Reverend Liam M. Hooper, M.Div., is the founder of Ministries Beyond Welcome, which aims to improve the lives of trans and queer people in the community through public education, advocacy, activism, and general support activities. Reverend Hooper is an out, active and proud trans-masculine person; he is a gender theorist, a theological activist, as well as previous mental health counselor, program developer, and professional trainer.
About Ministries Beyond Welcome:
The Mission is: to work for full acceptance, affirmation, accommodation and increased potential for thriving of trans/gender-diverse, queer, and sexuality-expansive persons by facilitating change-making within faith and socio-cultural communities through a range of socio-political, socio-cultural, and faith-based means and methods.
The Vision is bold: MBW envisions creation of a hoped-for world where every child of Creator is liberated, equipped, and supported to become who they are, fulfill their potential, and thrive in a just interdependent, inter-relational, egalitarian, gender-expansive, sexuality-diverse, multi-racial, multi-cultural community.
Overview: MBW recognizes the historical (and current) role of institutionalized religion in the systemic, institutional and legalistic marginalization and oppression of gender-diverse and sexuality-diverse persons (including racial, misogynistic, and classist oppression) and acknowledges this requires a direct response. Ministries Beyond Welcome purposefully engages centering a movement toward greater gender, sex, and sexuality justice through stimulation of increased dialogue, awareness-raising, education, advocacy, direct services and seeks ideological and paradigmatic shifts across religious, social, and cultural intersections. MBW works for the hopeful expectation of its mission through a range of means, methods and services to and with trans/gender-diverse and sexuality-diverse persons, faith communities, and the community at large through relational engagement, consultation, and direct support, to include:
- theological and practical educational workshops, seminars, and training;
- consultation, educational workshops, and theological reflection with faith groups desiring to be more accepting, affirming, and accommodating of trans/gender-diverse persons and LGBTQ people, generally;
- practical intersectional and process-based seminars and workshops (secularly);
- spiritual formation and spiritual reconciliation workshops, seminars, and small-group retreats;
- study groups, support groups, community-building initiatives, and interfaith worship services, vigils, and prayer services;
- participation in just witness and action through marches, rallies, and addresses to legislative bodies;
- other forms of public witness and protest;
- collaborative organizing and partnership with local and national secular and faith-based, justice-seeking partners.
More about Liam Hooper:
Liam is committed to intersectional change-seeking; naming privileging systems and structures, classism, and economic injustice; calling out and addressing white supremacy and systemic racism; naming misogyny, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia; deconstructing colonialist systems and practices, and addressing the complicity of “the Church” in oppressive systems, ideologies, and practices. He is also committed to accompanying, educating, and training clergy, lay-leaders, and faith communities in the work of becoming more competent in the creation of gender/sexuality-diverse communities. Liam takes seriously the call to engage in responsible education and advocacy, and to hear and respect the stories of others. Even as he works for social and faith-based justice, Liam strives to make time for self-care, personal interests, and family. He enjoys reading, woodworking, gardening, and taking walks with his spouse. Liam refuses to give up on his long-held desire to learn to play the mandolin and the guitar. He fell in love with Hebrew in Divinity school, studied throughout his Master’s work, and has continued to study biblical Hebrew, Torah, and ancient Near Eastern history since graduating. He can often be found in cafes, local hide-aways, or at Temple, studying Torah with his dear friend and colleague, a local rabbi. (Of his Hebrew study, Liam says, with a sly grin: “in full disclosure, studying Hebrew and the Torah deeply informs all my advocacy, activism, and general outlook on life.”)
Liam is keenly attentive to, and concerned about, the multidimensional factors affecting individual persons as we seek freedom to be, achieve self-determined personal flourishing, and gain fuller participation in a more just, humane, and peaceful world. In addition to his advocacy/activism, he has developed a skill-based model for coping, increasing stress management competency, self-affirmation, and self-acceptance, which he presents to interested groups. This model ~ Integrated Mindfulness Training ~ has both everyday, practical components as well as spiritual dimensions. Liam tailors workshops and work with individuals around particular needs and concerns.
When he is not studying, woodworking or spending time with his family, Liam regularly engages in all manner of justice work, activism, rabble-rousing, and bell-ringing for the benefit of us all.
Liam lives in the south with his wife, Diana, a freelance publishing professional who keeps his calendar in line, and their teenage son, who keeps them on their toes.