Friday, August 31, 2007

"A discovery, not a decision"

Irish Pres. Comes Out For Gays

Calling homosexuality “a discovery, not a decision,” Irish President Mary McAleese urged her country to ease up on the gays. Speaking at a Suicide Prevention conference, McAleese sent this message:

Ireland is making considerable progress in developing a culture of genuine equality, recognition and acceptance of gay men and women. But there is still an undercurrent of both bias and hostility which young gay people must find deeply hurtful and inhibiting.”

"Homosexuality is a discovery, not a decision, and for many it is a discovery which is made against a backdrop where, within their immediate circle of family and friends as well as the wider society, they have long encountered anti-gay attitudes which will do little to help them deal openly and healthily with their own sexuality."

McAleese also said that there needs to be more exploration into the links between sexuality and suicide. Young men make up 40% of Ireland’s estimated 500 each year. What a waste of perfectly good lads.

The love that will finally speak its name

Loraine Barr, in Newsweek, tells of coming out at 88.
Sept. 3, 2007 issue - I was born at a time when to have romantic feelings for another woman was known as "the love that dare not speak its name." I first read Radclyffe Hall's "The Well of Loneliness" around 1938, in my impressionable teens. The book was a heartfelt cry for understanding and acceptance of the "invert." Now we say "gay" and "lesbian," and nobody faints, although we still lack the same rights as other citizens. In how many ways have attitudes changed? And how have they not?


Finally, after almost nine years since my beloved partner's death, I am able to do what I could never have braved in earlier years: pre-sent myself herewith to the world as a lesbian, along with all the women who ask to be judged by the full facet of our characters.

Why am I now able to speak the unspoken? A friend at the retirement community where I live recently came out in the local and national newspapers. When I saw her do that, I thought, for heaven's sake, nobody can fire me, I'm 88 years old, my parents are gone.

Still, I was frightened. It took me several days to put this essay in the mailbox. I owe a lot of credit to people who are comfortable enough in their own skins to say, "This is who I am."

Shall I be haunted for trying to tell my story now, when many might still not wish to address it, or shall I, perhaps, be congratulated

Read it all here

Thanks to Grandmere Mimi for the lead.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Iowa judge strikes down gay marriage ban

The Washington Post reports:
A county judge struck down Iowa's decade-old gay marriage ban as unconstitutional Thursday and ordered local officials to process marriage licenses for six gay couples.

Gay couples from anywhere in Iowa could apply for a marriage license from Polk County under Judge Robert Hanson's ruling.

Less than two hours after word of the ruling was publicized, two Des Moines men applied for a license, the first time the county had accepted a same-sex application. The approval process takes three days.

Gary Allen Seronko, 51, was listed as the groom on the form and David Curtis Rethmeier, 29, the bride.

"I started to cry because we so badly want to be able to be protected if something happens to one of us," Rethmeier said.

Deputy Recorder Trish Umthun said she took five calls from gay couples after the judge filed his ruling Thursday afternoon and expected a rush of applications Friday.

Read it all here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bishop Gene Robinson Interviewed On BBC Radio 4

Tuesday 28 August 2007 21:30

Michael Buerk interviews people who have made life-altering decisions. Gene Robinson explains his choice to become the first openly gay Anglican bishop.

Click here to listen to an archive copy. (Requires RealPlayer.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Integrity Responds to List of Candidates for Bishop of Chicago

The Diocese of Chicago announced this morning their slate of five candidates for the 12th Bishop of Chicago. They are:

The Rev. Jane S. Gould, Priest-in-Charge / Rector, St. Stephen’s Memorial Episcopal Church, Lynn, Mass.
The Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, Rector, St. Thomas Church, Medina, Wash.
The Very Rev. Tracey Lind, Dean, Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland, Ohio
The Rev. Margaret R. Rose, Director of Women's Ministries, The Episcopal Church
The Rev. Timothy B. Safford, Rector, Christ Church, Philadelphia

Here is the Integrity Press Release sent out this morning regarding the Chicago announcement:

August 28, 2007

Integrity Responds to List of Candidates for Bishop of Chicago

“The big news today is that discernment has trumped discrimination in the Diocese of Chicago,” said Integrity President Susan Russell. “The inclusion of the Very Rev. Tracey Lind on the list of five extraordinarily qualified candidates for Bishop of Chicago is a bold step forward and a sign of hope and encouragement not only to LGBT Episcopalians but to the whole church. Her experience and leadership make her an excellent candidate and Integrity applauds the Diocese of Chicago for not allowing the forces advocating bigotry over ability to dominate their nomination process.

It is long past time for the Episcopal Church to acknowledge that B033 -- the 2006 resolution designed to prevent the election of a gay or lesbian bishop – has failed in its attempt to balance the unity of the Anglican Communion on the backs of the LGBT faithful. There is no turning back on the full inclusion of the baptized into the Body of Christ – only moving forward into God’s future as an Episcopal Church committed to mission and ministry, to unity in diversity.

Integrity extends congratulations to all the candidates, any one of whom will make a fine bishop for the Episcopal Church. The Diocese of Chicago’s diverse list of qualified candidates is a sign of the end the ‘season of fasting’ at the expense of the vocations of gays and lesbians in the Episcopal Church and the whole church should rejoice and be glad in that!”

(The Reverend) Susan Russell, President
620 Park Avenue #311 Rochester, NY 14607-2943

Sunday, August 26, 2007


National Coming Out Day 2007!

Get ready to "Talk About It" on October 11, NCOD!

The theme for National Coming Out Day 2007 will be Talk About It, continuing the slogan and branding that the national program has been building since 2005.

National Coming Out Day is a time to celebrate openness and honesty whether you came out 20 minutes ago, or 20 years ago this is a time for all Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Straight supportive people to Talk About It with friends, family and coworkers.

Coming Out Day Kits include:

  • Resource Guides to Coming Out
  • Straight Guides to GLBT Americans
  • Transgender Coming Out Guides
  • Poster, Balloons and HRC Stickers
  • And everything else you'll need to celebrate living openly!

Talk About

To order your kit, please visit:

Asphalt Gospel

Book, film showcase walk that promoted Christian compassion
August 25, 2007
Lawn Griffiths
East Valley Tribune (Phoenix

They've long since kicked the road dust from their shoes, but the small band who walked 2,500 miles from Phoenix to Washington, D.C., last year in CrossWalk America for a new vision of Christian faith is taking it to America again with a book, "Asphalt Jesus," and a documentary film, "Asphalt Gospel."

Grounded in a call for love of God, love of neighbor and love of self, CrossWalk America ( is touted as a point "where Christian compassion meets progressive action." The message is being showcased in the book and the 97-minute film, which will premiere at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. today at the Phoenix Art Museum.

The walk in the spring and summer of 2006 became an exercise in listening to Christians at the grass roots, including those who disagreed with the team's message, said the Rev. Eric Elnes, pastor of Scottsdale Congregational United Church of Christ, CrossWalk's co-founder and author of the newly published "Asphalt Jesus."


Along the way, the team got support from such prominent religious leaders as former Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong and the Rev. James Forbes, senior pastor of Riverside Church in New York City. Forbes would say, "You never know where the next Great Awakening is going to come. ... I see of spark of what very well may be the next Great Awakening in Phoenix, Arizona." Spong and his wife took part in the last segment of the walk, and he wrote extensively about CrossWalk.


We were walking for principles, some of which would suggest that no highly conservative person would want to support us," he said, pointing to Affirmation 5 that "implies full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people" and well as Affirmation 1 implying that "there may be other legitimate paths to God in addition to Christianity." Yet his group found "a lot of evangelical and fundamentalist people coming up to us and saying, 'Thank you, you are walking for me.'" Those same people, [CrossWalk co-fonder Eric] Elnes said, could never stand up in their churches to express support of such positions.

A Discussion with Bishop Catherine Roskam

The Admiral of Morality has posted an interview with Bishop Catherine Roskam by the Episcopal New Yorker. I can't find the source article on the Diocese of New York's website, so perhaps AOM transcribed it from the paper version.

ENY: What do you see as the origins of the current controversies in The Episcopal Church (TEC) and the Anglican Communion?

Bishop Roskam: The tensions have a long history, but the immediate controversy around homosexuality has been driven by the dissidents in this country. The deeper causes have to do with the wealth and power of The United States and the disregard in the past for the voices from the developing world. These causes have been exacerbated by our country's recent aggression in the Middle East. In many places in the world, The Episcopal Church is synonymous with the power of The United States [it provides a huge proportion of the funding for the Anglican Communion]. This is ironic as The Episcopal Church has opposed many of the policies that have alienated us from the rest of the world.

ENY: I'd like to follow up on what you said about the dissidents driving the agenda. What's that about?

Bishop Roskam: Opposition to the ordination of gay and lesbian people and the blessing of same sex partnerships is only the most recent chapter in the dissatisfaction of the dissidents. It began more than 30 years ago with the ordination of women. That is when the primates began meeting regularly.

What differentiates these two issues is that women are not in a minority in the Anglican Communion. We may be 50 percent of the human race but we are probably 60 or 70 percent of the Anglican Communion, yet we are represented by only 3 percent in the councils of the Church. The Anglican Consultative Council passed a resolution to move toward 50 percent representation in the councils. I don't think this is likely.

ENY: How much is cultural?

Bishop Roskam: Alot. The preoccupation with male homosexuality has to do with issues of maleness. So many parts of the Communion have no experience of Christian gays and lesbians in committed relationships. It's too dangerous for gay and lesbian people to come out. In some countries they can be jailed or even executed. The undergirding issue is patriarchy, and also clericalism.

The question is: who decides? Here, we have a highly developed theology of the role of the baptized. We elect our bishops, and many provinces don't do this; bishops are appointed or elected only by other bishops. Some in the Communion would like to see us more hierarchical rather than less. It used to be said that the controversy was about Scripture but I don't hear that as often: people who read Scripture come to different conclusions.

ENY: How do you see the controversy playing out at the congregational level here and abroad?

Bishop Roskam: I don't see it so much on the local level. People don't agree on the issue but are more concerned with filling their churches, about the future of their children, the war, making ends meet. I think people are concerned about mission, the Millennium Development Goals, and I think the people in our diocese do extraordinary work here and abroad—sheltering, feeding, running programs for children.

We're a communion, not a church; disaffection by a few does not constitute schism.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Gay Bishop Announces Civil Union, Infuriates Church Conservatives

This is old news to us, but apparently it just appeared on the radar screens of the British press...

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: August 23, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(London) The only openly gay bishop in the worldwide Anglican Church has unveiled plans for a civil union with his longtime partner, unleashing an attack by church conservatives who call it a publicity stunt.

New Hampshire's Episcopal Bishop, Gene Robinson, tells the British Broadcasting Corporation that he and his partner of 18 years, Mark Andrew, 53, will have a civil union shortly after the state's civil union law goes into effect next year.

"The decision to take advantage of the new law that will come into effect in New Hampshire on January 1 is simply our taking advantage of the kinds of rights which are now being made open to gay and lesbian people in New Hampshire," Robinson tells interviewer Michael Buerk in the program to be broadcast August 28.

Click here to read the rest.

Yet More From Uganda

Crises Across Africa
Gay City News

Letter to Ugandan President Regarding Homophobia and HIV
Human Rights Watch

Friday, August 24, 2007

Susan Russell Comments on Minns/Akinola Letter Flap

The news all over the blogsphere today (titusonenine, Stand Firm, PRELUDIUM, The Episcopal Majority, and Ekklesia to name a few!) that the "Agonizing Journey Letter" sent out by Archbishop Akinola a while back tuns out to be what we might call "deutero-Akinola" (with Martyn Minns' cyber fingerprints all over it) has unleashed quite the flurry of commentary.

Here's mine: "The Man Behind the Curtain."

Software suggests Minns rewrote Akinola’s letter

24 August 2007
by Pat Ashworth

A BISHOP in the United States has been revealed as the principal author of a seminal letter to the Church of Nigeria from its Archbishop, the Most Revd Peter Akinola, which was published on Sunday.

The letter includes a suggestion that the Archbishop of Canterbury’s status as a focus of unity is “highly questionable”. It also refers to a “moment of decision” for the Anglican Communion, which is on the “brink of destruction”.

The document, “A Most Agonising Journey towards Lambeth 2008”, appears to express to Nigerian synods the personal anguish of Archbishop Akinola over his attendance at the Lambeth Conference.

But computer tracking software sug that the letter was extensively edited and revised over a four-day period by the Rt Revd Martyn Minns, who was consecrated last year by Archbishop Akinola to lead the secessionist Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) (News, 11 August 2006). Bishop Minns, along with the Rt Revd Gene Robinson, has not been invited to Lambeth (News, 25 May).

Read it all here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

U.S. Bishops Ask Archbishop of Canterbury for Clarity

Steve Waring
The Living Church

Bishops who have made a public commitment to support the Windsor Report have asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to be clear and articulate in explaining what the consequences will be if the House of Bishops fails to give the assurances sought by the primates.

Seventeen diocesan bishops and one bishop suffragan from The Episcopal Church received an extensive briefing on the primates’ communiqué from the Rev. Canon Gregory Cameron, and shared with him their hopes for the meeting in September between the Archbishop of Canterbury and the House of Bishops during a conference held Aug. 9-10 at Camp Allen near Houston.

Click here to read the rest.

REMINDER: Have you asked your bishop to "hold the line?"

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

More From Uganda

Two articles are circulating on the Internet about more anti-gay persecution in Uganda. If I understand correctly, a march thru Kampala was cancelled by the government because of concerns about violence, but a rally was held. Excerpts are below...

Christians' planned protest against homosexuality cancelled

By Fredrick Nzwili
August 21, 2007
Ecumenical News International

Christians in Uganda have cancelled a planned protest march against homosexuality at the last minute because of fears that it would turn violent.

Organizers say the march through the capital Kampala, scheduled for August 21, was to have urged the government to crack down on those who are not heterosexual.

Christian critics of homosexuality in Uganda nevertheless went on to express public anger over what they say is an increasing number of homosexuals in the country.

"We want everyone to know that we are disappointed. Homosexuality is a terrible thing. It's illegal under our laws," Aaron Mwesigye, the provincial secretary of the Anglican Church of Uganda told Ecumenical News International from Kampala on August 21. "They [the government] must make a clear policy over the issue, as they have done with HIV and AIDS."

Rally denounces homosexuality

Monitor Daily

ABOUT 100 people gathered on the grounds of Kyadondo Rugby Club in Kampala yesterday to rally against homosexuality. Members of the Interfaith Rainbow Coalition Against Homosexuality delivered a document to Minister of Ethics and Integrity Nsaba Buturo, calling for stronger government action against what Pastor Martin Ssempa described as "a well-orchestrated effort by homosexuals to intimidate the government". Born-again Pastor Ssempa of Makerere University Community Church was the key organiser of the event.

The rally was convened in response to a news conference held last week by Sexual Minorities Uganda at which gay, lesbian, and transgender Ugandans asked the government to let them live in peace.


Former Anglican Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo said he supported everyone's right to publicly voice concerns, but felt that the language used at the rally was inappropriately threatening.

"Their use of threatening language is very un-Christian," said Bishop Ssenyonjo, who has ministered to gays. "We are no longer in the era of 'an eye for an eye.' The Lord taught us to respect each person, however different, as full human beings."On Aids and homosexuality, Dr Paul Semugoma said that "Aids is not a homosexual disease, but homophobia keeps gays from seeking health services, which hurts everyone".

He rejected the idea that homosexuality causes HIV/Aids. He said that Aids treatment programmes should provide outreach specifically to homosexuals.Said Dr Semugoma: "Are we saying that Uganda has the most homosexuals in Africa because our HIV/Aids rate used to be one of the highest in the world? No!"

Monday, August 20, 2007

Kampala LGBTI community speaks out

All Africa reports: In an unprecedented show of boldness, the homosexual community in Uganda yesterday came out and addressed their maiden press conference, complaining about discrimination and demanding acceptance by the public.

"Please, let us live in peace. Stop persecuting us. God created us this way. We are children of God as well," shouted more than 30 homosexuals led by Victor Juliet Mukasa, leader of the Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), their umbrella organization comprising Freedom & Roam, Spectrum Uganda, Integrity Uganda and Icebreakers Uganda. Some of them wore masks.

"We were treated in a degrading and inhumane way. Many of us have suffered similar injustice. We are here today to proclaim that these human rights violations are completely unacceptable," she protested as the roomful yelled, "Leave us to live in peace."

"Don't lay a hand on us, we are the homosexual chidren of God. God created us this way and all we ask is let us live in peace."

Read it all here.

Ask Your Bishop To Hold The Line!

The House of Bishops’ next meeting is scheduled for New Orleans during September 19-25--just before the deadline specified in the primates' communiqué. The Archbishop of Canterbury has accepted an invitation to attend this meeting; undoubtedly Rowan Williams will try to persuade the bishops to comply with the communiqué.

It is absolutely essential that you contact your bishop before September 19th and encourage him or her to "hold the line" against the primates' unreasonable demands. Insist that there be no backsliding on full inclusion of the LGBT faithful. Write, e-mail, or call your bishop today! Click here to look up your bishop's contact information.

Talking Points

Why should the House of Bishops reject the demands made in the primate’s communiqué?

  • The primates' of the Anglican Communion do not have authority over the Episcopal Church.
  • The House of Bishops cannot set policy for the entire Episcopal Church. The Executive Council has already rejected the primates' ultimatum on behalf of the entire Episcopal Church.
  • The Episcopal Church cannot abandon its LGBT members for the sake of continued membership in the Anglican Communion. We can’t forsake justice to maintain unity.

Tips For Communicating Effectively With Your Bishops

  • Be respectful. Even if you dislike or disagree with your bishops, treat them with the courtesy due their office.
  • Do not make threats. Threatening to personally leave The Episcopal Church or withhold contributions is counterproductive.
  • Share your personal story. Tell your bishops how you or a family member would be affected by the moratoria.
  • Be brief. Bishops are busy people. A short, focused message will have more impact than a long, rambling one.

Legal experts tackle same-sex questions

Marites N. Sison
Anglican Journal
Aug 20, 2007

Conflicting interpretations of the ramifications of General Synod’s recent decisions around same-sex blessings have led the bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada to consult with their chancellors.

Among the questions that have arisen: What does the approved motion stating that "the blessing of same-sex unions is not in conflict with the doctrine of the Anglican Church of Canada" mean? Can clergy and dioceses now conduct same-sex blessings? Some bishops have issued pastoral letters asking clergy not to conduct same-sex blessings – can priests be disciplined if they ignore this directive? How can clergy be disciplined if General Synod already declared that same-sex blessings are "not in conflict" with the core doctrine of the church? What does the defeat of the motion affirming the authority of dioceses to offer same-sex blessings mean?

And, for the diocese of New Westminster, which approved such blessings in 2002: Do the decisions mean an end to the moratorium on blessings? (In response to the House of Bishops' agreement in 2005 not to encourage nor initiate same-sex blessings "until General Synod has made a decision on the matter" New Westminster had voted to impose a moratorium on allowing any new parishes to permit same-sex blessings; those parishes which already received the bishop’s approval were permitted to continue.)

Click here to read the rest.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Become An Integrity Partner

Calling all congregations:

Become an Integrity Partner!

"This is a great way to say "We stand with the Episcopal Church, we're NOT going back, and we support the one organization which has for decades supported our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in Christ." Become an Integrity Partner NOW!" -- The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire

What do St. Clement’s, Honolulu, St. Thomas the Apostle, Dallas and Grace Cathedral, San Francisco have in common? They’re all Integrity Partners — congregations who share the vision of a church where all the baptized are fully included in the Body of Christ and who have signed on to be official Integrity Partners.
It is clear that this Episcopal Church we love and serve is at a great crossroads in its history. While the weeks and months ahead will hold many challenges I also believe this is a time of great opportunity. Integrity is working hard to build on its 30+ history of advocating for LGBT issues and networking with other justice voices within the Episcopal Church. And with your help we can continue to that work — securing the gains of the last decades on behalf of the LGBT baptized while expanding our network to include and support voices from the wider Anglican Communion who have for too long been voiceless in the struggle.
Becoming an Integrity Partner will put you in the grassroots loop as we work toward the 2008 Lambeth Conference and 2009 General Convention. In addition to being listed as a Partner on the Integrity website you will also receive a subscription to our magazine, “Voice of Integrity” along with periodic updates through our online IntegNews network.
Sign up online today! Won’t you join with St. Clement’s and St. Thomas and Grace Cathedral and many congregations in between? Join the voice of your congregation with those proclaiming an outward and visible witness to the inward and spiritual grace of the inclusive love of the God that knows no strangers and welcomes all into Body of Christ.
The Reverend Susan Russell
President, Integrity USA

NY Times: No Longer Lost, a Refugee Accepts Call to Leadership

By Neela Banerjee

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — About 7,000 miles separate Grace Episcopal Church here, where the Rev. Zachariah Jok Char preaches most Sundays, from the small town of Duk Padiet in Sudan, where he was born.

The tally of the miles started about 21 years ago when Mr. Char was 5 and militias backed by the Sudanese government attacked his town during the civil war in the south. He saw the explosions from the field where he was playing, and he fled. He met other boys who had escaped similar attacks, and they started walking.


The orphans, mostly boys, walked more than 1,000 miles to Ethiopia from Sudan over three months, Mr. Char said. Later, they were forced to walk to Kenya. Thousands died. The West called them the Lost Boys.

Those boys are men now, and here and in cities like Atlanta and Burlington, Vt., the 3,800 who were resettled in the United States beginning in 2001 are trying to build lives and weave communities. For many, their Christian faith, often Anglicanism, is at the heart of their efforts.


The Sudanese congregation has taken root here at a time when many Anglican leaders in Africa have harshly criticized the Episcopal Church in America for its consecration of an openly gay bishop. The church in Sudan has not rejected the American church, however. In Grand Rapids, the Sudanese church members said they are conservative about sexuality but feel no pressure from the Americans to change their views.

Read it all here.

Friday, August 17, 2007


From the Desk of the President
Previously on "As the Anglican World Turns:"

On August 3, 2007 David Anderson wrote an article (Why the Archbishop of York got it wrong) excoriating the Archbishop of York for daring to suggest that there were actually faithful Christian people in the American Episcopal Church loving Jesus and serving the Gospel.

Arun Arora, a member of the Archbishop's staff, quickly responded (August 5, 2007) with a clear rebuttal (Why Canon Anderson Got It Wrong) which included this quote from York himself: "the thing that unites all Christians is our faith in the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and what makes us Christians is that we participate in the death and resurrection of Christ."

And I commented in my own reflection (Why Arun Arora got it right about David Anderson getting it wrong about the Archbishop of York getting it wrong) "I'm TOTALLY good-to-go with ‘what makes us Christians is that we participate in the death and resurrection of Christ.’ I'm GREAT with Christ at the centre (or ‘center’ on this side of the pond!) of doctrinal statements. I even schlepped all the way to Nottingham a few years ago with a bunch of other Episcopalians to ‘present our case’ to the Anglican Consultative Council. Remember? It was the apologia entitled To Set Our Hope On Christ -- not good enough for Anderson and the AAC bunch but then, at this point most of us have recognized that nothing we can say or do will be.

And on it goes. Today's (August 17, 2007) edition of the Church of England newspaper includes yet another rant by Anderson charging the American Episcopal Church with Apostasy and the Archbishop of York with Naiveté. Entitled "An Appalling Lack of Orthodoxy" Anderson asserts that Arora had "missed the point of the article" -- and then proceeds to drag out yet-another laundry list of what he considers assaults on Anglican Orthodoxy by the Anderson List of Usual Suspects.

David Anderson is entitled to his opinion on whose theology does or does not rise to his standards of Anglican Orthodoxy. What he is not entitled to is to continue to hold the whole Communion hostage to his obsession with making the American Episcopal Church toe a line that he and his conservative fringe allies have drawn in the sand. It is time to reject their insistence that hysteric Windsor Compliance trumps historic Anglican Comprehensiveness. And it is long past time to call “game over” on the kind of Theological McCarthyism that inspires statements such as, “… the American Anglican Council could provide additional quotes from TEC bishops in the USA to show the lack of orthodoxy.”

Enough already. If anyone has “missed the point” it is David Anderson. The Archbishop of York’s original statement referenced a common “understanding of God” as the place for Anglicans to come together as we wrestle through the very real differences we face as members of a world-wide Communion of Faith. And he found in his conversations with Canadian and American Anglicans encouraging common ground.

It seems that York wants to put God in the center of the debate -- which is precisely where Anderson wants to put his version of “orthodoxy.” And we’re the heretics? Please!

Incorporating a Native American smudging ceremony into an Episcopal liturgy might not be David’s cup of tea but it has nothing to do with a common understanding of the God who is Creator of us all.

Asserting that +Jon Bruno was “instrumental” in the election of the current Presiding Bishop says a lot about David’s issues with his former bishop and absolutely nothing about the kind of core values the Archbishop of York is trying to draw us in to conversation about. (And for the record, Anderson is wrong about that one anyway.)

Finally, one can’t help but wonder what Anderson was thinking when he attributed to an English Archbishop (or a member of his staff, for that matter) the assumption “… that anyone who is retired from a major position has lost influence and fallen out of importance in the shaping of the … Church mind.” I have just two words for him on that one: George Carey.

Rather than an appalling lack of orthodoxy I believe what we are dealing with here is an appalling abundance of hubris as Anderson et al continue to inflict on the church-at-large the debate they want us to have rather than the dialogue we are choosing to have. The Archbishop of York has offered a fine example of choosing the better portion – of shifting the focus to those things that truly are core values of our shared inheritance as Anglican Christians. It is time for us to go and do likewise – to claim our power to reframe the debate by focusing on the things that unite rather than the things that divide. How about this for a start:

Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.

Works for me!

New human sexuality resources online


AUGUST 17, 2007 -- Canadian Anglicans continue to study how human sexuality intersects with their faith, and new online resources now are available to support this study. The Faith, Worship, and Ministry department has reorganized and expanded their website's collection, including links, timelines, and downloadable studies.

"At General Synod 2007, one of the critical calls that we heard over and over again was that people wanted more time to study. I wanted to make sure that this material was readily accessible," said Rev. Canon Dr. Linda Nicholls, Coordinator for Dialogue, who organized the material and wrote the introductions.

Many resources address the topic of same-sex blessings. A quick primer of General Synod resolutions brings readers up to speed, and the resource guide from Faith, Worship, and Ministry is a way to venture further. Among the many resources online are a bibliography for independent readers and a PowerPoint presentation of General Synod 2007 resolutions prepared by the diocese of Huron.

But the topic of sexuality is more than just same-sex blessings. "One of the cries we have heard is that the same-sex blessings issue needs to be seen in the larger picture of human sexuality, which we have not, for the most part, talked about," said Canon Nicholls. A marriage study is one resource that begins these conversations with sessions on cohabitation and divorce.

"Every community has a doorway into talking about human sexuality," she explained, listing monogamy, singleness, and in vitro fertilization as issues that affect Canadian Anglicans. "I think there's the potential to really engage people in the church, from teenagers right through seniors, and really ask, 'so what does sexuality mean?'"

The Faith, Worship, and Ministry committee will discuss these broader questions of human sexuality when they meet in October 2007. Canon Nicholls said that one way to explore the topic is to sit down with people who have different opinions, perhaps members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, who are tackling similar issues.

Issues around human sexuality‹especially in the church‹often raise eyebrows and ruffle feathers, but Canon Nicholls wants your feedback on the resources. "There are real live people at the other end of those email addresses who are happy to respond and hear people's concerns and comments," she said. "Those comments feed into what we do as we prepare for the next General Synod. All comments are taken seriously."


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Vigil held at UN

The New York Blade reports on a vigil held at U.N. to support LGBT human rights. Trenton Straub reports:
Like many gays and lesbians across the globe, Brendan Fay would sit at his computer daily and read grim news about suffering and inequality, tales of blood in the streets, of discrimination, hatred, torture and executions.

When Russian activists were attacked earlier this summer simply for asking to have a Pride march, reports and images from Moscow reached Fay’s computer as the events unfolded. The reports marked a turning point for the Irish activist living in New York City, and Fay decided to take action.

Fay joined other activists across the globe to plan a weekend of international vigils that would focus on LGBT human rights. In New York, a vigil took place Friday afternoon at the United Nations’ Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza. Religious leaders, U.N. officials and other activists joined the vigil.

“We refuse to be silent in the face of torture, discrimination and executions in Iran, of beatings on the streets of Moscow, of Lithuanian authorities preventing the rainbow flag from being carried on the streets of Vilnius. We refuse to be silent when many LGBT and HIV positive refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants arrive on the shores of the U.S. only to encounter discrimination and closed doors,” Fay said.

NY clergy participated in the vigil

Read it all here

Job Announcement: CTB Project Manager


Integrity, in collaboration with the Claiming the Blessing (CTB) coalition, is seeking a part-time (approximately 20 hours per week) project manager to lay the groundwork for the Lambeth Conference in the summer of 2008 and General Convention of The Episcopal Church (TEC) in July 2009.

Integrity anticipates this employee will work remotely out of his or her home under the supervision of Integrity's Administrator. Some travel (approximately 2-3 days each month) may be required.

This is a new position made possible by a grant from Arcus Gay and Lesbian Fund for 1 year. Additional funding may provided for another year.

Primary Duties
  • Working with local constituents to introduce and pass LGBT-positive resolutions and elect LGBT and LGBT-friendly General Convention deputies at diocesan conventions.

  • Setting up national and regional training conferences on legislative strategy, messaging, and media management for local constituents, LGBT and LGBT-friendly General Convention deputies, and LGBT-friendly bishops.

  • Preparing for an Integrity/CTB presence at the Lambeth Conference in the summer of 2008 and General Convention in the summer of 2009.

  • Developing and distributing to all bishops and General Convention deputies video and print materials conveying Integrity and CTB's viewpoint.


  • Must have a Bachelor's Degree in any discipline.

  • Must be able to use e-mail and web-based software applications effectively.

  • Must have excellent written and oral communication skills.

  • Should have project management experience.

  • Should have professional or volunteer experience in LGBT advocacy.

  • Should be familiar with polity of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

How To Apply

Please e-mail a cover letter stating your qualifications, resume, and 3 professional references by August 31, 2007, to John Clinton Bradley at

EEO Policy

It is the policy of Integrity to promote and ensure equal employment opportunity for all persons without regard to gender (including pregnancy); gender identification (an individual’s internal sense of one’s own gender); sexual orientation (determined by whom an individual is sexually attracted to and also has the potential for loving); race, color, ethnic or religious background, descent or nationality; disability (including past, present, or future physical, intellectual or psychiatric disability, learning disorders or disease—for example, HIV), marital status; age; height or weight.

Another Interivew with the Archbishop of York

Stephen Crittenden interviewed the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, for the Australian radio program "The Religion Report" broadcast on August 8th...


Stephen Crittenden: On another issue, Archbishop Sentamu, where do you stand in this seemingly endless debate about gay clergy and gay bishops that's breaking the Anglican communion apart?

John Sentamu: I think, for myself, that the 1998 resolution was very clear on where the church stood, and it actually invited everybody to engage in the listening process to gay and lesbian people. I still think it was not a good thing for the Episcopal church, while we are still in conversation, to proceed the consecration of Jim [stet] Robinson. I happen to think they actually pre-empted the conversation and the discussion. Now what I don't think should happen now [is] that the whole question of gay and lesbian people -- when we said we should listen to their experiences -- should now become the kind of dominant theological factor for the whole of the communion. Because really the communion, at the heart of it, has got to do a number of things. While on one hand upholding Christian teaching, [it] must also be very loving and kind towards gay and lesbian people because that's part of the resolution. And it must also continue to listen. And I'm not so sure, when some people speak as if the debate has been concluded, or we cannot engage with this, you're being very faithful to the resolution. Secondly, the Windsor Report has made it very clear that the four instruments of unity -- that is, Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Primates Meeting -- should be the kind of instrument that actually allows all of us to talk. So those who now say, for example, that they don't want to come to the Lambeth Conference in 2008 because there may be people from ECUSA , well all I want to say is that church history has always taught us that churches have always disagreed. I mean, over the nature of Christ, the salvation of Christ, there were bitter, bitter, bitter disagreements in the early church, but everybody turned up at those ecumenical councils to resolve their differences. So my view would be, if you're finding this quite difficult, please do not stop the dialogue and the conversation.

Click here to read a transcript of the entire interview or to listen to the audio.

Sydney Archbishop Jensen bans John Shelby Spong

By Greg Roberts
August 14, 2007
The Australian

Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen has taken the extraordinary step of banning John Shelby Spong, a fellow member of the Anglican communion who arrives in Sydney this morning, from churches in his diocese.

By contrast, Anglican Primate Phillip Aspinall has invited Bishop Spong, a leader of the church's liberal wing, to deliver two sermons in Brisbane's St John's Cathedral.

The retired Episcopal bishop of Newark, New Jersey, Bishop Spong will also give a public lecture at St Aidan's Anglican Girls School in Brisbane.

At the direction of Dr Jensen, the current edition of the Sydney diocese's newspaper, Southern Cross, has devoted two pages to an attack on Bishop Spong and his new book, Jesus for the Non-Religious.

The book questions biblical references to the nature of the birth of Jesus Christ, his ability to perform miracles and the Resurrection.

Click here to read the rest.

Commission members all support same-sex marriage

Wednesday, August 15, 2007
By Terri Hallenbeck
Burlington Free Press

Amid criticism that a new commission formed to study whether Vermont should have same-sex marriage is stacked with those who favor marriage, the search is on for an additional member who may not.

All 10 members appointed last month to the commission say they support access to marriage for gay and lesbian couples.


The Rev. Nancy Vogele, an Episcopal minister in White River Junction, is apparently the only gay member of the commission. She said she has a civil union and would like marriage herself, but emphasized that the commission's work is not about her. "I think we're here to listen to what Vermonters have to say."

Click here to read the entire article.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Those Halcyon Days of Yesteryear

This week's Anglicans Online offers this insightful journey back into our Anglican family history -- WELL worth the read!


It's odd to realize, as we did recently, that Anglicans of the Victorian period were more willing to live with deep disagreements on sexual matters than we moderns. How so, you may ask?

The Church of England and the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America in the nineteenth century were 'in communion' with one another despite their seriously differing views of the scriptural understanding of marriage: who can marry whom.

Start by recalling the section of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer called 'A Table of Kindred and Affinity, Wherein Whosoever Are Related Are Forbidden by the Church of England to Marry Together' ...



Some of the roster may strike us as wildly improbable and absurd ('A woman may not marry with her son's son'); other prohibitions may seem quaintly ridiculous: the idea that a widow could not marry the brother of her husband or a widower his deceased wife's sister... Why not, for heaven's sake?

In the understanding of the Church of England, a sister-in-law was considered part of one's own family (by affinity rather than consanguinity), so marrying her after the death of one's wife was seen as almost incestuous. Such a marriage was a violation of canon law and in 1835 a violation of civil law as well*. On the other hand, the American Church had enforced no canons regarding the matter, although the table was printed in successive American Books of Common Prayer and was the source of amusement during dull sermons for generations of children.

It's easy to dismiss all this blather about degrees of kindred and marriage prohibitions as amusing and of no real importance. But it was a deadly serious matter to Victorian churchmen: Attempts to modify or repeal the Act of Parliament that imposed severe penalties for marriages between 'the prohibited degrees' were portrayed by some MPs as 'an alteration of the law of the Land, an alteration of the law of the Church, and an alteration, if man could make it, of the Law of God'.

American Episcopalians, on the other hand, thought nothing of it if a man, after the death of his wife, should marry her sister and gain not only a companion, but often a loving stepmother to his children.

Thus the understanding of a lawful Christian marriage was entirely different between the original two 'members' of the Anglican Communion, yet no bishop in England threatened to sever relationships with bishops in the States. No initiatives were undertaken to break the genial fellowship between the two churches. No Archbishop of Canterbury lost sleep over what such divergent views and practices meant to the 'future of the 'Anglican Communion'. No interest groups in America pressed for a stricter interpretation of the table of kindred and affinity or sought oversight from an English bishop. Yet the difference in scriptural understanding was distinct and, to those whose lives in England were ruined by the law, dramatic. But the relationship between the two churches carried on quite imperturbably. (It's tempting to conclude that incense and vestments were more likely to divide the churches into parlous factions than were affinity and consanguinity.)

If the Victorians — bless them — could carry on together, worshipping at one another's churches when travelling, sharing pulpits, maintaining collegial relationships and even attending Lambeth Conferences despite a clear and pronounced difference in theological understanding about sexual relationships, it's a strange curiosity that in our time we have grown more rigid and uncompromising.

Integrity Uganda in the Press

Integrity Uganda says that the August 11th issue of Uganda's Daily Monitor contained three articles on homosexuality...

Why Police Are Not Arresting Homos. This article mentions Integrity Uganda as an LGBT organization.

Gay Testimonies: We Are Persecuted. This article is related to the first one.

Gay Sympathizer Attends Mass. This article is about Bishop Christopher. It does not appear to be available online.

Church rift cuts deeper for brothers

Episcopal priests hold opposing views on gays
By Michael Paulson
The Boston Globe
August 12, 2007

The Murdoch brothers don't often talk about the controversy dividing the Episcopal Church, but they really don't have to: In the Murdoch family, schism starts at home.

The Rev. Bill Murdoch, 58, an Episcopal priest in West Newbury, is so frustrated by the Episcopal Church's selection of an openly gay bishop that he is bolting and taking his parish with him. At the end of this month, he is to be consecrated a bishop by the Anglican Church of Kenya, and he will return to the North Shore to start a new Kenya-affiliated parish there.

But the Rev. Brian Murdoch, 53, an Episcopal priest in West Roxbury, is not planning to join his brother for the ceremony in Nairobi and is not celebrating his elevation to bishop.

That's because Brian, as Bill has long known, is gay.

Click here to read the rest.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Homosexuality, ham sandwiches, and the funeral of a gay man

Jeffrey Weiss of the Dallas Morning News blogs about how Christians deal with the Hebrew scriptures--particularly in regard to homosexuality...

The Rev. Susan Russell is an Episcopal priest and the president of Integrity, an organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered Episcopalians. She said she's found a simple way to parse the Torah's teachings: She turns to what Jesus said in Matthew 22: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart," and "You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

"If I need a litmus test for whether ... our tradition needs to change, it is whether what we're considering meets those two criteria," she said. "I contend that lifelong committed relationships between people of the same sex meet the criteria."

Click here to read the entire article.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Louie Replies to "Reality Check"

On August 2nd, Bay Windows published an op-ed article by Jeff Epperly. In reply, Integrity's Founder, Dr. Louie Crew, submitted the following letter to the editor...

Responding to news that Integrity's president, The Rev. Susan Russell will receive Lambda Legal's Liberty Award, Jeff Epperly rightly asks just how much we can work within oppressive institutions before we compromise our integrity and forfeit the right to speak. Epperly cites examples of hatred and oppression currently manifest by the Anglican Communion, and questions whether leaders in The Episcopal Church have sold out lgbts in order to remain in the Communion.

The question is urgent, and will remain so at each stage of the escalating conflict. Primates of the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion have demanded that by the end of September the bishops of the Episcopal Church assure that blessings of lgbts cease and that we will have no more lgbt bishops. That would be a huge set-back were our bishops to agree.

Next month the Archbishop of Canterbury will pay his first official visit to the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church, and will try persuade bishops to meet the primates' demands. In the Church of England, the Archbishop is accustomed to bishops' having the power to speak unilaterally, yet, in the Episcopal Church, bishops by themselves cannot create official policy for the whole church. That must be done by lay and clergy as well as bishops, meeting in General Convention -- the next one not scheduled until July 2009. In essence, the Archbishop will ask our bishops to violate our polity: in March when asked to do so, they refused; I hope they won't give in to the Archbishop's new pressure face-to-face.

And note, so far they have refused! The Rev. Susan Russell is a major reason they have held steadfast. I know no one alive who is as adept as she in repairing spiritual spines.

I work in two institutions that still sport medieval clothing at least seasonally (the church and the university). I find it vital to listen to warnings such as Epperly's, asking myself at each negotiation whether the oppressor wants me to sell my soul for a mess of porridge.

Yet we need to be just as cautious not to back off from opportunities to reform the oppressive system. The vicious anti-gay stance now manifest in the Anglican Communion bears marked resemblance to the official positions of the Episcopal Church as recently as 1979. Even Bishop John S. Spong, an early and most aggressive supporter of lgbts, tells in his autobiography how he was not always a friend, how early in his episcopacy, he sought to remove lgbt clergy in the Diocese of Newark. He was living out, he notes, the homophobia that the church had taught him.
Had Integrity waited until the church was safe before we organized to work within it, few if any of the reforms would have taken place. Had Bishop Spong and other converts not encountered strong lgbt Episcopalians, many would have had no prompt to re-examine the stereotypes taught in their heterosexist education.

For 33 years Integrity has steadfastly spoken the truth to power in the Episcopal Church. Now the Anglican Communion has unwittingly offered us an opportunity to speak the truth to power globally. Dare we turn down that opportunity and deprive Anglicans elsewhere of a chance to encounter lgbts?

If Integrity and other lgbt Anglican organizations back away now, what hope is there for lgbts in other much more oppressive parts of the Anglican Communion?

It is spiritually unhealthy to stand outside a church saying, "Let me in."
Jesus has already let in all whom others would cast out. If lgbts don't show up to bring that good news, many in the Communion may miss out on experiencing authentic Christianity.

I rejoice in the stupendous energy and savvy that Susan Russell, our fearless president brings to these challenges. Her achievements are huge.

I rejoice that Lambda Legal will honor her. No one deserves the honor more.

Louie Crew
Founder of Integrity

ELCA encourages its bishops to refrain from the discipline of ministers in same-gender relationships

August 11, 2007
Contact: Phil Soucy


The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) decided to encourage its bishops to refrain from or demonstrate restraint in the discipline of rostered ministers in committed same-gender relationships. While the assembly deferred outright elimination of its policy that prohibits LGBT ministers from living in loving, lifelong family relations with their life partner, asked the church to prepare for such decision at its next assembly in 2009.

Emily Eastwood, Executive Director, Lutherans Concerned / North America said,

Today this church moved one giant step from the punitive rejection of partnered LGBT ministers to the willing tolerance of them. We see this decision as interim. Full inclusion and acceptance is still down the road, but the dam of discrimination has been broken. This is a great day for LGBT clergy who will walk into their pulpits tomorrow knowing perhaps for the first time that this church values their gifts for ministry more than the policy that would exclude them. The church is on the road to acceptance. The end of exclusion is in sight. With this decision the voting members signaled a desire for policy change, but the need for two more years to bring more of the church along.

The ELCA policy that prohibits loving, committed, lifelong, same-gender relationships for LGBT ministers remains in effect. Therefore, Goodsoil and its partners and allies will continue the efforts to help the Lutheran church recognize the eternal truth that God has known all along: that LGBT people are part of the wondrous diversity of creation, God's children, followers of Christ, and gifted as are all others to serve the mission of the church in outreach with the message of the Gospel.

Goodsoil is working for full inclusion of LGBT Lutherans in the life of their church and is comprised of Lutherans Concerned / North America, The Network for Full Inclusion, Wingspan Ministry, and the Extraordinary Candidacy Project.


Other coverage from...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Headline News Reports on LGBT Candidate Forum

From Susan Russell:

CNN's Headline News has been running a segment all day today about Thursday night's HRC/Logo sponsored presidential candidate forum focused on LGBT issues. Even if we didn't like all the answers we got it was a HUGE step forward to have the questions being asked.

You can watch the HLN segment here.
And read my reflections from the studio audience here.

Lutherans Resolve to End Clergy Discrimination

Reuters is reporting:

Lutherans to allow pastors in gay relationships
‘That is huge,’ says spokesman for 4.8 million-member church

CHICAGO - Clergy members who are in homosexual relationships will be able to serve as pastors, the largest U.S. Lutheran body said Saturday.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America passed a resolution at its annual assembly urging bishops to refrain from disciplining pastors who are in “faithful committed same-gender relationships.”

The resolution passed by a vote of 538-431.

Read the rest here.

And "BRAVO!" for our Lutheran brothers and sisters!

Church Cancels Memorial for Gay Vet

August 11, 2007

ARLINGTON, Texas (Aug. 10) - A megachurch canceled a memorial service for a Navy veteran 24 hours before it was to start because the deceased was gay.

Officials at the nondenominational High Point Church knew that Cecil Howard Sinclair was gay when they offered to host his service, said his sister, Kathleen Wright. But after his obituary listed his life partner as one of his survivors, she said, it was called off.

"It's a slap in the face. It's like, 'Oh, we're sorry he died, but he's gay so we can't help you,"' she said Friday.


The church's pastor Rev. Gary Simons said the church believes homosexuality is a sin, and it would have appeared to endorse that lifestyle if the service had been held there.

"We did decline to host the service - not based on hatred, not based on discrimination, but based on principle," Simons told The Associated Press.

Read the whole sordid story here.

Friday, August 10, 2007

BBC: Clinton and Obama oppose marriage equality for gays

Six US Democratic presidential hopefuls have taken part in a landmark campaign debate on gay and lesbian issues.


Frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both defended their opposition to same-sex marriage.

All of the Democratic candidates support a federal ban on anti-gay job discrimination, want to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy barring gays from serving openly in the military and support civil unions for same-sex couples.

Most Americans oppose nationwide recognition of same-sex marriage and only two of the Democrats support it - Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich.


Mrs Clinton said her stance on marriage was "a personal position".


Mr Obama said that from his perspective, civil union "wouldn't be a lesser thing".

"Semantics may be important to some but what I'm interested in is making sure that those legal rights are available to all."


For the front-runners this was a carefully calculated appearance, but one where there was in fact little to distinguish between them, our correspondent adds.

Read it all here.

Lutheran Assembly Sends Memorials on Same-Sex Blessings to Task Force

August 9, 2007

CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The 2007 Churchwide Assembly of the ELCA voted 733-278 to refer memorials on the blessing of same-sex relationships to the Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality. The Task Force is engaged in developing a social statement on human sexuality to be presented to the 2009 Churchwide Assembly.

Click here to read the rest.

Soapbox Philosophy

On August 1, the West Branch Times in Iowa published an op-ed article criticizing Bishop Gene Robinson and the new film "Not That Kind of Christian!"

Ellyn Paulus responded with an excellent letter to the editor.

"Jesus In Love" Blog

Reminder: Integrity receives press releases and other news items from a number of sources. We may choose to distribute such submissions to our members and friends for their information. Integrity does not necessarily endorse or agree with the views expressed in distributed items.

A new queer Christian blog has just been launched by lesbian author Kittredge Cherry. Her first post is about her recent trip to Taos for the National Festival of Progressive Spiritual Art:

Rev. Cherry will be posting at least once a week at the new "Jesus in Love" blog with more photos and stories from the Taos festival, as well as spiritual reflections, commentary on current events and updates on her books and other projects.

The blog is an outgrowth of her website,, which offers spiritual resources for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their allies.

Rev Cherry's new book of queer spiritual art is on sale now. "ART THAT DARES: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More" is filled with color images by 11 contemporary artists from the U.S. and Europe.

"Suitable for coffee table and classroom," says Dr. Mary Hunt. "A treasure… to be experienced again and yet again," says author Virginia Mollenkott.

The retail price is $38.95, but is selling it for only $25.71. For more info, visit:

Rev. Kittredge Cherry is a lesbian Christian author who was at the forefront of the international debate on sexuality and spirituality as National Ecumenical Officer for Metropolitan Community Churches. She holds degrees in journalism, art history and religion. Her books include "Jesus in Love" and "Equal Rites."

Vote For Your LGBT Heroes!

The ADVOCATE's 40th anniversary issue will be honoring 40 LGBT heroes. They have listed 100 and are asking readers to vote for up to 40. There are to at least 3 Episcopalians on the list:

  • Bishop V. Gene Robinson
  • Rev. Malcolm Boyd (poet laureate of the L.A. Episcopal Diocese.)
  • Mark Thompson (author and life partner of Malcolm Boyd)

Click here to vote for your heroes!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Visible Vote '08

From Susan Russell, President
Integrity USA

The Human Rights Campaign and Logo television channel are combining resources to present yet-another forum with presidential candidates ... this one for Democratic candidates and centered around LGBT issues. Candidates scheduled to participate are Clinton, Dodd, Edwards, Gravel, Kucinich, Obama & Richardson.

I have been privileged to be invited to be part of the studio audience for the live forum airing tonight and I am thrilled to be able to be part of this opportunity to give visible witness to the often ignored voices of LGBT people of faith.
Here are the details from the HRC website: The one-hour event will be held on Aug. 9 at 6 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. ET in Los Angeles before a studio audience and broadcast live, without commercial interruption, exclusively on Logo’s 24/7 cable television channel as well as through live streaming video at This event marks the first time in history the major presidential candidates will address a live GLBT television audience.

The Visible Vote website is still offering an opportunity to submit questions for the candidates online -- I just sent one in ... give it a try!
"Film at Eleven" as they say!

Gay Ministers Take a Stand: Pastors Seek Change in Lutheran Policy

Confronted with a North American variation on the Church of England's closeted clergy policy...this from our Lutheran brothers and sisters:

By Manya A. Brachear | Tribune religion reporter
9:18 PM CDT, August 7, 2007

Flouting what they call a "don't ask, don't tell" policy, more than 80 gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered Lutheran ministers declared their sexuality on Tuesday in hopes of changing a church rule that excludes gay and lesbian clergy who do not live what the church calls "a chaste life."

"Forcing people to lie and hide lacks integrity for a faith that has as its core message: Tell the truth in public in a way that sets us free," said Rev. Erik Christensen, the pastor of St. Luke's Lutheran Church of Logan Square who is part of the group and one of three Chicago names on the list. "I think this particular moment is pivotal. It really calls the church to accountability for its 'don't ask, don't tell' policy."

Read it all here.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Go and do likewise

From the mailbag: Recently received from St. Augustine by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, this letter signed by their clergy and vestry and urging other congregations to "go and do likewise." Bravo, St. Augustine by-the-Sea ... way to go!


July 20, 2007

To our fellow parishes in the Los Angeles Diocese:

We would like to inform you that we have adopted the following resolution, which we have sent by letter our our bishops to support them in their discernment considering the upcoming meeting of the House of Bishops in September:

"We request our bishops, the Right Reverend J. Jon Bruno, the Right Reverend Chester L. Talton, the Right Reverend Robert M. Anderson and the Right Reverend Sergio Carranza, to take all reasonable efforts to persuade the House of Bishops to adpot a resolution of solidarity and unity, stating unequivocally that all duly elected and confirmed bishops of the Episcopal Church must be invited to the Lambeth Conference on equal terms, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation"

It is our belief that all parish churches have a stake in stressing the right of each diocese to elect its own bishops without outside interference. We invite you to consider this in responding to this issue as well.

Yours in Christ,
The Vestry of the Parish Church of St. Augustine by-the-Sea
Santa Monica, California


Also worth reading is St. Augustine Rector Hartshorn Murphy's online reflection, The Lambeth Palace Controversy.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Gay Activists Want To Stop Abuja’s 2014 Commonwealth Games Bid

Monday, August 06, 2007

Gay activists in Nigeria are questioning whether Nigeria should be allowed to host the Commonwealth Games. A delegation led by Davis Mac-Iyalla, founder and leader of the Gay Christian group Changing Attitude Nigeria, an Anglican Church group which campaigns for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights, presented the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) with an 11-page report setting out why it should reject’s Abuja’s 2014 Commonwealth Games bid.

Click here to read the rest.

Lutherans to consider gay clergy

Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Star-Ledger Staff

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is expected to vote this week on whether to change its 20-year-old rule against ordaining gay clergy who are not celibate.

The 1,000 people gathered in Chicago for the weeklong Churchwide Assembly, which began yesterday, also will vote on whether pastors can bless same-sex unions.

Unlike the Episcopal Church of the United States, which nearly split in 2003 after ordaining an openly gay bishop, the 4.9 million-member Evangelical Lutheran denomination does not appear threatened by a formal rupture. Still, interested Lutherans have formed groups supporting or opposing changes.

Click here to read the rest.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Pope Returns to Roman Catholic Church

Breaking News from the Diocese of Fort Worth ...

Katie Sherrod is reporting on her blog, Desert's Child, that today Bishop Jack Iker sent this notice out to the clergy of the Diocese of Fort Worth:

“BISHOP CLARENCE POPE telephoned me this morning to let me know that Martha and he have returned to membership in the Roman Catholic Church, in full communion with the See of Peter. We certainly wish them well and want to uphold them with our love and prayers at this important time in their pilgrimage. They both gave ten years of faithful service and witness here in the Diocese of Fort Worth, and we give thanks to God for their continuing friendship and ministry. Bishop Pope wanted to assure me that he remains very attached to us and that his affection for the people of this diocese remains unchanged. Do join me in thanking God for both of these faithful Christians and praying His continued blessing upon them in the years ahead.”

Katie goes on to recall: This is the second time Clarence Pope has swum the Tiber. The first time was in October 1994. He had denied he was leaving The Episcopal Church right up until the day he left.

Do read her whole piece on the issue ... Pope Swims Tiber Again ... but here's her thought provoking conclusion:

So now Clarence had gone to Rome again. Assuming it sticks this time, this will mean that every bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth except Jack Iker [we’ve only had three] has left The Episcopal Church – Donald Davies left to form his own breakaway church.

Jack Iker assures us he is not leaving.

But, then, so did Clarence Pope.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Church Leaders Join Stockholm Gay Pride March

From 365Gay
(Stockholm) Swedish political and church leaders marched in Stockholm's LGBT pride parade Saturday, drawing large cheers and applause from thousands of people lining the streets of the capital.

About 30 members of the Swedish Lutheran Church, including the deans of the cathedrals of Stockholm and Uppsala. The Church is the largest denomination in the country.

In a statement the church said it wanted to "break the masses' big silence" regarding gays, bisexuals and transsexuals.

Read it all here

Saturday, August 4, 2007

More than 80 ELCA clergy to come out

Of Sacred and Secular columnist, Eileen Flynn reports in the Austin American Statesman:
Are you serious, I thought when I heard the voice mail. More than 80 Lutheran ministers will go public with their homosexual identity next week? Mind you, these clergy members serve a comparatively liberal branch of Lutheranism, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

But still, many of those coming out on Tuesday are in homosexual relationships, and the ELCA restricts ordination to heterosexuals who are faithful in marriage or celibate homosexuals. As it happens, the ELCA will be debating the issue of dropping the celibacy requirement for gay ministers at its biennial assembly next week in Chicago.

I got the phone message about next week’s press conference from a fellow with Lutherans Concerned/North America, a group that supports people of “all sexual orientations and gender identities.”

Now again, this is the liberal Lutheran denomination — not the Missouri Synod, which takes a much harsher stance on homosexuality. But still, the ELCA, like most mainline Protestant churches, does have a celibacy rule. And if church leaders don’t change that policy at this convention, aren’t these folks putting their collars on the line?

Read it all here

Friday, August 3, 2007

Archbishop Peter Akinola's Designs on the Church of England

The Church of England Newspaper (Aug 3rd 2007) carries a front page article written by Matthew Cresswell claiming that Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria will ordain a bishop for an English jurisdiction before the Lambeth Conference next year.

The Revd Richard Kirker, Chief Executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) made the following remarks today (3 August 2007).

"It would be perfectly consistent for Archbishop Akinola to start an English version of his Church, and while I am saddened by his divisive intentions there are some few who will find comfort under his brazenly homophobic creed."

"It has been clear for some time that under the guidance of Peter Jensen (the Archbishop of Sydney) the Nigerian Church has been distancing itself from the Church of England and particularly the role of the Archbishop of Canterbury. "

"Peter Akinola has made outspoken attacks on the Church of England’s policy towards Civil Partnership, he has removed any mention of the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury from his Church constitution and has recently announced his bishops will not be attending the Lambeth Conference next year."

"While Archbishop Akinola spreads his brand of religion to England the main concern of LGCM remains that the Church of England does not respond to this schism by increasing its own institutional homophobia – competing with him for the prize of who can be nastiest to gays!"

"Of course we would like the English Church to see that now is the time to stop its homophobic stance altogether, but life just isn’t that simple!" said Mr Kirker.

Further Information
LGCM Press Officer Revd Martin Reynolds
01633 215841

LGCM Office Tel & Fax 020 7739 1249
Christian Homophobia HOTLINE 020 7613 1095 email

Openly gay bishop endorses Obama

August 2, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times

CONCORD, N.H. -- The Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for president on Thursday, even though they don't share the same views on issues critical to gays and lesbians.

"Frankly, I don't think there's any major candidate that is where we in the gay community would hope they would be on our issues," V. Gene Robinson said in a conference call with reporters. "That being said, I would say the senator has been enormously supportive of our issues. We appreciate his support for civil unions."

The continuing repercussions from Robinson's 2003 election as bishop of New Hampshire threaten to break up the worldwide Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is part. His supporters hail him as a role model and civil rights pioneer.

He stressed that his endorsement was as an individual, not as bishop.

"I will not be speaking about the campaign from the pulpit or at any church function," he said. "That is completely inappropriate. But as a private citizen, I will be at campaign events and help in any way that I can."

Robinson said he hopes to persuade Obama to embrace marriage for gay and lesbian couples. Obama supports civil unions and rights for gay couples, but stops short of supporting gay marriage.

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The Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy of The Interfaith Alliance issued a press release critical of the endorsment:

Today's endorsement of Senator Barack Obama's campaign for president by Bishop Gene Robinson is just the latest example of candidates misusing religious leaders for political gain. Over the last year we have seen many, if not all, of the presidential candidates set up websites promoting endorsements by religious leaders. While endorsements like today's raise the possibility of legal action against religious leaders, our concerns are rooted more in the impact on the sanctity of religion and the integrity of government.

I encourage candidates to talk about the proper role of religion in public life, and I strongly defend the right of religious leaders to speak out about the important issues we are facing in the world today. However, when candidates turn religious leaders into political tools, they have crossed a line.

Lesbian to Lead Local Church

Windy City Times

The wardens and vestry of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 621 W. Belmont, have announced that the Rev. Sarah K. Fisher, a partnered lesbian, will serve as priest-in-charge.

Fisher, 36, was born in Georgia and is a cradle Episcopalian. She attended Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Ga., where she graduated in 1993 with a liberal arts degree. She attended the General Theological Seminary in New York City from 2002 to 2005. In 2005, Fisher came to the Diocese of Chicago to serve for two years as assistant rector and lilly curate at St. Paul and the Redeemer Episcopal Church, 4945 S. Dorchester.

Fisher’s first service (Sung Eucharist ) will be held Aug. 12 at 10 a.m. A reception will follow in the Guild Room of the Parish House.