Rocking the Foundation

July 5, 2009

A gay Catholic mass builds a new core of acceptance in London’s Soho


LONDON—As the church bells chime 5 o’clock, the organ prelude begins. Late-comers hurry to take their seats. The congregation is mostly single men, with some couples and even a handful of families—all with the shared goal of unhindered worship.

Our Lady of the Assumption & St. Gregory’s Catholic Church capitalizes on the oxymoronic by offering mass for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community the first and third Sunday of each month. “This is the only LGBT Catholic mass offered on a regular basis,” says Terry Weldon (below), a member of the Soho Masses Pastoral Council. “I’ve now been attending these for almost six years, even though the journey into Soho from my home in Surrey is time consuming.”

Terry Weldon

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I could go on forever

July 2, 2009


Going through the final edits for my story on Terry Weldon and the Soho masses, I was plagued, yet again, with the beautiful problem of too much information. Like my Dublin story on Summayah Kenna, the Irish Muslim, this piece on gay Catholics goes so much deeper than what makes the cut for the final story. Read the rest of this entry »

Plight of the “Narrow Lens”

July 2, 2009


Journalism, by definition, is assuredly the preferred way of telling stories and getting the news out to a wide range of readers, listeners and viewers. However, with areas related to religion and conflict among different sects and beliefs, very often the desired message can be quite far from what each individual may actually glean from a story. Read the rest of this entry »

Faith Through My Eyes

June 25, 2009


Follow me on my reporting travels across Europe as I find a wide array of religious sects and cultures.
Red — Catholicism
Pink — Sikhism
Yellow — Protestantism
Blue — Judaism
Green — Islam

All images shot by Sarah Whitmire for Faith & Friction blog for the Walter Cronkite School for Journalism and Mass Communication.
® Sarah Whitmire 2009

Story on a Stick

June 21, 2009


My final Faith & Friction piece is a story that will combine elements of a profile piece on Terry Weldon, as well as a narrative dealing with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender Catholic masses in Soho.

Upon my arrival in London, given our demanding schedule, I had planned on taking advantage of our planned afternoon in the Sikh community and writing a story there. After doing a bit of research on the homosexual community in London, especially Soho, I found a couple of sizable differences from what you’d find in America (most notably, the red state of Arizona). Read the rest of this entry »

Online Nerdiness Comes to Fruition

June 18, 2009


Actually, “online” nerdiness is probably too specific. General nerdiness is more accurate.

In the middle of our time in Dublin, I decided to follow a more encompassing idea for a story that would cover all three cities we visit. So to go along with religion, I’ve been taking pictures of various religious symbols everywhere we’ve gone. Pretty straightforward, but I really had a great time trying to perfect my exposure and make each picture as good as it could be.  Read the rest of this entry »

Summayah’s Story

June 18, 2009


As a teenager in Ireland during the 1970s, Summayah Kenna converted from Catholicism to Islam. This video piece tells the story of her decision to follow an unpopular path in a country torn by religious strife.

Click here for Lauren Kawam’s print story on Summayah Kenna.