John J. McNeill Legacy Fund

Father John (Jack) J. McNeill Legacy Fund

Memorial Service
Saturday, October 24th – 1:00pm at Sunshine Cathedral MCC

In remembrance of John and his pioneering work, his family has established The John J. McNeill Legacy Fund to provide support for the preservation and dissemination of his writings, lectures, and teachings.

An immediate goal of this fund would be the digitization of his correspondence, audio/visual recordings, and other archival works so that they will be available for scholarly research as well as to continue the work to which he devoted his life of inspiring and empowering the worldwide gay and lesbian community.

With deep appreciation,
Charles Chiarelli (husband) and Timothy J. McNeill (nephew)

The Father John J. McNeill Legacy Fund is maintained at the
Sunshine Cathedral MCC – Sunshine Cathedral Foundation.

Checks can be mailed to:
Father John J. McNeill Legacy Fund
c/o Sunshine Cathedral Foundation
1480 SW 9th Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315

Make checks payable to: Sunshine Cathedral Foundation and in the memo section please write: John J. McNeill Legacy Fund

Online contribution can be made by clicking: Father John J. McNeill Legacy Fund

All donations are tax deductible.

For more information please contact Timothy McNeill.

For more information on Father John please visit: The Owls Nest

From Rev Dr Durrell Watkins, Senior Minister, Sunshine Cathedral, “I’ve enjoyed Father John’s erudite and provocative writings, but it’s been from personal interaction with him that I’ve learned the most. Some moments that stand out for me are:

1. His every theological conversation mentioned the “holy Spirit.” Father John represents for me a high pneumatology that goes beyond “belief” or opinion; John depended on, trusted, and revered the Spirit of God in his life and in our world.

2. John McNeill was always adamant that God could only be experienced through and as Love. He was very suspicious of “truth” claims, or any attempt to understand or relate to God intellectually. He didn’t seem to believe that we could mentally work out who or what God is. We could only experience and share God’s love.

3. Father John said more emphatically and more consistently than anyone I’ve ever known that being gay was God’s blessing to those who are gay. Homosexuality was part of God’s good creation for John, and those who were gay had received a special gift from God. He wasn’t a gay Christian apologist; he was a gay Christian activist! His affirmation that homosexuality was a divine gift made coming out feel almost sacramental (and, as honesty does seem to offer a healing sort of grace, I guess it is!).

4. He once said in a sermon that those who fear God are not worshiping the God of Jesus Christ. He said that ancient pagan cultures would often sacrifice their children to their gods to assure success of the crops. He then said, “Can you imagine how much fear those mothers must have had of their god to do that? And can you imagine how deeply they must have hated their tyrant god for requiring that of them?” He said we cannot love what we fear, and we when we worship a god out of fear, we are worshiping a false god and not the God of perfect Love.

5. He introduced me to Maurice Blondel, the French theologian who influenced Father John’s own theology, and who was in fact the subject of John’s doctoral dissertation.

6. Even though he was a prisoner of war in WWII, it was the hatefulness and intolerance that Christians so often display that seemed to hurt him most deeply.

7. When I first came to Sunshine Cathedral he offered me his personal blessing. I received it humbly and with gratitude. He once told me that I had the “gift of teaching.” That affirmation was a powerful blessing as well and it will always be something I treasure.

The Reverend Dr. John J. McNeill will probably be remembered as an academic and as an activist who took on the Roman Catholic hierarchy. I think I will always remember him as someone who lived his life in such a way that anyone paying attention might experience the presence of holiness. What an honor it has been to know him and his husband Charlie. His memory will certainly bless all who hold it!

From Rev Elder Dr Nancy Wilson, Presiding Elder/Moderator of Metropolitan Community Churches, “Fr. John McNeill was the most gentle and pastoral of prophets. He was a true Jesuit, in his soul – devoted to the truth, and above all, to the marvelous work of the Holy Spirit. He gave hope and healing to a generation of LGBT Catholics who struggled to reconcile faith and sexuality, He was silenced by a Pope, and drummed out of his beloved Jesuits, but remained steadfast and clear in his faith. He was a joyous lover, friend and compassionate teacher and counselor. John was personally encouraging to me, and he loved Metropolitan Community Churches – he had a profound ecumenical spirit, and gave his all to our movement. Besides the God who created him, he loved Charlie most of all, and their profound witness has changed the church and the world.”

From Rev Elder Pat Bumgardner, Senior Pastor MCC New York & Executive Director of the MCC Global Justice Institute, “John McNeill was one of my heroes. A scholar and a person of great compassion, he embodied the best of what it means to be a priest. Mary Jane and I loved John deeply,and we look forward to meeting him on the other side, where we are sure he will be storming the gates of heaven with new and wonderfully liberating insights and understandings.”


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