Friday, September 25, 2009

Integrity President to be honored by Diocese of Los Angeles

September 25, 2009

The Reverend Susan Russell, Integrity's soon-to-be past-president, will be made an honorary canon of the Diocese of Los Angeles in recognition of her advocacy for the full inclusion of LGBT people in the work and witness of the Episcopal Church at a festival Evensong on Sunday, September 27 at St. John's Cathedral.

“Susan is a major opinion maker in the Episcopal church and her steadfast ministry has made history in this denomination. We celebrate the recognition of her work, dedication, and grace with the Diocese of Los Angeles,” said the Reverend David Norgard, newly elected Integrity President. Norgard's three year term as president of the 33 year old Episcopal LGBT advocacy organization begins on October 1st when Russell steps down after six years in office.

"As a native of Los Angeles and a daughter of this diocese," said Russell, "it is a high honor to be recognized in this way by the church of my birth and baptism. But more than just a recognition of my ministry, I hope that Sunday's service will be be a beacon of hope to all LGBT people who wonder if that sign outside saying "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You" really means it. Because in the Diocese of Los Angeles, we do."

"I am deeply grateful to be part of a diocese that sees activism as an asset and does not shy away from being a prophetic voice on behalf of "the least of these" who Our Lord calls us to serve in His name. We have come very far indeed from the church I grew up in -- where girls couldn't be acolytes, much less priests or honorary canons! But there is still much work to do -- and I look forward to all that we will do together here in the Diocese of Los Angeles as we move forward together into God's future."

Russell currently serves as a Senior Associate at All Saints Church, Pasadena. Ordained in 1996, she served congregations in Altadena and San Pedro prior to joining the All Saints staff in 2002. In addition to her tenure as Integrity President, she also served as a member of the National Board of the Episcopal Church Women (2000-2003), is a member of the Human Rights Campaign's Religion Council and serves as a spokesperson for California Faith for Equality. In 2008 she was featured in the award-winning short documentary film "The Constant Process" -- produced and directed by Mormon filmmaker Douglas Hunter.

The Rt. Reverend Sergio Carranza will preside at the 4:00 p.m. service, which will include music by the St. John's Choir and a sermon by Canon Jim White. St. John's is located at 514 W. Adams Blvd, Los Angeles 90012.

For further information contact:
Louise Brooks, Communication Director
Integrity USA -- 626.993.4605

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