBsZamkn5PgeXe8F9 and – if you are able – please make a small donation towards supporting the work of Quest in holding events such as this screening (there is a link on the form).
For links to the website, the trailer and social media feeds; for more information about the film; and to find out who is involved: read on.
- Find the film website here: https://www.lgbtqreligion.com/
- Watch the trailer here: https://fb.watch/fnwTT72lu9/
- Check out the social media here:
As religious discrimination against LGBTQ+ people intensifies across the globe (including the introduction of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation across the US, the criminalisation of ‘same sex conduct’ in Uganda and an undercurrent of right wing shifts in the UK) a team of creatives reimagines 1,700 years of religious iconography – that almost always depicts Jesus as a white, blond-haired, blue-eyed, cisgender male – by producing photo art depicting Jesus as a racially-, ethnically-, gender fluid and diverse member of the LGBTQ+ community.
Exclusion has enabled centuries of discrimination, oppression and injustice against women, people of colour, and anyone else who has found themselves on the margins of society – including LGBTQ+ people.
Icons and imagery are especially important within Catholicism. People want to enter into a relationship with the divine, but it sometimes is hard to do so without being able to visualize their divine partner.
The producers of “Wonderfully Made” created the film and the photo art as a form of advocacy and ministry for hope and change. If, as religion teaches, that we are created in the likeness and image of God, then LGBTQ+ people are the image of God, too. Indeed, some aspect of God’s mysterious being must be LGBTQ+ as well! In short, the message of this film and photo art is that LGBTQ+ people are not alone, no matter what the Church teaches. God loves them as they are, and God loves how they love, too.
Yuval (the director) notes: my husband Mark (the executive producer) has said, “Many LGBTQ+ people cut themselves off from religion. And I certainly understand why. The Church is hurt by that, but LGBTQ+ people are hurt by it, too. The spiritual realm is one of the most profound dimensions of human experience. It harms the soul to lose this connection.” This project therefore welcomes LGBTQ+ people to reconnect to the spiritual realm in a way that hopefully speaks to them by depicting Jesus as suffering with and for them. “Jesus like us – who identifies with us,” Mark says. “Words sometimes aren’t effective. So we’re using the power of art to help LGBTQ+ people and create change.”
Catholicism has a rich history of social activism. There is a passionate group of individuals working inside the Church to minister to LGBTQ+ people. We want others to hear their stories and understand the challenges they faced. And we want our photo art to reflect their experiences. The film features:
Father James Martin, S.J., Editor-at-Large of America Magazine: The Jesuit Review of Faith and Culture. Jim appears regularly on mainstream and social media, is the author of Building a Bridge and has had two private audiences with Pope Francis to discuss his ministry. Pope Francis wrote a letter praising Father Martin’s ministry; another affirming LGBTQ+ Catholics; and a letter of welcome to Outreach 2022, the first ever in-person conference on LGBTQ+ Catholic ministry. “When you look at the Gospels,” says Jim, “you see that Jesus reached out specifically to people who are on the margins. And so, I think if Jesus were here today, in the flesh, on earth, he would be going first to LGBT people.”
Sister Jeannine Gramick, SL, Co-Founder of New Ways Ministry, which is devoted to advancing the cause of LGBTQ+ Catholics. Jeannine first established a ministry to LGBTQ+ people in 1977 and has persevered despite the Vatican directing her in 1999 to stop. Pope Francis recently wrote Sister Jeannine a letter praising her for 50 years of LGBTQ+ ministry. Sister Jeannine will be the keynote speaker at Quest’s 50th anniversary conference in the coming weeks. At Outreach 2022 she noted: “We are all children of God and we need to understand that message so that no one will be on the outside, so there won’t be any fences. That we will all be welcome.”
as well as
Father Bryan Massingale, Professor of Theology at Fordham University, where he teaches theology and social ethics. Bryan is the only openly gay, African-American, Catholic priest in the world.
Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of DignityUSA, a nationwide, grass-roots organization with numerous chapters throughout the US devoted to full Church acceptance of all LGBTQ+ people.
And so many others.
Just a few audience reactions
- “Movies like this really make a difference. I’m grateful to the makers of this film. Everyone should see it.”
- “I have never felt anything more heartbreaking and hopeful and positive.”
- “Thank you so much for something beautiful. I cried throughout the film.”
- “A spectacular film …”
- “An incredibly powerful statement.”
- “I’m pretty much in awe of the beauty around the images.