In 2017 at the end of the Boston conference, Dignity initiated an eighteen-month period of time between to pause and reflect as we prepare for a momentous celebration of Fifty Years! This period has been called our “Jubilee Period”. The observation of Jubilee is rich in our tradition. Read on.
As you well know, the seventh day of the week was, upon direction of Yahweh, to be a day set aside to rest, reflect and worship. Sabbath. The Earth was similarly provided time to rest and recover every seventh year. At the conclusion of the seventh such cycle – fourty-nine years – the tribes of Israel gathered from across the land for a great celebration that came to be known as the “Jubilee.” That word is thought to have its origin in the Hebrew “jobel” meaning “a ram’s horn” that was used in proclaiming the celebration. Over time, the Jubilee in Catholic tradition became associated with great pilgrimages to Rome, where the Holy Door in the Mother Church, was unsealed every fifty years. Our documents describe it as “a year of reconciliation, of conversion, and of solidarity, hope, justice, commitment to serve God with joy and in peace with our brothers and sisters.”
With this tradition in mind the leadership of DignityUSA concluded the Boston conference with the initiation of an eighteen-month period of reflection called our Jubilee period. The rich diversity of our local expressions were called into discussion and reflection on three topics: our roots, the becoming that has led us to today, and discerning a path forward into tomorrow. A record of each conversation is posted on DignityUSA’s website.
In 2019 we will gather in Chicago to rejoice in the fruit of our collective labor over the past fifty years and celebrate friendships formed, obstacles moved, ideas challenged, diversity honored and the dignity of our spirituality and sexuality embraced.
The DignityUSA Board of Directors is using the Jubilee records to inform an initial framing of a strategic plan for our future. This plan will be used to focus our investment of time, talent and resources in a few specific endeavors we believe the Spirit is calling us toward. This plan will be brought to Chicago where the entire assembly will come together in an unprecedented and exciting conference event we are calling a Dynamic Dialogue, that will further flesh the ideas out.
This is an exciting and yet unnerving time for Dignity. Our faith is never more challenged and more important than in times of uncertainty. The theme of the Chicago Conference is “True to Ourselves, True to the Spirit.” If nothing else, Dignity has empowered us to recognize and embrace our truth. The journey has not ended. It is just time to pause, rejoice and reflect. And we will do just that in July 2019 in Chicago.
We only turn 50 once! Come to Chicago for this momentous celebration, rejoicing and reflection – our Jubilee Conference!