Thursday, March 27, 2008

Because we can't get legally married...

we can find ourselves in terrible binds like this one. Robert Ryan is an Integrity activist in the diocese of Idaho who took part in the recent Oakland inclusion activism workshop.

The ACLU explains:
ACLU Urges Konica Minolta Not to
Terminate Domestic Partner Health Insurance of 9/11 Survivor

Ralph Martinelli, 53, and Robert Ryan, 42, have been together since 2004. In August 2005, they registered as domestic partners in the town of Mount Laurel, NJ, where they lived at the time. Ralph is district sales manager at Konica Minolta Business Solutions (KMBS), a global office equipment company, where he has worked for five years. Robert is working as a seasonal tax preparer and looking for a full-time permanent position. They now live in Eagle, Idaho, a suburb of Boise.

Until late 2001, Robert managed the insurance licensing division at Morgan Stanley in New York City. His office was on the 74th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Robert was in his office when the first airplane hit the North Tower on Sept. 11, 2001, but evacuated safely before the second airplane struck the South Tower, only four floors above where he worked. Immediately after the second plane hit, Robert and a woman he was comforting were trampled by a crowd of people fleeing the area. Also in the confusion, Robert lost track of some of the employees he supervised, and worried for days that they had been killed. The trauma he experienced on that day affected him greatly-he had depression and thoughts of suicide and was unable to concentrate on the job. Eventually he went on disability, using the money he had saved for his retirement to keep afloat.

The couple moved to Idaho from New Jersey in 2007, and Ralph remained with KMBS, securing a transfer within the company to the western sales region. When the couple was living in New Jersey, Robert was eligible for health benefits through KMBS because he and Ralph had registered as domestic partners under New Jersey's system. However, when they moved to Idaho-mainly to escape the constant reminders of 9/11 that still haunted Robert-KMBS cut off Robert's domestic partner benefits. The company only provides domestic partner benefits if the employee shows proof that the couple has registered as domestic partners in the state where they live. Unlike Mount Laurel, New Jersey, where the couple first registered as domestic partners, there are no domestic partner registries in Idaho, making it impossible for the couple to meet the requirements of the policy. (Most corporations that offer domestic partner benefits simply require their employees to submit an affidavit attesting to a same-sex relationship.)

The couple has been purchasing COBRA coverage for Robert since KMBS cut off his benefits, but it is expensive and will only last 18 months, until March, 2009. (By that point, however, the couple says they will not be able to afford it anyway.) ...
For shame, Konica Minolta Business Solutions. And shame on a society that makes access to health care dependent on a legal relationship that is denied to some of its members.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Inclusion Activists Needed!

Jan Adams recently reported on the pilot Inclusion Activism workshop held in Oakland, California. We still have some space available for the remaining workshops...

  • South Central Region--March 28-29--Liberty, MO
  • Southeastern Region--April 11-12--Atlanta, GA
  • Midwestern Region--April 25-26--Cincinnati, OH
  • Northeastern Region--May 9-10--Newark, NJ

Below is some additional information about the workshops. To register, contact Jan at or 415-378-2050.



Claiming the Blessing [CTB] and Integrity are co-sponsoring a series of regional workshops to provide local Episcopalians with the information and tools to be more effective advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender [LGBT] equality at the diocesan level. Workshops will run from about noon on Friday to about noon on Saturday to enable both clergy and laity to attend without undue conflict with their workweek. Participants will learn about the status of LGBT issues in the Episcopal Church, the polity of the Episcopal Church at all levels, how to elect and lobby bishops and General Convention deputies, how to submit and pass diocesan convention resolutions, and how to communicate effectively with a variety of target audiences and the media.


This workshop is intended for progressive Episcopalians [clergy and laity, gay and straight] who want to work at the diocesan level to advance LGBT equality within the Episcopal Church. It is NOT intended for bishops or General Convention deputies. The goal is to include at least one participant from every domestic diocese of the Episcopal Church.


Each workshop will be led by two facilitators who experts in church polity and communications--the Rev. Cynthia Black of Kalamazoo, MI,and Katie Sherrod from Fort Worth, TX.


There is no registration fee for the workshop. However, participants are expected to pay for their own travel, lodging, and any meals not provided as part of the workshop. Friday evening dinner, Saturday breakfast snacks, and a Saturday box lunch will be provided. A limited number of scholarships for travel and per diem expenses will be available. Contact Jan Adams for details.

A courtesy room block has been made at a hotel convenient to each training location. Participants are responsible for making their own room reservations. Contact Jan Adams for details.


To provide progressive Episcopalians with the knowledge and skills they need to positively and effectively influence their diocesan conventions and other diocesan decision makers on LGBT issues.


By the end of the workshop participants will be able to...

  • Describe the current status of LGBT equality within the Episcopal Church.
  • Summarize the polity of the Episcopal Church at the parish, diocesan, provincial, and national levels.
  • Explain Integrity/Claiming the Blessing's strategy for advancing LGBT equality during the current triennium.
  • Organize with other local, progressive Episcopalians
  • Network with non-LGBT's struggling for inclusion within the Episcopal Church
  • List resources for promoting LGBT equality within the church.
  • Elect and influence General Convention deputies, bishops, and other key diocesan leadership.
  • Submit and pass diocesan convention resolutions to General Convention.
  • Develop and effectively communicate messages to your target audience.
  • Use local print and broadcast media.

WORKSHOP AGENDA [subject to some change at each location]

Friday Afternoon
12:00 pm Registration
1:00 pm Noon Devotion
1:15 pm Welcome, and Introductions
1:45 pm The State of LGBT Equality Within the Episcopal Church
2:15 pm How the Episcopal Church Works
2:45 pm A Strategy for Advancing LGBT Equality Within the Episcopal Church
3:00 pm Break
3:15 pm Organizing at the Diocesan Level
3:45 pm Electing and Lobbying General Convention Deputies, Bishops, and Other Key Diocesan Leaders
4:15 pm Submitting and Passing Diocesan Convention Resolutions
5:00 pm Sunset Devotion
5:15 pm Reception

Friday Evening
6:00 pm Dinner
7:00 pm LGBT Episcopal Film Festival [local activists may be invited]
-Voices of Witness [44 min]
-For the Bible Tells Me So [95 min]
9:30 pm Bedtime Devotion

Saturday Morning
8:00 am Continental Breakfast
8:30 am Morning Devotion
8:45 am Allies-LGBT's Are Not Alone
9:15 am Developing and Communicating Your Message
10:00 am Break
10:15 am Using Print and Broadcast Media
11:00 am Action Planning & Evaluation
11:30 am Closing Eucharist
12:15 pm Box Luncheon


  • Friday evening-dinner brought in by local food providers/caterers
  • Saturday morning-coffee and breakfast snacks
  • Saturday lunch-box lunches


These workshops are made possible through a generous grant from the Arcus Gay and Lesbian Fund.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Canterbury Campaign Update

Dear Integrity members & friends:

Last month we announced the launch of the Canterbury Campaign, a special effort to raise the funding necessary for our presence and witness at the upcoming Lambeth Conference. We are now pleased to announce a number of campaign events at which people can learn more about our plans. You are all cordially invited to attend any (or all!) of the functions listed below as schedules and locations permit.

Please remember: You can make an online donation anytime at

Holy Triduum blessings,

Bruce Colburn
Acting Development Coordinator

12 April in New York
Saturday from 4:00 until 6:00 pm at the home of Jacob Miles, 312 W 12th Street, Apt 14 A. Reception and briefing by the Rev. Susan Russell, President. RSVP to David Casey at or or call 646-416-0218. Hosted by Integrity/New York City.

18 April in Chicago
Friday at 7:30 pm at St. James Cathedral, 65 E Huron Street. Holy Eucharist with the Rt. Rev Jeffrey Lee presiding and the Rev. Bonnie Perry preaching. Reception following in Burrill Hall of the adjacent Diocesan Center. Hosted by Integrity/Chicago.

10 May in Atlanta
Saturday from 4:00 until 6:00 pm at All Saints Church, 634 W Peachtree Street. Reception and briefing by John Clinton Bradley, Administrator. RSVP to Tim Raasch at or 770-429-8262 OR
Bruce Garner at or 770-642-3183. Hosted by Integrity/Atlanta.

30 May in Seattle
Friday from 5:30 until 7:30 pm at Diocesan House, 1551 Tenth Avenue East. Reception and briefing by the Rev. Susan Russell, President. RSVP to David Swim at or 206-932-2457. Hosted by Integrity/Puget Sound.

21 June in Houston
Saturday from 3:00 until 6:00 pm at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 1805 W Alabama. Reception and briefing by Jeff Martinhauk, Treasurer. RSVP to John Michael Lee at or 713-443-2106. Hosted by Integrity/Houston.

More events will be announced in the near future.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Getting organized, getting active

Last week 22 Integrity activists and friends gathered at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Oakland, CA for the first of a national series of workshops on "Inclusion Activism." What's that mean?

As Integrity President the Rev. Susan Russell has explained succinctly, these workshops aim to educate participants about "how the Church works and how to work the Church."

Topics discussed included the polity of the Episcopal Church, all about diocesan conventions, and how to prepare resolutions for consideration at General Convention. Attendees also practiced finding words and stories to express themselves about the imperative for the Church to practice full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments.

Lest we forget that others besides LGBT people can feel pushed outside the church's house, we also heard a presentation on globalization and migration issues from the Rev. Lisa Hlass.

This spring we'll be doing more of these workshops in Kansas City, Atlanta, Cincinnati, and Newark with sponsorship from the Arcus Foundation.

Anyone interested in learning more should contact

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Giant of Justice Passes Away


I write to inform you of the death the Rt. Rev. Robert Rae Spears, Jr., on March 18, 2008.

He served as the fifth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester from 1970 - 1984 and was well known in the community for his activism in various areas involving human and civil rights. Given his passion for issues of human rights and freedoms, the Diocese of Rochester found itself at the forefront of the efforts for the ordination of women in The Episcopal Church. Bishop Spears was also a strong advocate for the full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the life of the church and appointed the first Homophile Commission to bring about change in this diocese. He had co-chaired the national Episcopal Church's Commission on Human Sexuality from 1976-1979.

Born in Rochester in 1918, he was a graduate of Hobart College and the General Theological Seminary in New York City. He served congregations in Western New York, Central New York, and Princeton, New Jersey prior to his election as Suffragan Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Missouri in 1967. He served that diocese until his election as Bishop of Rochester in 1970. He narrowly missed being elected Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church in 1973. Bishop Spears served our diocese and The Episcopal Church well and touched the hearts and lives of many.

Funeral arrangements are being planned for Saturday, March 22, 2008, although they are not yet complete at this time. We will let you know as soon as we are able. Please keep his wife, Charlotte, and all of their family in your thoughts and prayers.

"May the souls of the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace"


The Rt. Rev. Jack M. McKelvey
VII Bishop of Rochester

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


620 Park Avenue #311 Rochester, NY 14607-2943

March 12, 2008

Integrity expresses its profound disappointment and anger that the Archbishop of Canterbury has failed to find a way for the Rt. Rev. Gene Robison to meaningfully participate in the Lambeth Conference. The Rev. Susan Russell, President of Integrity, said, "Bishop Robinson's marginalization is symbolic of the discrimination experienced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender faithful daily throughout the Anglican Communion. It runs completely contrary to the promise made at the last Lambeth Conference 'to listen to the experience of homosexual persons' (see Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10.) making a travesty of the so-called 'Listening Process.'"

Russell added, "Integrity completely supports Bishop Robinson's call for other U.S. bishops to attend the Lambeth Conference despite his exclusion-and we challenge them to speak not only for him, but for the LGBT faithful throughout the Anglican Communion who will have no voice in Canterbury. Integrity will be consulting with a number of progressive bishops on how to best offer that witness."

Russell concluded by saying, "Integrity continues to prepare for our Lambeth Conference witness with our global Anglican allies. We will be there in numbers and we look forward to the opportunity to claim God's justice and proclaim Christ's love."

(See for more information.)


The Rev. Susan Russell, President
714-356-5718 (mobile)
626-583-2741 (office)

Letter from Tucker

Last week a lawmaker from Oklahoma remarked that homosexuals were worse than terrorists. A young man who was 5 when his mother was killed in the bombing in Oklahoma City writes to her.

Letter From Tucker

Rep Kern:

On April 19, 1995, in Oklahoma City a terrorist detonated a bomb that killed my mother and 167 others. 19 children died that day. Had I not had the chicken pox that day, the body count would've likely have included one more. Over 800 other Oklahomans were injured that day and many of those still suffer through their permanent wounds.

That terrorist was neither a homosexual or was he involved in Islam. He was an extremist Christian forcing his views through a body count. He held his beliefs and made those who didn't live up to them pay with their lives.

As you were not a resident of Oklahoma on that day, it could be explained why you so carelessly chose words saying that the homosexual agenda is worst than terrorism. I can most certainly tell you through my own experience that is not true. I am sure there are many people in your voting district that laid a loved one to death after the terrorist attack on Oklahoma City. I kind of doubt you'll find one of them that will agree with you.

I was five years old when my mother died. I remember what a beautiful, wise, and remarkable woman she was. I miss her. Your harsh words and misguided beliefs brought me to tears, because you told me that my mother's killer was a better person than a group of people that are seeking safety and tolerance for themselves.

As someone left motherless and victimized by terrorists, I say to you very clearly you are absolutely wrong.

You represent a district in Oklahoma City and you very coldly express a lack of love, sympathy or understanding for what they've been through. Can I ask if you might have chosen wiser words were you a real Oklahoman that was here to share the suffering with Oklahoma City? Might your heart be a bit less cold had you been around to see the small bodies of children being pulled out of rubble and carried away by weeping firemen?

I've spent 12 years in Oklahoma public schools and never once have I had anyone try to force a gay agenda on me. I have seen, however, many gay students beat up and there's never a day in school that has went by when I haven't heard the word **** slung at someone. I've been called gay slurs many times and they hurt and I am not even gay so I can just imagine how a real gay person feels. You were a school teacher and you have seen those things too. How could you care so little about the suffering of some of your students?

Let me tell you the result of your words in my school. Every openly gay and suspected gay in the school were having to walk together Monday for protection. They looked scared. They've already experienced enough hate and now your words gave other students even more motivation to sneer at them and call them names. Afterall, you are a teacher and a lawmaker, many young people have taken your words to heart. That happens when you assume a role of responsibility in your community. I seriously think before this week ends that some kids here will be going home bruised and bloody because of what you said.

I wish you could've met my mom. Maybe she could've guided you in how a real Christian should be acting and speaking.

I have not had a mother for nearly 13 years now and wonder if there were fewer people like you around, people with more love and tolerance in their hearts instead of strife, if my mom would be here to watch me graduate from high school this spring. Now she won't be there. So I'll be packing my things and leaving Oklahoma to go to college elsewhere and one day be a writer and I have no intentions to ever return here. I have no doubt that people like you will incite crazy people to build more bombs and kill more people again. I don't want to be here for that. I just can't go through that again.

You may just see me as a kid, but let me try to teach you something. The old saying is sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you. Well, your words hurt me. Your words disrespected the memory of my mom. Your words can cause others to pick up sticks and stones and hurt others.



From Pam's House Blend.

Maybe the House of Bishops should listen to Tucker?

House of Bishops statement on the Lambeth Conference

The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church
Meeting at the Camp Allen Conference Center,
Navasota, Texas
March 12, 2008

Give to your Church, O God,
a bold vision and a daring charity,
a refreshed wisdom and a courteous understanding,
that the eternal message of your Son
may be acclaimed as the good news of the age;
through him who makes all things new,
even Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church, approaching the forthcoming Lambeth Conference, are mindful of the hurt that is being experienced by so many in our own Episcopal Church, in other Provinces of our global communion, and in the world around us. While the focus of this hurt seems centered on issues of human sexuality, beneath it we believe there is a feeling of marginalization by people of differing points of view. Entering into Holy Week, our response is to name this hurt and to claim our hope that is in Christ.

As the Lambeth Conference approaches, we believe we have an enormous opportunity, in the midst of struggle, to be proud of our heritage, and to use this particular time in a holy way by affirming our rich diversity. The health of such diversity is that we are dealing openly with issues that affect the entire global community. Thus, even as we acknowledge the pain felt by many, we also affirm its holiness as we seek to be faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Even though we did not all support the consecration of the Bishop of New Hampshire, we acknowledge that he is a canonically elected and consecrated bishop in this church. We regret that he alone among bishops ministering within the territorial boundaries of their dioceses and provinces, did not receive an invitation to attend the Lambeth Conference.

We appeal to the faithful of the Episcopal Church and the faithful in the wider, global Anglican family, to focus and celebrate our unity in the comprehensiveness of diversity. In union with Christian tradition through the centuries, we are willing to face challenges that precipitate struggle as a means towards reconciliation.

During our meeting we have been praying for a "daring charity and courteous understanding." With this intent and guided by the Holy Spirit, we go to the Lambeth Conference spiritually united and praying that God will sanctify our struggles and unify us for Christ's mission to a hurting world.

source: episcopal life online

Monday, March 10, 2008

Gene says no thanks to being an exhibit at Lambeth

The Rt Rev. Gene Robinson, although an elected diocesan bishop in the Episcopal Church has not been invited to attend the Lambeth Conference of bishops of the Anglican Communion. Lambeth Palace offered him a place in the Marketplace - the exhibit hall for the conference. Here is his letter in response:
I first want to thank Ed and Bruce and Tom. (ed.note - the bishops who tried to negotiate with Lambeth for Gene and the House of Bishops) They have been so true to what they were asked to do by the Presiding Bishop. They have been in close communication with me. I have felt very supported by them. They have represented me extremely well.

I want to be clear than I am not here to whine. I learned of the result of this negotiation on Friday evening. I have been in considerable pain ever since.

But I want to acknowledge that I am not the first or last person to be in pain at a House of Bishops meeting.

My own pain was sufficient enough that for 36 hours I felt the compelling urge to run, to flee. My inspiration for staying came from my conservative brothers in this house. I have seen John Howe and Ed Salmon and others show up for years when there was a lot of pain for them. I see Bill Love and Mark Lawrence, and I know it is a very difficult thing for them to be here right now. For me, the worst sin is leaving the table. And that is what I was on the verge of doing. But, largely because of you, I stayed. Thank you for that.

I want to tell you why I declined the invitation as it was proposed. I really had high hopes that something might work out. I have been talking with the Anglican Communion Office for almost a year now. I got my first phone call four days before the invitations to Lambeth went out. I thought something would work out.

The offer to be hosted at the Marketplace is a non-offer. That is already available to me. One workshop on one afternoon and being interviewed by the secular press was not anything I was seeking. I wasn't going to Lambeth to have another interview with the secular press. If interviewed at all, I want to talk with a theologian. I want to talk about the love of Christ. I want to talk about the God who saved me and redeemed me and continues to live in my life. I want to talk about the Jesus I know in my life.

But my mind boggles at the misperception that this is just about gay rights. It might be in another context, but in this context it is about God's love of all of God's children. It's a theological discussion, it's not a media show. I have been most disappointed in that my desire was to participate in Bible study and small groups, and that is not being offered. It makes me wonder: if we can't sit around a table and study the Bible together, what kind of communion do we have and what are we trying to save?

I am dismayed and sickhearted that we can't sit around a table, as brothers and sisters in Christ, and study scripture together.

It has been a very difficult 48 hours sitting here and hearing your plans for Lambeth.

In my most difficult moments, it feels as if, instead of leaving the 99 sheep in search of the one, my chief pastor and shepherd, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has cut me out of the herd.

I ask two things of you. Some of you have indicated that if I am not invited, you won't go either. I want to say loud and clear - you must go. You must find your voice. And somehow you have to find my voice and the voices of all the gay and lesbian people in your diocese who, for now, don't have a voice in this setting. I'd much rather be talked to than talked about. But you must go and tell the stories of your people, faithful members of your flock who happen to be lesbian and gay.

For God's sake, don't stay away.

And second, please don't let them separate me from you. Please don't let that happen. It will be difficult, and we will have to be intentional. I know that the last thing you will need at the end of the day is another meeting just so I can catch up with you. But I hope you will be willing to stay in touch with me.

From the day I have walked into this House I have been treated with respect and welcome, even, and perhaps especially, by those of you who voted no on my consent.

I can never thank you enough for that. I will always and every moment treasure your welcome and your hospitality.

Don't let them cut me off from you.

All this is really sad for me and for my diocese. I won't have the experiences you will have, to share with them. But I will be there in the marketplace, willing to talk with anyone who wants to talk, especially with those who disagree with me. If you know me at all, you know that that's true.

Now, my focus has to change. Maybe this is what God has in mind. I had hoped to focus on the community of bishops at Lambeth, making my own contribution to its deliberations. But now, I think I will go to Lambeth thinking about gay and lesbian people around the world who will be watching what happens there. I will go to Lambeth remembering the 100 or so twenty-something's I met in Hong Kong this fall, who meet every Sunday afternoon to worship and sing God's praise in a secret catacomb of safety - because they can't be gay AND Christian in their own churches. I will be taking them to Lambeth with me. They told me that the Episcopal Church was their hope for a different, welcoming church. They told me they were counting on us. Yes, the things we do in the Episcopal Church have ramifications far, far away - and sometimes those ramifications are good.

I hope we can talk about the ways we can stay in touch in Lambeth. I will be praying for you, all the time. I know it will seem very strange, being separated from you. But we can do it if we want to. I have nothing but respect and sympathy for the Archbishop of Canterbury and the difficult place he is in. I was trying to help him, and it just didn't work.

Pray for me. I will need that. A lot.

Read the negotiations and news here.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

An Open Letter to the House of Bishops ...

... meeting at Camp Allen.


Dear Colleagues in Christ,

Prayers ascend for your work on behalf of the whole church at Camp Allen this week. I am presuming to write this afternoon to reflect briefly on the "faith based reconciliation" aspect of your work together -- a process I am very familiar with as both Brian Cox and Joanne O'Donnell are diocesan colleagues of mine here in Los Angeles.

I am deeply convinced of the efficacy of the work of and believe giving the whole House of Bishops the shared experience and vocabulary of this reconciliation process is a great gift to the church and to the communion. I also want to "enter into the record" the long history which Integrity & CTB leadership have with participating in the kind of process you have undertaken at Camp Allen.

I write because I want to make sure that the hard work that has been done by scores of committed progressive leaders over this last decade+ toward reconciliation with the conservative minority in the Episcopal Church is recognized. And I write because I want to reiterate the commitment my predecessor, Michael Hopkins made in 2002 in his "Message to the Church:"

We are absolutely committed to this Church and we are absolutely committed to the Continuance of as broad a diversity—including theological—as is possible for us to maintain together. This commitment is, in part, a commitment to continued messiness and frustration … Liberals and conservatives, progressives and traditionalists, must learn to live together in this Church or there will be no Church in which for us to live. But learning to live together must mean “mutual deference” not moratoriums or some insistence that we all convert to being “moderates.”

Below are the reflections on Faith Based Reconciliation I posted to my blog yesterday -- offered as a witness to the hopes of our past and in commitment to the opportunities for reconciliation in our future.

All best blessings,
(The Reverend) Susan Russell
President, Integrity USA



The reports this afternoon from Camp Allen are that the bishops of the Episcopal Church spent the day engaged in exercises focused on faith based reconciliation.Good for them.Brian Cox and Joanne O'Donnell are able facilitators and the process they brought to Camp Allen is one that has been practiced for many years in many different contexts ... including a 2003 "National Reconciliation Conversation" subtitled "Conflict in the Episcopal Church" held at St. James Episcopal Church here in the Diocese of Los Angeles.

Leadership of both the American Anglican Council and Integrity/Claiming the Blessing were invited to a four day opportunity to work together to explore the faith based reconciliation process ahead of the upcoming General Convention.

We showed up. They didn't.

And yet it was a helpful exercise for those of us who came. The blog I wrote in response to that gathering was called "Longing to Hope Again" ... and reading the ENS release today, I was struck that the bishops gathered at Camp Allen in 2008 were being asked the same question we were asked in that parish hall in 2003: How have I given and received offense?

Here's what I wrote about that very question in 2003 ...


For me, the most powerful exercise of the conference was the opportunity for a representative of each constituency – progressive, moderate and conservative – to offer a list of both the hurts we have received and those we have inflicted in the course of this now decades long conflict. Speaking for “the progressive side,” I offered the following:

We have been hurt by:

  • the assumption that we’re driven by a non-faith” agenda – by having our desire to fully include GLBT persons in the Body of Christ dismissed as “purely political.”

  • the constant questioning of our salvation and by the threat of judgment, the lack of trust that we mean what we say – by accusations of “hidden agendas” and threats of “future coercion” which attack our integrity and block conversation

  • the dishonoring of our relationships by defining them in terms of sexual acts. Andrew Sullivan has written, “We’d never talk about heterosexual marriage primarily in terms of vaginal intercourse or merely sexual needs; it would slight the depth and variety of heterosexual relationships.” It hurts that our relationships do not receive the same level of respect.

  • name calling: Sodomite. Pervert. Morally Corrupt. By being lumped with pedophiles and prostitutes – by those who speak the words and those who do not speak out against the hate mongers.

  • having the truth of our experience as GLBT Christians denied as valid – having our sexual orientation become more important than our theological orientation.

  • hearing again and again that our presence in the church will cause others to leave – by having the truth of our experience held hostage by threats of schism -- having the burden of unity placed on the shoulders of our silence.

We have caused hurt by:

  • the times we have participated in “then show them the door thinking as a means to resolve our differences with conservatives.

  • stereotyping those with biblical hermeneutics which differ from ours as fundamentalists – by dismissing them as ignorant.

  • not acknowledging the very real pain being experienced by those who see the church changing in ways that they find incompatible with their understanding of scripture.

  • not always remembering what it is like to be in a minority and by not acting with sensitivity in those places where we have become the majority.

  • proclaiming a Gospel of God’s inclusive love and yet only tolerating those with conservative political and theological perspectives.

Not a complete list. Not a definitive process. But a beginning. An effort. A baby step forward on the journey toward reconciliation. At least I hope so. It isn’t about changing minds or ignoring differences or tabling resolutions. It’s about engaging in the hard work of both encountering and understanding “ the other” – and coming to see each other as equally beloved of God, equally entitled to respect, equally longing to hope.


A lot of water under the bridge across the Anglican divide since I wrote that in May 2003 ... but the same longing for hope that drew us to show up at St. James dwells, I believe, in the hearts and minds and ministries of the bishops who showed up at Camp Allen for this meeting of the House of Bishops ... and who will show up in Canterbury for the Lambeth Conference of Bishops.

And may the God of hope continue to fill us with all joy and peace in believing, so that we will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Integrity Ft. Worth, Joyful Host of Louie Crew

by Barbi Click, South Central Regional Vice President

On Saturday March 1, 2008, Integrity FW hosted a lecture by the founder of Integrity, Dr. Louie Crew. The lecture was preceded by the Holy Eucharist, led by the Rt. Rev. Sam Hulsey, retired bishop of Northwest Texas with the homily given by Barbi Click, vice president of the South Central Region of Integrity.

Barbi’s message spoke to the mission of self-enlightenment for LGBT people – taking responsibility for our own lives rather than letting others set the stage for our admission as full members of this Church. Not only is it our responsibility to speak out but is also our job to teach the Church how to “sing to the Lord a new song.” As long as we continue others to define us, setting the parameters of our existence, the Church will not fully accept its own responsibility to “live as children of the fruit of the Light…”.

Dr. Crew’s message was "Exceedingly Glad in Times Like These”. While there is still much to do as LGBT people in this day and age, there are many things for which we should be extremely grateful. We can find great solace in the fact that, as members of this part of the Anglican Communion, we are leaders in the advancement of LGBT folk as living, breathing contributing members of the Church across the world.

Not only was this an occasion made auspicious by Dr. Crew’s presence, it was also the kick off of Integrity’s Canterbury Campaign. This campaign is all about “Claiming God’s Mission – Proclaiming Christ’s Message.”

“What happens at the Lambeth Conference in 2008 will have a tremendous impact upon General Convention in 2009. If a significant percentage of Anglican bishops continue to insist that the Episcopal Church refrain from ordaining additional lesbian/gay bishops and blessing same-gender relationships or else face expulsion from the Anglican Communion, it will very difficult to persuade General Convention to nullify B033 and advance marriage equality.” Read more about the Canterbury Campaign here.

All three messages are vital messages LGBT people across this Church. We have made great strides…greater strides are in our future.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Marriage Equality hits the California Supreme Court

Teng wedding party, courtesy of PlanetOut.comThe California Supremes are finally hearing testimony on gay marriage... the decision text may be more important than the verdict.
From The Advocate, via PlanetOut Tuesday:
The national same-sex marriage debate shifts to California on Tuesday, as the state's highest court hears arguments on the constitutionality of a law banning same-sex marriage that was used to end a wedding spree of thousands of gay and lesbian couples in San Francisco, a city famed for its progressive attitudes.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

St. Deiniol's Video Postcard

On the last day of the "Rebuilding Communion" course at St. Deiniol's Library in Northern Wales, most of the authors gave summaries of their chapters to the public. Click below to see them on YouTube. There are 8 segments lasting a total of about 45 minutes.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

St. Deiniol's Postcard #7

by John Clinton Bradley


The Rev. Donald Reeves presented the 8th paper, "From Fear To Handshake." He made the following key points...
  • This paper is based on his experiences at mediation in Bosnia.
  • Nelson Mandela said, "To make peace you must talk to your enemies rather than your friends.
  • The Anglican Communion should make use of the wisdom of those Anglicans who are active in mediation to help resolve its current disagreements.
  • In Bosnia, there is a great deal of ongoing tension between the Serbs and Bosniacs (Muslim Bosnians). Donald helped mediate a dispute over a mine that was used as a slave labor camp for the Bosniacs by the Serbs during the war. Many Bosniacs were killed in the camp and they wanted a memorial established there.
  • This is the process he used: An invitation to talk. Identifying who wanted to talk. Bringing willing people together in pairs first, then small groups, and then larger groups. Dealing with "spoilers"--people who tried to sabotage the process. Moving beyond ideological "first principles" to pragmatic issues. Allowing participants to tell their personal stories. Repeating back to participants the propaganda they spout. Using the media to advantage.
  • He has discussed a mediation process directly with Rowan Williams. The Archbishop said he would discuss it with his staff. Donald is still waiting for Lambeth Palace to get back in touch with him. However, he is facilitating a fringe event on mediation during the Lambeth Conference.

St. Deiniol's Postcard #6

by John Clinton Bradley


The Rebuilding Communion Course continued today. The focus moved from the past and present to the future.

Donn Michell, a member of Holy Apostles Episcopal Church in New York City and a former secretary of Integrity, presented the 7th paper, "Anglicanism and Human Rights." He made the following key points...
  • The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the most ambitious statement of international law to date. It was endorsed and reaffirmed by several Lambeth Conferences.
  • This document is perfectly aligned with biblical teaching and gospel values.
  • At the last Lambeth Conference, a Nigerian bishop attempted to perform an involuntary of exorcism upon Richard Kirker. This was both a violation of British law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • According to a report by Bishop Geralyn Wolf, several bishops were instructed by their governments to vote against homosexuality at the 1998 Lambeth Conference or face imprisonment when they returned home. This was also a violation of human rights.
  • The canons of the Episcopal Church prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in all orders of ministry. Resolution B033, passed by General Convention, instructs bishops and standing committees to disregard these canons. How can the Episcopal Church speak with any moral authority on human rights under these circumstances?
  • With the encouragement of Bishop Mark Sisk of New York, Donn developed a set of objectives and documents to educate Anglicans on human rights. The next Anglican Consultative Council will be asked to endorse this as the Anglican Communion Human Rights Initiative.