Sunday, August 31, 2008

Many Stories, One Voice Cancelled



Saturday, August 30, 6:00 PM CDT

Dear Friends,

I ask for your prayers for our friends and colleagues in New Orleans, and to let you know that we are canceling Many Stories, One Voice: The North American Convocation of Pro-LGBT Christians.

As of this writing, Hurricane Gustav has been upgraded to a Category 4 and is still expected to make landfall near New Orleans. Additionally, the New Orleans airport will be closing at 6 pm tomorrow evening (Sunday) and we don't know when it is expected to re-open.

For these reasons and for the reason that we do not want to add any additional burdens to our already-overtaxed and traumatized colleagues in New Orleans, we do not want any more people going to New Orleans. Your safety and that of the folks in New Orleans is our utmost priority.

At this point, it is simply too early to tell what we will do in terms of another conference. We will be in touch as soon as we've had time to talk with all of our colleagues and confer.

Two items of information:

1. If you were scheduled to fly to New Orleans, check with your airlines about their inclement weather and hurricane clauses.

2. Please call +1 888 236-2427 or go online: http://www.marriott.com/ in order to cancel your hotel reservations. But please do not call the New Orleans Marriott as they are trying to make preparations for the storm.

I am deeply disappointed to have to write this. But, as I've heard from many of you in the last few days, God has called us into this ministry and will make use of all the faithful work that has gone into MSOV's planning. May we continue to pray for our colleagues, friends and family in the Gulf Coast region and may our call to embody God's extravagant welcome continue to embolden and sustain us.

In peace,

Rev. Rebecca Voelkel
Institute for Welcoming Resources and Faith Work Director
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

College Park church target of anti-gay threat - Southern Voice Atlanta

By DYANA BAGBY
AUG. 29, 2008
Southern Voice

College Park police are investigating an anti-gay note left on the doors of St. John’s Episcopal Church as a "terroristic threat," according to a police report.

Father Troy Beecham, the first openly gay rector at the church, said a message stating, "homosexual priest in the pulpit in this church are an abomination! 666" was handwritten on a piece of cardboard and posted on the door for members to see when they came to church Aug. 24.

"It was found by a gay member when he unlocked the doors Sunday morning at 7 a.m. He was going to throw it away but another gay member said that I should see it," Beecham said. "I’m glad he did."

College Park is located south of downtown Atlanta near the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and has a population of approximately 21,000."

Click here to read the entire article.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Faiths' beliefs on homosexuality vary

Aug. 29, 2008, 4:39PM
By BARBARA KARKABI
Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

Religion plays an important role in Americans' attitudes about homosexuality, but views are shifting. In Gallup's 2008 Values and Beliefs poll, Americans were evenly split on the morality of homosexual activity. In 2000, the majority said homosexuality was immoral.

The issue of gay clergy is hotly debated in many faith communities today. "Clearly we are on a journey," said the Rev. Susan Russell, president of Integrity USA, a national network of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Episcopalians that supports gay ordination.

Integrity is one of a number of groups sponsoring Many Stories, One Voice, the first North American convocation of pro-LGBT Christians, meeting in New Orleans Sept. 4-7. Information: http://www.welcomingresources.org/.

Here is where some faiths stand on the issue:

• Episcopal Church of the USA: The Episcopal Church has been in a turmoil since the 2003 election of Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, an openly gay priest in a longtime relationship. Some U.S. churches have left over the issue of gay clergy, while leaders in other parts of the 77-million strong, worldwide Anglican Communion asked that the Episcopal Church be sanctioned or expelled. A moratorium on electing gay bishops has been in place since 2006. Ordination of celibate gay clergy is allowed, and some dioceses will ordain partnered gay clergy. That decision is left to the local diocesan bishop. The diocese of Texas does not ordain noncelibate gay clergy.

Click here to read the entire article!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Help Californians preserve equality for all of us!

Dear Integrity members & friends:

In May the California Supreme Court ruled that the state constitution would not permit the state to treat same-sex couples any differently than anyone else—and therefore required the state to allow their marriages. Thousands of same-sex couples have since taken advantage of their new opportunity to solemnize civil marriages recognized by the state. It's been a bit of a "Love Rush."

In the November election, Proposition 8 would change the state constitution by outlawing same-sex marriage.

Like the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech, the freedom to marry is fundamental to our society. Marriage allows couples to make legal their lifetime commitment to one another, and gives couples the opportunity to fully take responsibility for each other.

Religious groups and clergy members have a constitutionally protected right to recognize or refuse to recognize religious marriages based on the tenets of their particular faith. That has not changed and will not change. But Proposition 8 would unfairly strip LGBT people of full civil rights.

Where's the Episcopal Church on this issue?
  • General Convention 2006 in Columbus passed Resolution A095 that said, "Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the 75th General Convention reaffirm the Episcopal Church's historical support of gay and lesbian persons as children of God and entitled to full civil rights; and be it further Resolved, That the 75th General Convention reaffirm the 71st General Convention's action calling upon municipal council, state legislatures and the United States Congress to approve measures giving gay and lesbian couples protection[s] such as: bereavement and family leave policies; health benefits; pension benefits; real-estate transfer tax benefits; and commitments to mutual support enjoyed by non-gay married couples and be it further Resolved, That the 75th General Convention oppose any state or federal constitutional amendment that prohibits same-sex civil marriage or civil unions."
  • After the decision affirming marriage equality under the state constitution, Bishop Marc Andrus of the Diocese of California called on his diocese to "walk a journey" that included "combating a ballot initiative this November that will attempt to take away the rights recently recognized by the California Supreme Court." Statements from other California bishops are expected shortly.
How can you help?

Polls show that this campaign to preserve full civil rights for LGBT people in California CAN be won at the ballot box—but only if we ALL help.

Faithfully,

Jan Adams
CTB Field Organizer
jan@integrityusa.org
415-378-2050

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Talk To Your Bishop About Lambeth!

Dear Integrity members & friends:

Our bishops have returned from the Lambeth Conference. They've had important, moving conversations with their fellow bishops from around the world. Now they need to hear from us—the people in the pews of the churches in their own dioceses—before the House of Bishops meeting during September 17-19 in Salt Lake City.

The Archbishop of Canterbury tried to "spin" the bishops' indaba group reflections by insisting upon moratoria by The Episcopal Church [TEC] on ordinations of bishops in same-sex relationships and on the blessing of faithful, same-sex couples.

LGBT people were not able to speak for themselves during the bishops' cloistered meetings. The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson—the only Anglican bishop who openly lives in a faithful, same-sex relationship—was excluded. But in your own dioceses, on their home turf, it is much harder for bishops to exclude our voices.

Tell your bishop it's time for TEC to move beyond the self-imposed restrictions of B033 and move ahead on rites for blessing same-sex relationships. As Bishop Michael Ingham of the Church of Canada said at Lambeth, the church must not put itself "in the position of having to support and defend irrational prejudice and bigotry."

Write, e-mail, or call your bishop today! Tell her/him why full inclusion of all the baptized in all the rites and life of the church matters to you. You can find your bishop's contact information on your diocesan website. To find your diocesan website, click here. At the bottom of this message are some "talking points" you might want to consider and some tips for communicating effectively with your bishop.

Let us know you've contacted your bishop by clicking here to complete a brief survey.

Faithfully,

Jan Adams
CTB Field Organizer
jan@integrityusa.org
415-378-2050




Some thoughts you might want to develop...
  • LGBT Christians can't be stuffed back in the closet. We are here in the pews and in the pulpits. TEC cannot pretend we are not already part of the church, faithfully walking our spiritual journey with Christ.
  • It hurts, and it is morally wrong, when privileged people try to dictate "sacrifice" to disenfranchised people. Tell your own story of oppression and liberation.
  • Endless quibbling over full inclusion of all the baptized by the church makes the Good News inaudible and inaccessible to most young people in the contemporary United States. By focusing on 7 passages in the Bible that are used to condemn homosexuality, we are drowning out the message of Jesus—the incarnate Word of God.
  • As our Presiding Bishop has emphasized in her reflections after Lambeth, only the General Convention can commit TEC to national policies or a global Anglican covenant. The House of Bishops should not make any unilateral decisions about moratoria or the covenant in Salt Lake City.
  • Opponents of LGBT equality are clearly planning to us an Anglican covenant as a tool to either control or exclude TEC. General Convention must carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of signing the final covenant.


Tips For Communicating Effectively With Your Bishop

  • Be respectful. Even if you dislike or disagree with your bishop, treat him/her with the courtesy due his/her office.
  • Do not make threats. Threatening to personally leave The Episcopal Church or withhold contributions is counterproductive.
  • Share your personal story. Tell your bishop 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.

Internet Indigestion?

The Walking With Integrity blog has been having a bit of trouble processing posts this week. So, a couple of posts have appeared 2 or 3 times on the blog and distributed more than once via walkingwithintegrity@integrityusa.org. The duplicates have been removed from the blog. Hopefully the problem is now resolved.

Integrity Recieves Grant From Haas Jr Fund!


MEDIA CONTACT:

Roberta Sklar, Communications Director
(Office) 646.358.1465
(Cell) 917.704.6358
rsklar@theTaskForce.org

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force announces
$1.2 million grant from Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund
to support pro-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender faith work


Unprecedented grant bolsters collaboration among
Institute for Welcoming Resources and five partner organizations
in expanding the number of welcoming and affirming churches

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation's Institute for Welcoming Resources (IWR) and five partner organizations have been awarded a total of $1.2 million from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund to work jointly to expand the number of churches that are welcoming and affirming of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and to strengthen their internal capacities. This funding is significant not only because of its dollar amount, but also because it marks a breakthrough in secular foundation support for LGBT faith organizing efforts.

The recipients are the Task Force's Institute for Welcoming Resources, which works with the welcoming church movement in 30 Christian denominations; Integrity, which works within the Episcopal Church; Lutherans Concerned/North America, which works within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; More Light Presbyterians, which works within the Presbyterian Church (USA); Reconciling Ministries Network, which works within the United Methodist Church; and the United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns.

The grant, which will be paid out over two years, will support a strategic, collaborative effort to expand pro-LGBT faith-based organizing efforts and allow the groups to fortify their respective infrastructures. Through the welcoming church movement, congregations decide — through a formal vote — to offer an unconditional welcome to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. To date, more than 3,100 congregations across the Christian spectrum have explicitly welcomed LGBT people to full inclusion in the life and ministry of their congregations. This is largely due to the longtime and tireless work of these organizations, most of which have worked together for years to build the strong foundation of the existing welcoming church movement.

"We are extremely grateful to the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund for generously supporting this important collaboration," says Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "The more than 2.5 million individuals in the 3,100 congregations supported by the Institute for Welcoming Resources and these partner organizations are some of our movement's most valuable advocates in promoting understanding, reclaiming what unfortunately has become a narrow view of 'moral values' espoused by those who seek to divide, and advancing LGBT equality. We thank the Haas, Jr. Fund for not only recognizing this, but for providing the critical resources to advance these pro-LGBT faith organizing efforts."

"We are excited that this grant will help the Institute for Welcoming Resources realize its vision to significantly increase the number of local congregations and parishes committed to the full inclusion of LGBT people," says Randall Miller, a program officer with the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. "We're convinced that this unique partnership among the Task Force's IWR program and denominational advocacy organizations holds the potential to transform the larger LGBT movement by greatly expanding its supporters and extending its reach."

A groundbreaking study titled David v. Goliath: A Report on Faith Groups Working for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality (and What They're Up Against), released in 2006 by the Task Force's National Religious Leadership Roundtable, found that conservative organizations and foundations such as Concerned Women for America, Focus on the Family, Coors Foundation, American Enterprise Institute and the Scaife Family Foundation have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in faith-based organizing, while many centrist and liberal organizations have avoided any alliance with or funding of their progressive faith counterparts.

The report also found that organizations surveyed in the mainline Protestant and Catholic churches faced an average 8-to-1 disadvantage in funding compared to anti-LGBT organizations in their denominations. This grant will greatly help to balance those scales.

"A sea change is under way in faith communities across the country," says the Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, director of the Institute for Welcoming Resources. "The day is fast approaching when people will hear the word 'Christian' and associate it with justice, equality and support for all, including LGBT people. This collaborative grant is one concrete way we're going to get there."

The collaboration's main goals are to strengthen the capacity, witness and voice of Christian organizations that support LGBT people and families, and to support the efforts of people within each denomination to increase the number of welcoming and affirming congregations.

What the five partner organizations are saying

"This is the kairos time, the opportune time when the church and the world are about to turn. While full inclusion of LGBT people in the life of the Lutheran communion requires a marathon strategy, what we do in the next 12 months will be critical to the success of the mission of Lutherans Concerned/North America over the next 20 years," says Emily Eastwood, executive director of Lutherans Concerned/North America. "The timely and generous grant from the Haas, Jr. Fund will enable Lutherans Concerned/North America to maximize its strategic impact by increasing organizational and financial capacity, enhancing volunteer and leadership development at the grassroots, fostering continued expansion of our Reconciling in Christ program, and organizing for the 2009 Evangelical Lutheran Church of America synodical and churchwide assembly seasons where major decisions will be made about the full inclusion of LGBT people and families and pastors."

"Haas, Jr. was able to see the longtime activism and organizing in frontier territory provided by Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. RMN puts these monies to work immediately building infrastructure, training new leaders, creating networks in new regions and strengthening advocate teams across the United Methodist Church. Such strategic investment allows us to impact denominational change from the grassroots to the worldwide legislative sessions of the church," says the Rev. Troy Plummer, executive director of the Reconciling Ministries Network.

John Clinton Bradley, acting executive director of Integrity USA, says: "We are extremely thankful for this grant. It will enable us to move to the next level of programming and effectiveness as a faith-in-action organization. This includes developing and implementing a systematic process to help Episcopal parishes become more welcoming and affirming of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in their congregations and communities."

"The Haas, Jr. Fund helps the UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns equip volunteers for our mission to educate and advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies and to save lives by training people in suicide intervention," says the Rev. Ruth Garwood, executive director of the UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns. "Developing and vitalizing open and affirming churches that not only welcome LGBT people in, but also reach outside their congregations, makes a difference in both church and society. This investment from the Haas, Jr. Fund makes it possible for the coalition to build the internal systems that make more effective the hundreds of our volunteers who participate in the movement for LGBT rights."

"As a national grassroots movement working for LGBT equality in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and civil society since 1974, we have been able to accomplish much as a nearly all-volunteer network with one full-time staff person. The funding from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund allows More Light Presbyterians to build capacity and take our next steps as an organization and network by hiring additional staff," says Michael J. Adee, M.Div., Ph.D., executive director and field organizer of More Light Presbyterians in Santa Fe, N.M. "We stand at the threshold of accomplishing policy change and ending discrimination against LGBT persons and their families in the Presbyterian Church (USA) as we enter a national campaign to ratify the recent legislative victory at the 218th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). This grant makes it possible for More Light Presbyterians to create this national campaign."

Don't miss Many Stories, One Voice: The North American Convocation of Pro-LGBT Christians, a conference convened by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, on Sept. 4–7 in New Orleans, La. Pro-lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians will converge on the Big Easy to strengthen the movement of Christian churches that are welcoming and affirming of LGBT people. The gathering will offer new tools and training in the areas of faith-based community organizing, media training, board development, fund-raising, research, biblical studies, theology, capacity-building and other concrete skills. For more information or to register, please visit http://www.manystoriesonevoice.org/.


–30–

The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the grassroots power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. We do this by training activists, equipping state and local organizations with the skills needed to organize broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement's premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge. © 2008 National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. 1325 Massachusetts Ave NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20005. Phone 202.393.5177. Fax 202.393.2241. TTY 202.393.2284. theTaskForce@theTaskForce.org.

TransFaith Launches InterSections

TransFaith Online is pleased to announce the addition of a new Intersections
section of our website (http://www.transfaithonline.org/intersections/),
featuring information and resources relating to transgender health and
wholeness.

We believe that nurturing the spiritual health of any community necessarily
involves paying attention to issues of body, mind, and spirit. Due to the
overwhelming risk factors faced by the transgender community, health and
wholeness is truly a matter of life and death.

In our first installation of TransFaith Intersections, we are highlighting
concerns about the rate of HIV and AIDS infection in the transgender
community:

www.transfaithonline.org/intersections/hiv_and_aids/

We welcome the July/August 2008 issue of "Positively Aware"
(http://positivelyaware.com/2008/08_04/index.html) which focused on the
transgender community's status as "Invisible and At-Risk." However, in
researching this topic, we were dismayed at how few other resources exist
on-line addressing issues of HIV and AIDS among the transgender community.

While comprehensive data on the transgender community is not available,
local assessments indicate that the transgender community has been one of
the communities hit hardest by the AIDS epidemic. There is a desperate need
for more resources addressing the unique barriers faced by the transgender
community in terms of sensitive prevention and health care resources.

TransFaith Online calls on the transgender people of faith and our allies
to:

* become better educated about transgender HIV and AIDS
* make sure that your HIV and AIDS ministries are sensitive to the unique
needs of transgender people
* include HIV and AIDS awareness as a part of your transgender advocacy
efforts
* speak out about the way HIV and AIDS is impacting the transgender
community

We are also eager for your assistance in further developing our TransFaith
HIV and AIDS InterSection. Please contact Chris Paige (215-840-2858 or
chris@transfaithonline.org) with your input, suggestions, and feedback.

Unfit For Purpose

Or, Why a pan-Anglican Covenant at this time is a very bad idea!

Don't miss the Revd Canon Marilyn McCord Adams analysis of the proposed Anglican Covenant! Click here for the PDF!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Mid-summer "Weekly Witness"



FROM THE PRESIDENT:

It's been awhile since we sent out a "weekly witness" and while it'll be a while longer before we're back on a "regular" schedule I wanted to take a little break from vacation today to send out this update to note that there is indeed "Life After Lambeth" ... and to point to some of the good work going on even in the dead of summer.

So here goes:

On a personal note, thanks to all who sent cards, notes and prayers at the news of the passing of my mother, Betty Bundy Brown, who died on July 24th. My family and I felt so very supported by all your love and prayers. We had a wonderful celebration of her life in her hometown in Minnesota on August 12th. And I know one of the greatest tributes I can offer to her memory is to keep calling this church family of ours to live up to the family values she raised us to respect and honor in her own family: love, respect, tolerance and inclusion.

And there is still plenty of work to do on all of the above, as post-Lambeth reflections, post-mortems and critiques continue to come in.

Among the best was Jim Naughton's "
The Archbishop's hands are tied, not ours."

His conclusion ...

"The politics of the church make Rowan Williams act against his beliefs on gay marriage. We don't have to do the same."


... is one that will frame our message as we move forward toward General Convention 2009 and beyond.

Other articles, essays and blogs of note:

Mark Harris'
"The Tasks at Hand ..."

I believe we need to work hard at being who we are, The Episcopal Church, called to try to be inclusive as that inclusion relates to justice and the redress of injustice. We must acknowledge that we are not particularly good at this call but we are working on it, and we are doing so because we believe it is part of the call to the whole people of God. We have a vocation in the midst of the general vocation of all Christian peoples. We will work at including all the churches, and more locally all the Christian people, we can into our common life as they are moved to join us.In that context the Anglican Communion will be for us our guests, welcomed to our table. We are in communion, for our part, with all the churches of the Anglican Communion.

At the same time, I believe we must work constantly and with transparency to be with others in such a way that they will say to us, “Welcome here.” Again this will not be easy. Colonialism and rank imperialism, both secular and ecclesial, is often just beneath the surface. The Episcopal Church needs to work at being commendable to others, so that we are welcome into the homes of many who at first may be suspicious of us and our intentions. In this context the Anglican Communion is wherever we too are welcome as guests at table and in homes.

Tobias Haller's "Crumbs"

The church has shown itself to be remarkably flexible in its interpretation and application of any number of biblical injunctions and restrictions, down through the years, some of them even involving sex and marriage. It is not an earth-shaking abandonment of the gospel — the claims of some notwithstanding — to consider the possibility of recognizing and blessing the relationships of faithful partners in life, who wish to commit themselves to each other under that blessing and in that bond for life.

Those of us engaged in this patient and earnest appeal, though we be ignored, rebuffed, and labeled as less than worthy, less than human even, will not cease from mental toil, nor from prayer, nor from giving thanks for the scraps thus far cast in our general direction, nor from pleading our case, nor from claiming our blessing, though we must wrestle until dawn, and be put out of joint on its account.

And Clare Herbert's reflections on our Lambeth Conference presence:
"Beyond the Fringe"

What is hard but essential to try to describe is that we were Church alongside everyone else being Church. We were not there only to protest, or to throw stones or to plead our special case as somehow outside looking in. We were ourselves "inside” living the life of the Church ourselves. When we read in John's Gospel every day how those on the fringes of successful society, - the servants, the compromised, the ill, the broken - often understood who Jesus was before the rest of his followers did we feel we were in the right place, bearing witness to the overwhelming love of God which we had seen and known in our own lives and which we were dying to tell others about.

And here's my own "reflecting on Lambeth" sermon from Sunday, August 10th: Walking on Water [
Video link/Text link]

Upcoming Events:
Integrity Nat'l Board Meeting: September 2-4 (New Orleans)
Many Stories, One Voice: September 4-7 (New Orleans)
Inclusion Activism Workshop: September 12-13 (Minneapolis)
House of Bishops Meeting: September 17-19 (Salt Lake City)

To have and to hold ...

California Faith for Equality offers this worth-watching-and-sharing video of interfaith voices supporting the Freedom to Marry:

My big fat straight wedding

Andrew Sullivan writes on his wedding and the surprising effects on him and his friends and relations:
The premise used to be that homosexuality was an activity, that gays were people who chose to behave badly; or, if they weren't choosing to behave badly, were nonetheless suffering from a form of sickness or, in the words of the Vatican, an "objective disorder." And so the question of whether to permit the acts and activities of such disordered individuals was a legitimate area of legislation and regulation.

But when gays are seen as the same as straights—as individuals; as normal, well-adjusted, human individuals—the argument changes altogether. The question becomes a matter of how we treat a minority with an involuntary, defining characteristic along the lines of gender or race. And when a generation came of age that did not merely grasp this intellectually, but knew it from their own lives and friends and family members, then the logic for full equality became irresistible.

This transformation in understanding happened organically
......

...Arendt put the right to marry before even the right to vote. And this is how many gay people of the next generation see it. Born into straight families and reared to see homosexuality as a form of difference, not disability, they naturally wonder why they would be excluded from the integral institution of their own families' lives and history. They see this exclusion as unimaginable—as unimaginable as straight people would if they were told that they could not legally marry someone of their choosing. No other institution has an equivalent power to include people in their own familial narrative or civic history as deeply or as powerfully as civil marriage does. And the next generation see themselves as people first and gay second.
Born in a different era, I reached that conclusion through more pain and fear and self-loathing than my 20-something fellow homosexuals do today. But it was always clear to me nonetheless. It just never fully came home to me until I too got married.

It happened first when we told our families and friends of our intentions. Suddenly, they had a vocabulary to describe and understand our relationship. I was no longer my partner's "friend" or "boyfriend"; I was his fiancé. Suddenly, everyone involved themselves in our love. They asked how I had proposed; they inquired when the wedding would be; my straight friends made jokes about marriage that simply included me as one of them. At that first post-engagement Christmas with my in-laws, I felt something shift. They had always been welcoming and supportive. But now I was family. I felt an end—a sudden, fateful end—to an emotional displacement I had experienced since childhood.

The wedding occurred last August in Massachusetts in front of a small group of family and close friends. And in that group, I suddenly realized, it was the heterosexuals who knew what to do, who guided the gay couple and our friends into the rituals and rites of family. Ours was not, we realized, a different institution, after all, and we were not different kinds of people. In the doing of it, it was the same as my sister's wedding and we were the same as my sister and brother-in-law. The strange, bewildering emotions of the moment, the cake and reception, the distracted children and weeping mothers, the morning's butterflies and the night's drunkenness: this was not a gay marriage; it was a marriage.


Read it all here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

REMINDER: Last Chance To Attend Inclusion Activism Workshop!


Dear Integrity members & friends:

What's Inclusion Activism? Integrity President Susan Russell describes the workshop curriculum as, "how the church works and how to work the church."

Did watching and waiting while bishops at Lambeth conferred about the future of the Episcopal Church (and perhaps your place within it) leave you feeling frustrated and more than usually disempowered?

Claiming the Blessing [CTB] and IntegrityUSA offer LGBT folks and LGBT-friends—lay and clerical, old-timers and the newly energized—a chance to learn how to practice Inclusion Activism. On September 12-13, we'll be holding the last of our current series of workshops in
Minneapolis at St. Mark's Cathedral.

The trainers are the Rev. Cynthia Black of Kalamazoo and Katie Sherrod of Fort Worth—just returned from the Lambeth Conference—where they worked on behalf of an international coalition that included CTB and Integrity. Katie edited The Lambeth Witness, while Cynthia shot video for The Gene Pool. The two also are the producers of the film Voices of Witness: Africa successfully previewed at Lambeth.

There is no tuition charge for the workshop—and participants will be well fed by us! You do have to cover your own travel and lodging expenses. Some scholarship help is available.

This will be your last chance to participate in one of these workshops before General Convention 2009. Visit www.integrityusa.org/InclusionActivism for a full agenda. If you are interested in attending or need more information before making a decision, please contact me.

I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Jan Adams
CTB Field Organizer
jan@integrityusa.org
415-378-2050

Monday, August 18, 2008

Another CA Supreme Court Decision

The California Supreme Court decides that a state antidiscrimination law trumps the religious freedom rights of doctors.

SAN FRANCISCO -- -- Doctors may not discriminate against gays and lesbians in medical treatment, even if the procedures being sought conflict with physicians' religious beliefs, the California Supreme Court decided today.
.
In the second, major gay-rights victory this year, the state high court said religious physicians must obey a state law that bars businesses from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.
.
Read the rest here.
.
And before the anti-marriage equality folks start cranking up their red-herring machine to try to "spin" this one as "the next thing you know they'll be making clergy marry gay couples!!!" remember:

1 - On May 15, 2008, the California Supreme Court struck down discrimination re: Civil Marriage. Period.

2 - Freedom of religion quarantees that no clergy person can be compelled to act against their conscience in the exercise of their pastoral duties.

3 - There are other places where California civil law regarding marriage differs from the canon law in some traditions. For example, California has had no fault divorce since 1970 and lawyers have not been lining up to sue Roman Catholic priests who won't remarry divorced couples. Neither will they be lining up to sue those clergy whose theology precludes their presiding at the marriage of a gay or lesbian couple.

+Bob Duncan on the Windsor Continuation Group

Hat tip to Elizabeth Kaeton's Telling Secrets for telling this secret ... wherein the Bishop of Pittsburgh makes it QUITE clear that his abandonment of the Faith & Order of the Episcopal Church is not an "if'" but a "when."

Suggest that you make sure your bishop sees this before she/he heads for Salt Lake City and the September 17-19 House of Bishops Meeting!

====

From: Duncan, Bob [mailto:Duncan@pitanglican.org]
Sent: Monday, August 11, 2008 12:35 PM
To:*********
Subject: Windsor Contiuation Group Concerns

Dear *******,

It was very good to be with you at Lambeth. I especially appreciated the time we spent together looking at the relationship between the Common Cause Partners and the Communion Partners, as well as considering issues that are before the WCG. I thought that you might appreciate hearing from me about concerns the approach of the WCG has caused for me and for all the Common Cause Partners.

The WCG proposes "cessation of all cross-border interventions and inter-provincial claims of jurisdiction." There are at least four serious problems with the thinking surrounding the work of the Windsor Continuation Group in this regard.

The first difficulty is the moral equivalence implied between the three moratoria, a notion specifically rejected in the original Windsor Report and at Dromantine. The second is the notion that, even if the moratoria are held to be equally necessary, there would be some way to "freeze" the situation as it now stands for those of us in the process of separating from The Episcopal Church.

The three dioceses of Pittsburgh, Quincy and Fort Worth have taken first constitutional votes on separation with second votes just weeks away. We all anticipate coming under Southern Cone this fall, thus to join San Joaquin. This process cannot be stopped -- constitutions require an automatic second vote, and to recommend against passage without guarantees from the other side would be suicidal.

The third reality is that those already separated parishes and missionary jurisdictions under Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Southern Cone (including Recife) will never consent to the "holding tank" whose stated purpose is eventual "reconciliation" with TEC or thevAnglican Church of Canada. (It was obvious to all at Lambeth that the majorities in the US and Canada have no intention of reversing direction.)

The fourth matter is that the legal proceedings brought by TEC and ACC against many of us have been nowhere suspended by these aggressor provinces, with no willingness to mediate or negotiate though we have proposed it repeatedly, not least since Dar es Salaam. For your information, I have written to John Chew and Donald Mtetemela in a similar way. I have also written to the Global South Primates who signed the open letter dated 3 August.

I hope this finds you well. As I pledged when we saw each other, I will do what I can to keep you informed of thinking among the Common Cause Partners, and will do what I can to see that any solutions imagined include both the Communion Partners (on the inside) and the Common Cause Partners (most of whom are on the outside of TEC, or on their way out.)

Blessings to you and yours,
+Bob

Progressive & Religious

How Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist Leaders are Moving Beyond the Culture Wars
by Robert P Jones

In recent years, Americans have become frustrated with the troubled relationship between religion and politics: an exclusive claim on faith and values from the right and a radical divorce of faith from politics on the left. Now a new group of religious leaders is re-envisioning religion in public life and blazing a trail that goes beyond partisan politics to work for a more just and inclusive society. Progressive & Religious draws on nearly 100 in-depth interviews with Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Buddhist leaders to tell the story of this dynamic, emerging movement.

Robert P. Jones explains how progressive religious leaders are tapping the deep connections between religion and social justice to work on issues like poverty and workers' rights, the environment, health care, pluralism, and human rights. Interviewees include David Saperstein, Michael Lerner, Jim Wallis, Brian McLaren, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Susan Thistlethwaite, Feisal Abdul Rauf, Eboo Patel, Kecia Ali, Surya Das, Robert Thurman, and E. J. Dionne.

Robby is president of Public Religion Research. His new book can be ordered through Integrity's Amazon portal by clicking here. You can find out more about this topic at www.progressiveandreligious.org.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Midwestern Regional Conference



About 20 leaders and members of Integrity USA from the Midwestern Region gathered this weekend at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Evanston, IL.

Louie Crew gave two talks: 1) on how and why Integrity was founded and its relationship to the Episcopal church becoming more open to the ministries of all the baptized, and 2) on Integrity’s recent past and what he believes General Convention 2009 will bring.

John Clinton Bradley, Acting Executive Director of Integrity, also give two talks: 1) on what happened at Lambeth, and 2) what's next for the Episcopal Church related to LGBT issues. [PDFs of John's slides are available by clicking the hyperlinks.]

Liz Steadman and Kelby Harrison gave a presentation titled "What If LGBTQ People Preached What They Know in Practice? Insights with Integrity for Christian Sexual Ethics"

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Final Installment from "The Gene Pool" now available

video

Some final reflections from Bishop Robinson during the last days of his time in Canterbury have now been posted to The Gene Pool.

Thanks to the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Black and Dr. Katie Sherrod for their diligence in making this available to us all!

You can still watch all of the posts - from the beginning - HERE!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Too big a tent?

Savitri Hensmen writes in the Guardian:

As the Lambeth conference in Canterbury was drawing to a close, Michael Causer died. He was not an Anglican bishop, but an 18-year-old hairdresser, a popular lad described by his family as "definitely a 'people's person'. Our world will never be the same without him." He was the victim of a homophobic attack.

In other countries too, during the conference, virulent hatred of gays and lesbians continued to take its toll – sometimes in spectacular fashion. A gunman in Tennessee shot two people dead during a children's performance in a Unitarian church he thought too "liberal" before being overpowered. A Ugandan gay and lesbian rights activist was kidnapped by police in Kampala and tortured. A wave of homophobia swept Indonesian capital Jakarta, and arrests were reported.

In many countries, repressive laws fuel bigotry. All too often in schools and workplaces, temples and churches worldwide, people learn to hate or despise lesbians and gays. To Christians, this is tragic, not just for the victims: those who do not love their neighbour are spiritually dead. Yet talk among Anglican Communion leaders about homosexuality seemed oddly disconnected from the world in which most of us live, and the challenge to make it more just and loving.

Every decade or so, the Lambeth conference has urged bishops to champion human rights for all and enter into dialogue with the gay and lesbian community. But this has been widely ignored: blessing same-sex couples is apparently a far greater offence than allying with repressive governments to hunt them down.


Read it all here.

Bishop Shaw Responds to +Rowan's Moratoria

Episcopal bishop will ordain gays; Shaw plans to consult on same-sex weddings
By Michael Paulson
Boston Globe

August 7, 2008

A month ago, the world's Anglican bishops flew off to London, hoping to do something to keep the world's third largest Christian family from falling apart over the ordination of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire.

But as the bishops return to their dioceses around the world, the plight of the Episcopal Church, and its parent Anglican Communion, remains as muddled as ever. With conservatives contending that the denomination is moving toward schism and liberals arguing that the denomination is stabilizing, the path forward is unclear.

Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, head of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, said in an interview upon his return from London that he will continue to ordain gay clergy, which he called "pastorally important."

He also said that local priests will continue to bless same-sex marriages, although Shaw said that those priests are doing so on their own and that "I haven't authorized anybody to do anything."

Click here to read the rest!

Survey Says...



Thanks to those who participated in the online poll about the net impact of the Lambeth Conference on LGBT Anglicans. Almost 2/3rds of respondents think it will have a NEGATIVE effect.

Archbishop of Canterbury seeks 'covenantal commitment'

This ENS article came out a week ago, but it is notable that Susan Russell was quoted...

The Rev. Susan Russell, Integrity USA President, said that "in spite of
extraordinary pressure to do otherwise, the Archbishop of Canterbury has managed to achieve his stated goal of a Lambeth Conference of reflection rather than resolutions.

"The long predicted coup d'état that was going to emerge from this Lambeth Conference and vote the Americans and Canadians out of the Anglican Communion failed to materialize. There is much to be grateful for in that."

She added that "we recognize with deep regret that the exclusion of the Bishop of New Hampshire from this gathering of his peer bishops in the Church of God has sent a signal to LGBT people around the world that the Anglican Communion still considers them 'strangers at the gate.' We commit ourselves to continue in the struggle until our church and our communion live up to the high calling to be the Body of Christ in the world where all members are truly welcome, valued, loved, included and challenged."

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Walking on water

From a post-Lambeth sermon preached by Integrity President Susan Russell at All Saints Church, Pasadena on Sunday, August 10th.

Like Peter, who the gospel writer Matthew tells us, started walking on the water toward Jesus and only began to sink when overcome by doubt and fear, Rowan Williams – after two weeks of a miraculous “walking on water” Lambeth Conference – sank like a stone in the last two hours.

Read the rest here ...

The archbishop's hands are tied, not ours

Jim Naughton--Canon for Communications in the Diocese of Washington and a member of the Chicago Consultation steering committee--has an excellent op-ed piece in today's Guardian. Here's a sample...

What is most objectionable about Williams' recent machinations are his efforts to construct a Communion in which only one response is permissible. He has sacrificed his opportunity to act on his convictions because he believes that his office demands it. One may disagree with that choice, but one can respect it. What one cannot respect, and must not accept, are his efforts to impose a similar sacrifice on those who believe that their offices — as pastors, as friends, as Christians — demand a different conclusion.

Under Williams's leadership, an elitist view of history is acquiring the force of doctrine. One may believe that the world needs examples of gay and lesbian couples living in what he refers as "covenanted" relationships before it will readily adapt to the notion of gay marriage, but those who act on this belief face consequences. One may believe that social movements are driven from the bottom, by the men and women affected by existing discrimination, but one must behave as though such change is legitimised by ecclesial elites.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lambeth post-mortem continues

The latest from the Timesonline ...

Dr Williams has made a split inevitable in the Anglican Church

... includes these quotes:


The Rev Susan Russell, of the US gay lobby group Integrity, said that Dr Williams was seeking a false unity based in dishonesty. The latest revelations would encourage liberals in North America to press on with their agenda and protect them against charges of apostasy, she said.“That Archbishop Rowan Williams’s theology is identical to that held by Canadian and American Anglican Churches currently blessing same-sex unions is not news,” Ms Russell said.

“What should be news is the rank hypocrisy of Williams’s willingness to lay at the feet of Canadian and American Anglicans the blame for divisions in the communion when the only difference between what’s happening in our Churches and in his is that we’re telling the truth about it.”

The Rev Giles Fraser, Vicar of St Mary’s in Putney, southwest London, which played host to the gay US bishop Gene Robinson on his recent visit to London, said: “I know Dr Williams thinks the Church is important. But this is almost saying the Church is more important than belief. We had a Reformation to change that view.”

====

Just for the record, here's the whole comment I sent to the Times this morning per their request (I kinda liked the wise man built his house upon the rock part they didn't use!):

+Williams' affirmation that a theology supporting the holiness of gay and lesbian partnerships is not only viable but shared by the Archbishop of Canterbury will be received as encouragement by those who continue to press on toward full inclusion. It should give rest, once and for all, to the fiction that our perspective lies outside of the bounds of historic Anglicanism and end the charges of apostasy and heresy from those who disagree with us on the full inclusion of gay and lesbian Anglicans in the work and witness of the church.

The sacrifice that will hold the Anglican Communion together is not the sacrifice of the gay and lesbian baptized but the sacrifice of a false unity based in dishonesty. That +Rowan Williams' theology is identical to that held by Canadian and American Anglican churches currently blessing same sex unions is not news. What should be news is the rank hypocrisy of Williams' willingness to lay at the feet of Canadian and American Anglicans the blame for divisions in the Communion when the only difference between what's happening in our churches and in his is that we're telling the truth about it.

Scripture tells us what happened to the foolish man who built his house upon the sand. It's time for the Archbishop of Canterbury to act like the wise man he is and build the future of the Anglican Communion on the solid rock of honest differences reflected in the Lambeth Indaba Report and not on the shifting sands of global Anglican politics. Jesus promised us that "the truth will set you free." The Communion deserves nothing less than the truth -- and so does the Gospel.
.

Love Unites

Phil Groves, facilitator of the Anglican Communion Listening Process,
receive the message below and was given permission to share it...

________________________________

From: Pradeep Kumar Samantaroy
Sent: 02 August 2008 20:35
To: Phil Groves
Subject: Love Unites

Dear Phil,

It was nice to talk to you this evening. I thank God for your ministry of
listening. I know it is one of the most important yet challenging ministries
of the Church today. I wish to share some of my thoughts with you.

I am serving the people of the Diocese of Amritsar, Church of North India,
in the states of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. I came to
attend the Lambeth Conference with lot of questions in my mind about the
issue of human sexuality as I knew this issue has threatened the unity in
the Anglican Communion. Coming from a conservative back-ground I was not
even prepared to listen to any person who supported the gay and lesbian
people. However, the Indaba experience has changed my opinion. After
listening to the stories of bishops coming from different cultural contexts
I have become aware of the pain and agony people have bear because of our
attitude towards each other. Further, I am convinced that despite their
different and often opposite positions all are committed to live and grow
within the Anglican family. The binding force in a family is love. If we
love one another we learn to transcend our differences and don't hesitate to
sacrifice our own interests for the sake of the family unity. This is
possible only when we are willing to listen to each other. The amount of
sacrifices I make is dependent on the depth of my love and intimacy of my
relationship.

As for me I have decided not to be hasty in judging the gay and the
lesbians. I wish to learn more about their life and problems. I have also
decided to regularly pray for them. I wish to encourage the other members of
the Anglican Communion to do the same.

You may share my thoughts with other like-minded persons.

Prayerfully

Bunu (Bishop P. K. Samantaroy)

P.S. Please feel free to edit my letter as English is not my first language

Bishop P.K.Samantaroy
26, R.B.Prakash Chand Road
Amritsar - 143001
Punjab
INDIA

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

ABC says gay relationships comparable to marriage

In a private correspondence conducted eight years ago, Rowan Williams, now the Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote that gay sexual relationships can “reflect the love of God” in a way that is comparable to marriage, according to Ruth Gledhill in The Times.

Gay partnerships pose the same ethical questions as those between a man and woman and the key issue for Christians is that they are faithful and lifelong, he believes.
Dr Williams is known to be personally liberal on the issue but the strength of his views, revealed in private correspondence shown to The Times, will astonish his critics.
....
In an exchange of letters with an evangelical Christian, written eight years ago when he was Archbishop of Wales, Dr Williams describes his belief that Biblical passages criticising homosexual sex are not aimed at people who are gay by nature.

Instead, he argues that scriptural prohibitions are addressed “to heterosexuals looking for sexual variety in their experience”.

He says: “I concluded that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness.”

Although written before he became Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002, Dr Williams describes his view in the letters as his “definitive conclusion” reached after 20 years of study and prayer. He refers to it as his “conviction”.


Read more at Episcopal Cafe

Still Time To Join Us In New Orleans!

There is still time to join us in New Orleans, LA, September 3-7, 2008, for
"Many Stories, One Voice" and the transgender pre-event, "For Such a Time as
This..."

The New Orleans Marriot has extended the deadline for discounted
reservations ($99 per night) to August 15, 2008.

The online reservation system will only give you the discount for the
9/4-9/7/2008. But if you call the Marriot directly (504.581.1000 or
888.364.1200) and mention "Many Stories, One Voice," you can get the
discount for additional nights.

For more information:

Many Stories, One Voice: www.manystoriesonevoice.org

For Such a Time as This: www.transfaithonline.org/fstat/

Chris Paige
chris@transfaithonline.org
215-840-2858

************************
TRANSFAITH ON-LINE (http://www.transfaithonline.org/) is dedicated to
supporting transgender folks in our faith journeys, while providing useful
resources to help people of faith become better educated trans-allies.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Marc Andrus Reflects On Lambeth

Listening Process

The Lambeth Conference came to its conclusion today, Sunday. I would like to thank the courageous –"acting from the heart" – people who came to Canterbury from many places to tell their stories as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered people, as part of the Listening Process called for by Lambeth '98, the Windsor Document, the Primates, and the Archbishop of Canterbury. As I pointed out in several settings at the conference, the strength and courage of LGBT people coming to a place where it was commonly heard that there were significant negative places of negative energy aimed at them is something to honor.

Tom Jackson, the president of Oasis California was an on-the-ground, tireless, manager and encourager for all present. Those telling their stories included: the Rev. Vicki Gray, deacon in the Diocese of California, Tom Poynor, chaplain at the UC Berkeley, Rowan Smith, Dean of St. George’s Cathedral, Cape Town, South Arica. Cynthia Black, Louise Brooks, and Katie Sherrod produced a powerful documentary of LGBT people telling their stories in Africa that had two showings at Lambeth. Mimi Walters journey from Baltimore, and lesbian and gay clergy came from the Diocese of North Carolina.

Click here to read the rest!

Susan Russell Reflects On Lambeth

In Between

I write this as we fly from Heathrow to LAX on the Monday after Lambeth Conference 2008. The map on the airline video monitor tells me we’re somewhere over Greenland. My watch tells me it’s either coming up on 2pm or 6am …depending on whether I want to be on London or L.A. time. So I’m in a very “in between place” at the moment.And so, I believe, is our Church and our Communion.

Click here to read the rest!

Reactions to Lambeth Conference Span The Spectrum

By Mary Frances Schjonberg

[Episcopal News Service, Canterbury] The buses bearing the 2008 Lambeth
Conference's 670 purple cassock-clad bishops had barely arrived at
Canterbury Cathedral for the 18-day gathering's final Eucharist August 3
when reactions to the event and its final reflections document began to
appear.

The reactions ranged across the spectrum of opinion, with some urging
decisive action in concert with the comments made in the reflections
document and some cautioning against making legislation out of a document
that is a self-described narrative of the conference.

Noticeably quiet on that day was the Global Anglican Future Conference,
which held a June gathering of conservative Anglicans and Episcopalians in
Jerusalem. Its silence was noteworthy considering that the absence of the
so-called GAFCON bishops is referenced in the introductory section of the
reflections document.

Full story: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79901_99775_ENG_HTM.htm

Anglican Leader Urges Ban On Gay Bishops

By RACHEL ZOLL

NEW YORK (AP) — The spiritual leader of the world's Anglicans urged church leaders Sunday not to consecrate any other gay bishops for now, as he ended a once-a-decade Anglican assembly that was dedicated to preventing schism in the troubled fellowship.


In his final speech at the Lambeth Conference, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said the Anglican Communion needs "space for study and free discussion without pressure" about whether to accept changes in the traditional biblical understanding of same-sex relationships.

snip

On Sunday, the advocacy group Integrity, which represents gay and lesbian Episcopalians, said in a statement that "there is no theological defense for sacrificing a minority of the baptized" for the sake of unity.

Click here to read the entire article.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

From spectators to participants: Inclusion Activism opportunity

Did watching and waiting while bishops at Lambeth conferred about the future of the Episcopal Church (and perhaps your place within it) leave you feeling frustrated and more than usually disempowered?

Claiming the Blessing/Integrity offers LGBT folks and LGBT-friends, lay and clerical, old-timers and the newly energized, a chance to learn how to practice Inclusion Activism. On September 12-13, we'll be holding the last of our current series of workshops in Minneapolis, MN at St. Mark's Cathedral.

What's Inclusion Activism? Integrity President Susan Russell describes the curriculum as "how the Church works and how to work the Church."

The trainers are the Rev. Cynthia Black of Kalamazoo and Katie Sherrod for Fort Worth, just returned from the Inclusive Church communications team at Lambeth. Katie edited The Lambeth Witness, while Cynthia shot video for the Lambeth Gene Pool. The two also are the producers of the film Voices of Witness: Africa successfully previewed at Lambeth.

There is no tuition charge for the workshop -- and participants will be well fed by us. You do have to cover your own travel and lodging expenses. Some scholarship help is available.

This will be your last chance to participate in one of these workshops before General Convention 2009. If interested in attending, or you want more information, contact Claiming the Blessing field organizer Jan Adams at jan@integrityusa.org

From the Horse's Mouth


New Poll

A new poll has been added to the right column of Walking With Integrity...
Now that the Lambeth Conference is over, what net impact do you think it will
have on LGBT Anglicans over the next decade?
Record your vote within the next week!

[Note: The Blogger poll widget only supports multiple choice questions at this time.]

Statement by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori at the conclusion of the 2008 Lambeth Conference

Lambeth 2008

Many bishops came to this gathering in fear and trembling, expecting either
a distasteful encounter between those of vastly different opinions, or the
cold shoulder from those who disagree. The overwhelming reality has been
just the opposite. We have prayed, cried, learned, and laughed together,
and discovered something deeper about the body of Christ. We know more of
the deeply faithful ministry of those in vastly differing contexts, and we
have heard repeatedly of the life and death matters confronting vast swaths
of the Communion: hunger, disease, lack of education and employment,
climate change, war and violence. We have remembered that together we may
be the largest network on the planet - able to respond to those life and
death issues if we tend to the links, connections, and bonds between us. We
have not resolved the differences among us, but have seen the deep need to
maintain relationships, even in the face of significant disagreement and
discomfort. The Anglican Communion is suffering the birth pangs of
something new, which none of us can yet fully appreciate or understand, yet
we know that the Spirit continues to work in our midst. At the same time
patience is being urged from many quarters, that all may more fully know the
leading of the Spirit. God is faithful. May we be faithful as well.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

Press Release

3 August 2008

FINAL INTEGRITY STATEMENT FROM LAMBETH CONFERENCE 2008: The coup d'état has failed. It's time to get on with the Kingdom.

CANTERBURY, UK—In spite of extraordinary pressure to do otherwise, the Archbishop of Canterbury has managed to achieve his stated goal of a Lambeth Conference of reflection rather than resolutions. The long predicted coup d'état that was going to emerge from this Lambeth Conference and vote the Americans and Canadians out of the Anglican Communion failed to materialize. There is much to be grateful for in that.

In his July 29th presidential address, Rowan Williams clearly set the theological and biblical perspectives of those who embrace an inclusive gospel within the container of Anglican comprehensiveness. That in itself is a tremendous step forward for the Anglican Communion. It should signal that it is time for the conversations to cease about whether those who hold an inclusive perspective are still Anglicans—much less Christians. It is time to move on to how we, as a diverse community of faith, are going to move forward in God's mission in spite of our differences.

The 43-page "Lambeth Indaba: Capturing Conversations and Reflections" provides a snapshot of the diversity of opinion and perspective held throughout the global communion and resists the temptation to offer—much less insist—on the means to reconcile the differences that challenge us. We call on our bishops to resist the temptation of those who will try to turn this descriptive document into a proscriptive edict.

This is particularly critical in the language around moratoria. The inclusion in this set of descriptions of the conversations in the bishops' Indaba groups of the "desire to enforce a moratoria" on further consecrations of bishops who are gay or lesbian and on the blessing and celebration of same-sex unions is an accurate reflection of how some in the Anglican Communion would prefer we moved forward.

So is the reflection about "the positive effects in parts of [the Communion] when homosexual people are accepted as God's children, are treated with dignity and choose to give their lives to Christ and to live in the community of faith as disciples of Jesus Christ with fidelity and commitment."

And, while the Archbishop of Canterbury in his concluding address expressed his own preference for moratoria as a way forward, we are reminded that we are, as Anglicans, bound together in bonds of affection rather than authority. We believe we are called to find that way forward, not only within the bonds of affection to our Anglican siblings, but within the parameters of the polity and practice of an Episcopal Church forged in the crucible of the American Revolution.

With Lambeth Conference 2008 and the failed coup d'état behind us, Integrity calls on our bishops to lead us all forward in faith and in God's mission: to bring good news to the poor, release to the captives, and to let the oppressed go free.

We challenge them to partner with the House of Deputies to break the cycle of being bullied into bigotry and distracted from mission and ministry by those who would exclude us because of our commitment to the full inclusion of all the baptized in the Body of Christ. We look forward to General Convention 2009 and the opportunities we will have there to move the church further forward on the journey toward full inclusion.

We pray that our bishops will build on the relationships they have developed here in Canterbury with bishops from around the Communion to enable the witness of the Good News of God in Christ Jesus made present in the lives, relationships and vocations of LGBT Episcopalians to be shared more widely throughout our Anglican family of faith. We stand ready to resource and support that work going forward.

We remind our bishops that we cannot live up to our baptismal vows to respect the dignity of every human being if we tell some of them that they are good enough to arrange our flowers, play our organs, direct our choirs, teach our Sunday Schools, and lead our worship—but not good enough to have their vocations affirmed and their relationships blessed. There is nothing "generous" about asking the LGBT faithful to bear the burden of unity of the Anglican Communion on their shoulders and there is no theological defense for sacrificing a minority of the baptized to the will of a majority.

We give thanks for the extraordinary privilege it has been to be part of the cloud of witnesses who have offered to this Lambeth Conference incarnational opportunities to engage with brother and sister Anglicans from all over the globe. We pray that our witness, along with our Inclusive Church Network allies, will continue to grow as we partner together to proclaim God's justice and to live God's love.

Finally, we recognize with deep regret that the exclusion of the Bishop of New Hampshire from this gathering of his peer bishops in the Church of God has sent a signal to LGBT people around the world that the Anglican Communion still considers them "strangers at the gate." We commit ourselves to continue in the struggle until our church and our Communion live up to the high calling to be the Body of Christ in the world where all members are truly welcome, valued, loved, included, and challenged.

END

Press contact in the UK:
Louise Brooks, Senior Press Officer, +44 (0)7503 695 579, tvprod@earthlink.net

Press contact in the USA:
Jan Adam, Field Organizer, +1-415-378-2050, jan@integrityusa.org

Lambeth Indaba Reflections

And here is the final summary document of the indaba discussions...

http://www.lambethconference.org/reflections/document.cfm

ABC's Final Presidental Address

+Rowan speaks strongly in favor of moratoria...

http://www.lambethconference.org/daily/news.cfm/2008/8/3/ACNS4511

No concrete action anticipated on sexuality before Lambeth concludes

===================================
a c c w e b n e w s
The Anglican Church of Canada
http://www.anglican.ca/
===================================

MARITES N. SISON
STAFF WRITER

Aug 2, 2008

Canterbury, England
The Archbishop of Hong Kong, Paul Kwong, on Saturday said he found it "a
little disappointing" that the Lambeth Conference is ending tomorrow with
"no concrete action" to resolve the issues around sexuality that have
triggered deep divisions within the Anglican Communion.

Alluding to The Episcopal Church in the U.S., which has ordained an openly
gay bishop, and the Vancouver-based diocese of New Westminster, which has
permitted same-sex blessings, Archbishop Kwong urged those involved in the
conflict to make a "sacrifice" similar to that made by the Church of South
China in 1948. The Lambeth Conference of 1948 had ruled that the diocese of
South China's proposal to ordain a deaconess to the priesthood for an
experimental period of 20 years would be "against the tradition and order
and would gravely affect the internal and external relations of the Anglican
Communion." In 1944, Florence Li Tim Oi had been ordained the first female
priest in the Communion by the bishop of Hong Kong; in 1946, to defuse the
controversy surrounding her ordination, she surrendered her priest's
licence, but not her Holy Orders.

"We were criticized for that...That was considered a radical move...
For the sake of the communion we revoked the ordination of Florence Li Tim
Oi," he said.

"We respect what people are doing, that what they've done is correct in
their context. We're not asking them to defend that what they're doing is
right, but what sacrifice can you make for the interest of the Communion, of
the church?" he asked.

To read the rest of the story, please visit the Anglican Journal Website,
http://www.anglicanjournal.com

Lambeth bishops air differing views on covenant

Suggested suspension of same-sex blessings also contentious

By Solange De Santis

[Episcopal News Service, Canterbury] Anglican bishops meeting at the Lambeth
Conference on August 2 said there were passionate disagreements about
aspects of a developing covenant designed to hold together churches with
theological differences.

In addition, the bishops on the next-to-last day of the July 16-August 3
meeting clashed over proposals that would require churches to stop entering
other provinces to minister to conservatives, blessing same-sex unions and
consecrating partnered gay persons to the episcopate.

It was the second day of discussions about the so-called St. Andrew's Draft
of the covenant, and the moratoria contained in the 2004 Windsor Report. The
report, which was produced by an international committee, was drawn up after
the Canadian and U.S. churches took several moves toward liberalizing
attitudes toward homosexuality, including the 2003 consecration of openly
gay bishop Gene Robinson in New Hampshire.

Full story: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79901_99685_ENG_HTM.htm

Bishop Gene Robinson says he is at Canterbury as a witness

Know God, acknowledge gays, he asks

By Solange De Santis

[Episcopal News Service, Canterbury] He might be the most prominent
uninvited guest at the 2008 Lambeth Conference, but Diocese of New Hampshire
Bishop Gene Robinson's presence at the every-decade gathering was,
nonetheless, a compelling factor.

Robinson, whose long-term same-gender relationship is a source of
controversy in the Anglican world, said he was in Canterbury not to protest
his exclusion from the decennial gathering of Anglican bishops. He was
there, rather, "to witness to the joy I know in my life because I know God
and be a constant reminder to the conference that there are gay and lesbian
people sitting in their pews in every country in every congregation around
the world."

The meeting, which runs from July 16 to August 3, was in one sense defined
by absence, as about 210 of the global Anglican Communion's 880 bishops
voluntarily stayed away, many to protest the U.S. and Canada's openly
liberal stance toward homosexuality.

Full story: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79901_99682_ENG_HTM.htm

The Wheels On The Bus Go 'Round And 'Round

Click here for Susan Russell's initial reflections on draft 4 of the indaba groups summary document.


The Lambeth Witness #12

The final edition of The Lambeth Witness is now available here as a PDF. The centerfold is a photo montage retrospective of the past 2 weeks.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bishops of South Asia urge 'continuing listening and healing'

===================================
a c c w e b n e w s
The Anglican Church of Canada
http://www.anglican.ca/
===================================

MARITES N. SISON
STAFF WRITER

Aug 2, 2008

Canterbury, England
The bishops of the united churches of South Asia on Saturday urged the
Anglican Communion to resolve its differences over human sexuality "by a
continuing process of listening and healing, where we may be willing to
forgive and accept one another generously and move towards true
reconciliation."

They invited the entire Anglican Communion "to do some heart-searching and
in humility walk the Calvary road so that our differences, self-
justifications and arrogant attitudes may be crucified and that we all
experience the power of the resurrection..."

At the same time, however, the bishops said that they "acknowledge the
biblical norms on human sexuality and urge that within the Anglican
Communion this may be upheld for the effective witness of the gospel."

Bishops John Wilson Gladstone (Church of South India), Brojen Malakar
(Church of North India), Alexander John Malik (Church of Pakistan), and
Paul. S. Sarker (Church of Bangladesh) signed the statement, copies of which
were given to the media.

To read the rest of the story, please visit the Anglican Journal Website,
http://www.anglicanjournal.com

LGBT ANGLICANS RECOMMIT TO MUTUAL SUPPORT AND GLOBAL MISSION

Press Release

2 August 2008

CANTERBURY, UK— Leaders of seven lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Anglican organizations met yesterday as the Lambeth Conference drew to a close.

We recommitted ourselves to the full inclusion of LGBT people in the life and ministry of the churches of the Anglican Communion.

We promised to redouble our efforts to work for the human rights of LGBT people around the world that they might live free of violence and discrimination due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

We resolved to develop and distribute additional educational resources for church leaders and civil authorities related to theology and sexuality issues.

We pledged to continue promoting and supporting the Anglican Communion Listening Process.

We recommitted ourselves to supporting each other's intra-provincial work and to helping our LGBT Anglican sisters and brothers around the world develop ministries of support and witness.

We agreed to form an umbrella organization named "Inclusive Communion" to facilitate our cooperative efforts.

We planned to convene a worldwide summit of LGBT Anglicans in the near future to build on the cooperative ministry and witness begun during this Lambeth Conference.

We invite other LGBT Anglican organizations to join us in this mission and to affiliate with Inclusive Communion by sending an email message to add@inclusivecommunion.net.


Changing Attitude Nigeria: Davis Mac-Iyalla
Changing Attitude: Colin Coward & Max Manin
Claiming the Blessing: Cynthia Black
Integrity Canada: Steve Schuh & Chris Ambidge
Integrity Uganda: Christopher Senyonjo
IntegrityUSA: Caro Hall & John Clinton Bradley
Other Sheep East Africa: Michael Kimindu

The Latest Draft

Here's the latest draft of "Reflections upon the Lambeth Conference 2008" just released to the bishops. It incorporates revised content from the indaba group discussion on homosexuality. We're reading it carefully now.

Check out sections 90 thru 105 on pages 26-30.

The Bishop and Human Sexuality

The first draft summary of yesterday's indaba group discussions on homosexuality are available here as a PDF. This draft was discussed by all the bishops yesterday afternoon. We're told that the first draft does not fully reflect the voices of bishops who have positively experienced the lives and ministries of LGBT Anglicans, and that the Bishop of Dublin spoke eloquently on our behalf. A second draft will be released and discussed at 5 pm BST today.

A Roman perspective on things Anglican

Found this report in "America: The National Catholic Weekly" of interest:

Disagreements do not necessarily lead to divisions or crises. The real question is why the Anglican Church has not been able to contain the disagreements, and why they are causing the church to tear itself apart.

The current crisis is not, in other words, doctrinal; it is ecclesiological. As the center of Anglicanism has moved away from the Church of England to the global communion, the glue that has held the Church of England together has been exposed as inadequate for binding the Anglican Churches worldwide.

It seems to me that this is the question still to be answered by this Lambeth Conference.

The Lambeth Witness #11

The Saturday edition of The Lambeth Witness is now available here as a PDF. Don't miss the tongue-in-check photo of some of the "hundreds of gay and lesbian activists" whom the Rt. Rev. Mouneer Anis of Egypt says have been chasing bishops thru Lambeth.