What is Rainbow Presence?
On Easter, April 8, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, transexual, and supportive allies in The Episcopal Church will wear a sign of the rainbow to Church. This Rainbow Presence will be a visible witness to The Episcopal Church's Welcome of all the children of God and the value of their ministries in church and in the world.
Why do we need this witness?
The Communique of the Primates' Meeting in Tanzania laid out steps to be taken by the Episcopal Church, specifically by the House of Bishops, by September 30, 2007. We do not agree with the course of action recommended in this Communique as it calls for sacrifice of the ministries and loving relationhships of gays and lesbians for an illusive false Unity. We also do not believe the bishops should take these steps given the clear decisions made by General Convention in its Constitution and Canons.
What will Rainbow Presence reveal?
Rainbow Presence will be a visible sign to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Episcopalians that they have a community of support. It will show what will be lost to our church if we bow down to the requests of those who do not yet know blessings of God's love for all. It will give a human face to an "issue."
What can you do?
Wear something that shows your support: a pin, a scarf, a stole, hat, button or some other piece of rainbow apparel. Links to buy items are at Rainbow Presence. Also available: cards to put in the collection plate for rectors and vestries of churches where it is not safe for people to be open about their identity.
Spread the word about Rainbow Presence. Add the logo and link to your blog. Rainbow Presence emerged from a grassroots group of people who felt the need to "do something" to represent the true heart of The Episcopal Church. We are a welcoming, worshipping church, gathered in all our diversity to give praise to God and to do the work of being Christ's hands in the world.
Here is the core of our statement from the Rainbow Presence web site:
We agree that:
The Episcopal Church must understand what is being asked of it—especially in terms of its lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender members. The Episcopal Church needs to know who its lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender members are in order to know who is being asked to pay the price of unity in the Anglican Communion. Until lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender members of the Episcopal Church have full and equal access to all the sacraments and rites of the church, lesbians/gays/bisexuals/transgendered people are essentially second-class members of the Episcopal Church.
We acknowledge that:
No matter what course of action the Episcopal Church decides to take, faithful Episcopalians will feel it necessary to leave the Episcopal Church. Some of us may be among those who leave the Episcopal Church.
There are lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender people who live in places where making themselves visible is unsafe and even life threatening.
We affirm the presence in the church of our lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender sisters and brothers who preceded us, giving of themselves and their gifts while remaining invisible as lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender people.
Ann Fontaine and Jeffri Harre for the organizing group of Rainbow Presence, email: rainbopres at yahoo.com