Monday, November 16, 2009

Integrity Fort Worth Has Cause to Celebrate Milestones, Breakthroughs

This weekend was all about celebrating milestones in one form or another in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. As Episcopalians of the diocese assembled over the weekend for the Fort Worth Convention, some of the milestones we faced were witnessing the first female ordained to the priesthood in the diocese’s history, discussion on same-gender marriage was part of the resolutions which included discussion that LGBT Episcopalians should not be overlooked nor disregarded and are our sisters and brothers, and Integrity was allowed (for the first time) to have a presence.

The weekend was filled with joy. Everywhere you turned, there were smiles on people’s faces. Clergy embraced one another and laity from all over the diocese. Lay members were reacquainted with other from across the diocese. And in the midst was Integrity Fort Worth. With a very noticeable display, the Integrity exhibit attracted men and women, young and old, with many who needed to open up and tell their stories and their experiences. Some had never heard of Integrity and immediately added their names to the mailing list. People from far-flung, small towns in the diocese (generally assumed to be conservative places) took several business cards and brochures and other informational items.

Of all of the experiences, one that was very memorable was a deacon who approached Integrity and said that she wanted to present the acclaimed documentary For The Bible Tells Me So at a future forum in her parish. She invited Integrity to come and have a table set up with information and be willing to speak to the members of the parish. This is the first time Integrity has ever been asked by a member of the clergy or parish to come to them.

Integrity Fort Worth also had brochures on becoming a Proud Parish Partner. Several of the brochures were taken by members of parishes who stated that they were going to urge their vestry members to become an Integrity Partner. This is also important for Integrity Fort Worth, as we continue to not be able to hold meetings nor events at any of the Episcopal parishes. Currently, the Fort Worth chapter is meeting at a Presbyterian church, who is very receptive to the mission and vision of Integrity.

There is no doubt that on some scale, Integrity took a stake in the 2009 Diocesan Convention. We are on the path to opening doors and building bridges of inclusion throughout the Diocese of Fort Worth. We are looking forward to help educate clergy and laity on Integrity’s vision and mission so that all LGBT Episcopalians (both current and future) may truly be welcomed as brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Fort Worth.

Thomas Squiers
Co-Convener - Integrity Fort Worth

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