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Recent years have shown alarming statistics that should compel Christian communities to minister to queer youth with special care. Given the polarization in our country over LGBTQ+ inclusion, the reported experience of queer youth’s upbringing, and the harmful rhetoric often promulgated by religious groups, it is important for Christian ministers to be well prepared to engage this risky ministry with confidence and a solid theological foundation for this work.

In the first part of this presentation, Dr. Ish Ruiz will offer

  • An overview of what queer youth are reporting in terms of what it means to “grow up queer” today with particular attention to the needs of queer youth.
  • The second part of the presentation will set a theological framework to understanding ministry with queer youth.
  • The third and final part of the presentation will offer some practical advice for ministry with LGBTQ+ persons.

The presentation is largely informed by research as well as 10+ years of experience ministering to queer youth in Catholic high school settings. Overall, attendees will have an opportunity to discern their role in this ministry and explore tools that will allow them to carry out the work effectively.

Come join us!

Dr. Ish Ruiz

Dr. Ish Ruiz is a post-doctoral fellow of Catholic Studies at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and holds a PhD in Theology and Ethics from the Graduate Theological Union. His research interests explore the intersection between queer theology, Latinx theology, ecclesiology, sexual ethics, liberation, human rights, and Catholic education.

He has published articles on the inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons in Catholic schools and has actively ministered to queer Catholic school educators and students for almost a decade. Prior to his appointment at Emory University, Dr. Ruiz taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Dayton, worked at the secondary school level for 11 years, chaired the Marianist LGBTQ+ Initiative team, offered several workshops to Catholic schools on Catholic LGBTQ+ inclusion, served as a union activist to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ Church employees, and presented in several pastoral conferences throughout the nation on Catholic LGBTQ+ inclusion.

Through his teaching, research, and service, Dr. Ruiz hopes to see a world where Catholicism and LGBTQ+ people embrace each other with love and gratitude for the gifts everyone brings to society and the Church.