Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chicago Consultation Responds to Archbishop of Canterbury's Reflections


contact:  Rebecca Wilson, 330-524-2067,


CHICAGO, IL., July 28, 2009--The Chicago Consultation released this statement from its co-convener, Ruth Meyers, in response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s reflections on the Episcopal Church’s General Convention. Meyers is the Hodges Haynes Professor of Liturgics at Church Divinity School of the Pacific:

During General Convention, the Episcopal Church was pleased to welcome many international visitors, including the Archbishop of Canterbury. We are glad that he felt generously welcomed and are grateful that he experienced first-hand the Episcopal Church’s deep and abiding commitment to the worldwide Anglican Communion.

In his statement, the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke to the entire Communion, including provinces in parts of the world where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people face serious criminal penalties and even death. We hope and pray that the Archbishop’s strong condemnation of prejudice against GLBT people, and his call to penitence for our inconsistencies on these issues, will embolden Anglicans across the world to stand against hatred and discrimination when they encounter it in their midst.

We also urge all Anglicans, including the Archbishop, to regard the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the body of Christ as nothing less than a Gospel mandate and a requirement of our baptismal vows. To understand this issue as simply one of civil liberties or human rights—to which the Gospel also calls us—does grave injustice to our sisters and brothers in Christ and our fundamental understanding of baptismal theology.

The Archbishop raises important questions about how the Anglican Communion can best structure itself and continue to develop Anglican doctrine. The Episcopal Church has a long, albeit imperfect, history of developing theology and doctrine to support fully including women, people of color, and GLBT people in the life of the church. We can contribute this valuable experience to the Communion, and we look forward to working together with our fellow Anglicans around the globe as we continue discerning God’s call for our common life and mission.

The Chicago Consultation, a group of Episcopal and Anglican bishops, clergy and lay people, supports the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians in the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion. We believe that our baptismal covenant requires this.

The Chicago Consultation believes that, like the church’s historic discrimination against people of color and women, excluding GLBT people from the sacramental life of the church is a sin. Through study, prayer and conversation, we seek to provide clergy and laypeople across The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion with biblical and theological perspectives that will rid the church of this sin.





Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Weekly Witness For 28 July 2009

Election Results

During May the membership voted for a new Board of Directors and for Provincial Coordinators. Now that General Convention is over, we are pleased to announce the election results.

Those candidates elected to the national Board of Directors are…
  • David Norgard, President
  • Louise Brooks, Secretary/Director Of Communications
  • David Cupps, Treasurer
  • Neil D. Houghton, Vice-President For Local Affairs
  • Albert Ogle, Vice-President For National Affairs
Those candidates elected as Provincial Coordinators are…
  • Sara Hamlen, Province 1 Coordinator
  • Chap James Day, Province 2 Coordinator
  • Mimi Walters, Province 3 Coordinator
  • Keith Bliven, Province 4 Coordinator
  • Deniray Mueller, Province 5 Coordinator
  • Gretchen R. Naugle, Province 6 Coordinator
  • Susan McCann, Province 7 Coordinator
  • Matt Haines, Province 8 Coordinator
In a separate ballot sent to voting members of the Stakeholders Council, Joshua Blackwood was elected as Stakeholders Council Chairperson and Gretchen Renfro was elected Vice-Chairperson. Josh will represent the Stakeholders Council on the Board of Directors.

Congratulations to these new officers! More information about each candidate can be found at

Thanks to those candidates who were not elected for their willingness to serve. We greatly appreciate Integrity/El Camino Real for acting as the teller for the election.

As part of the ballot, the membership also ratified a previous vote to amend the national bylaws. The bylaws can be viewed at

Have You Registered For After Anaheim?

So far 30 people have signed up for After Anaheim--a leadership conference for national, provincial, and local leaders of Integrity--that will be held September 9-12, 2009, in St. Louis. Although the conference is primarily intended for leaders, all Integrity members who want to be more effective inclusion activists are welcome to attend.

The core of the conference will be the "Faith-Based Community Organizing" workshop facilitated by staff from the Institute for Welcoming Resources. In addition, Integrity's new Stakeholders' Council will hold its first-ever annual meeting.

After Anaheim is a crucial first step in planning the next 3 years of Integrity's ministry. We hope that as many of you as possible will be able to attend.

Please visit for more information about the conference and to register. Seating is limited, so sign-up now! Register by August 7th to take advantage of a special rate for hotel rooms.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Integrity Responds to Archbishop of Canterbury's post-GC2009 Statement


The Archbishop of Canterbury issued a statement this morning entitled "Communion, Covenant and our Anglican Future" and subtitled: Reflections on the Episcopal Church's 2009 General Convention from the Archbishop of Canterbury for the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Anglican Communion. In it, +Rowan Williams does what he believes he is called to do as an "Instrument of Unity" for the whole communion: He trys to keep as many as possible at the table doing the work of the gospel. Integrity does not envy him that task.

Integrity regrets the Archbishop's categorization of TEC's commitment to full inclusion of the LGBT baptized as a "rights" issue rather than a "theological" issue -- believing that it falls sadly short of recognizing all the theological reflection that has both moved and motivated this church over the years.

"We are frankly tired of being told we 'haven't done the theology,'" said Integrity President Susan Russell, "when the truth is that there are those in our wider Anglican family who do not agree with the theology we have done. But what we can do is keep doing it. We can keep reaching out. We can keep working together with our communion partners on mission and ministry all over this Worldwide Anglican Family of ours with those who will work with us. And we can stay in conversation with those who won't.

Because we recognize that those who have been waiting for the casting-out-of-TEC-into-outer-darkness are not getting what they want. And as we continue to move forward in mission and ministry with those who embrace historic Anglican comprehensiveness, we believe those "outer darkness" threats are going to ring more and more hollow until they fade away altogether.

And meanwhile, we can live into the liberated-for-mission message our General Convention sent home from Anaheim and bless those who come to us asking for the church's blessing on their already-blessed-by-God relationships and raising up into ALL orders of ministry those who God calls into vocations of deacon, priest and bishop.

Because, as the closing word's of +Rowan Williams' statement assure us:

If the present structures that have safeguarded our unity turn out to need serious rethinking in the near future, this is not the end of the Anglican way and it may bring its own opportunities. Of course it is problematic; and no-one would say that new kinds of structural differentiation are desirable in their own right.

But the different needs and priorities identified by different parts of our family, and in the long run the different emphases in what we want to say theologically about the Church itself, are bound to have consequences. We must hope that, in spite of the difficulties, this may yet be the beginning of a new era of mission and spiritual growth for all who value the Anglican name and heritage.

As American Anglicans, we've "rethought structures" before (see also: "1789" and the birth American Episcopal Church) and lived to tell about it! And -- at the end of the day -- that may in fact be the good news and great hope we have to offer our worldwide Anglican Communion family as we move forward together into God's future."


Louise Brooks, Director of Communications,, (626) 993-4605

Thursday, July 23, 2009


July 22, 2009

Clergy will not sign state-issued marriage licenses

Lauren Azeltine,

In protest against California's Proposition 8, which amended the state
constitution to state "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or
recognized in California," the Vestry of St. Michael and All Angels
Episcopal Church, Studio City, unanimously voted to approve a resolution in
support of the rights of all people, straight or gay, to legally marry in
the State of California. The clergy of St. Michael's parish will continue
to bless heterosexual, gay, and lesbian marriages, but will not sign
state-issued marriage licenses until all people have the right to marry in
the state of California.

This action was influenced strongly by a visit to St. Michael and All Angles
this spring from V. Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire. During a
discussion at St. Mike's, Bishop Robinson supported churches getting out of
the civil marriage business and instead performing blessings for all
marriages, same or opposite sex. A similar action was taken by the Vestry of
All Saints Church, Pasadena, California.

The Reverend Canon Dr. Henry Atkins, Priest-in-Charge at St. Michael's, said
"This community strongly believes that both gay and straight couples should
be equally blessed in the sacrament of marriage, and we happily commit
ourselves to doing so. But we will not participate in state-sanctioned
discrimination." He noted that other countries, such as France, also
separate the legal from the religious marriage ceremonies.

"The church is no place for such discrimination," said John Pryor, Junior
Warden of St. Michael's. "A welcoming community holds the door open for all
people," he stated, "we should not be in the business of shutting that

Copies of the resolution are available [below].

St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church is a welcoming community of
conscience engaged in faith by embracing diversity and encouraging growth
through prayer, scholarship, social action, and artistic endeavor. Located
at 3646 Coldwater Canyon Ave. in Studio City, it is an inclusive community
and welcomes all.


Adopted by the vestry, July 21, 2009

WHEREAS, on November 4, 2008, a majority of the California electorate voted
to approve Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to state
"[o]nly marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in

WHEREAS, on May 26, 2009, the California Supreme Court voted to uphold the
constitutionality of Proposition 8, a decision which not only deprives
same-sex couples of the fundamental right to marry, but, in the words of
dissenting Justice Carlos Moreno, "places at risk the state constitutional
rights of all disfavored minorities";

WHEREAS, the institution of civil marriage in the State of California is, as
a result of Proposition 8 and the Court's decision, a
constitutionally-mandated instrument of discrimination, which furthers
injustice and denies same-sex couples the fundamental dignities to which
each human being is entitled;

WHEREAS, our active participation in the discriminatory system of civil
marriage is inconsistent with Jesus' call to strive for justice and peace
among all people and respect the dignity of every human being; and

WHEREAS, Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church is called to make the
sacrament of marriage equally available to all couples, regardless of their
sexual orientation;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Rector, Wardens and Vestry do declare
that the sacramental right of marriage is available to all couples, but that
the clergy of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church will not sign
civil marriage certificates for any marriage so long as the right to marry
is denied to same-sex couples.

+Barbara's Integrity Eucharist Sermon

"Hot off the presses" -- here's a link to a transcription of Bishop Barbara Harris' fabulous sermon at the July 10th Integrity Eucharist.

A DVD of the whole service is "in the works" ... stay tuned on that ... but in the meantime thanks to Joseph Lane for making this transcription happen!

If you build it, they will come

Letter to the Editor in the Salt Lake City Tribune worth marking as we call TEC to shift its focus from who might leave if we truly welcome all to who will COME in response to the Gospel of God's inclusive love.

No home on plaza
Public Forum Letter -- 07/20/2009

I was late for church on Sunday because I first I went to the Main Street Plaza to join a "kiss-in" in support of the gay couple who were told to leave the LDS property because of a kiss on the cheek ("Protesters smooch near LDS Temple," Tribune , July 13).

As I walked into St. Paul's Episcopal Church, where I'm a parishioner, they were singing "Amazing Grace": "'tis grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home." It brought tears to my eyes. You see, I'm gay and served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Later in the service, we sang "Praise the mount! Oh, fix me on it, mount of God's unchanging love ... and I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home."

I could hardly get the words out. It was as if those hymns had been chosen specifically for me on that particular day. After essentially being told that I was not welcome on Temple Square, I thank God for the Episcopal Church and loving straight people, religious or not, who help marginalized gays find "home."
Jeff Laver
Salt Lake City

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill ...

Check out this "hot off the presses" video featuring clergy voices on Capitol Hill! (How proud am I to be part of so great a could of witnesses!) -- Susan Russell

Changing the Conversation on LGBT People and Faith

Monday, July 20, 2009

Team Integrity: Ubuntu Exemplified!

As the dust continues to settle from General Convention 2009, it's time to start thanking all those who made our extraordinary work and witness possible. Or at least beginning to find words that are going to fall WAY short of adequately expressing gratitude appropriate for the sacrificial giving of time, talent and SLEEP toward the goal of (stop me if you've heard this one before!) "the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments."
If I start trying to call out everybody by name we’ll be here until it’s time to pack for Indianapolis, but let me “call out by title” the following – at least for a start:

Our fabulous staff – Executive Director, Project Manager and Field Organizer – who worked so long and hard on details ahead of Anaheim that it seemed there would be nothing left to worry about when we got there … and then miraculously managed to come up around all the things that it turned out were there to worry about when we got there!

The “always there for us” Nerve Center team – ready with whatever we needed as soon as we needed it … whether it was copies of resolutions or links to news reports or updates on the whereabouts of MIA team members. We couldn’t possibly have done what we did “out front” without your diligence in “Integrity Central.”

Our amazingly diverse and welcoming Booth Team … ready to greet visitors with a smile and a brochure; to pin on a button and to offer a shoulder; with an ear to listen and a heart to empathize. Your “front line” connections have sown seeds that will bear much fruit in the weeks and months ahead. You were for MANY “the face of Integrity” and you did us all VERY proud!

Then there was our crack Legislative Team … managing the details of committee meetings, open hearings, legislative tracking and the concur/amend/adopt/refer processes like veteran political wonks. In collaboration with our amazingly affable floor manager and working in miraculous collegiality with justice allies throughout the church, your work will have impact on how TEC puts its faith into action for years to come.

And then there’s our cutting edge Communication Team. Under the direction of our Media Maven Communication Director, we were on message, on deadline and on more communication mediums than you can shake a stick at. Whether Tweeting, YouTubing, IntegriTVing, Facebooking, Blogging, Press Releasing or just plain schmoozing, Integrity’s message has never been more persuasive OR pervasive.

And then there were our Chaplains. Some were there for the duration and some were doing "per diem" duty -- but all were there with a powerful, prayerful supportive witness that helped us navigate the sometimes choppy waters of ANY General Convention.

Finally, a special "shout out" to ALL who helped make this year's Integrity Eucharist such a memorable celebration of the ministry of ALL the baptized! From the liturgy planning team to the musicians, acolytes, ushers, eucharistic ministers and video production team it was an extraordinary "all hands on deck" event that truly WAS "Ubuntu Exemplified." (As described in the General Convention Daily!)

And what a privilege to be under the same roof with +Gene Robinson, +Barbara Harris AND +Edmond Browning. Grace upon grace only begins to describe it! We may have miles to go before this church we love becomes ALL that it is called to be, but I believe we have turned an important corner at this GC2009 -- and so with grateful hearts let's give thanks to all who gave so sacrificially to move us forward toward the goal of (one more time!) " the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments!"

As Seen Elsewhere: The Monday post-General Convention News Wrap-Up

A Lot of headlines to check out post General Convention.
Here are a few for you to check out, and as always, please let us know of your favorite articles, blogs and news to use in the comments.

C056 Wins
Jim Naughton, Episcopal Cafe (be sure to click into the liveblog for the play by play)

Resolution C056; its our job now
By Rebecca Wilson, Episcopal Cafe

Episcopal Church Drops Ban on LGBT Bishops, featuring interview with Integrity USA President, Susan Russell

Episcopal Convention Report
Religion & Ethics Weekly (PBS) July 17, 2009

Face to faith: The suffering on all sides of the homosexuality debate must be borne by the entire church
Jim Naughton, The Gaurdian

What’s going on in America?
Kelvin Holdsworth, St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow, Scotland

What young adults need
By Otis Gaddis III, Episcopal Cafe

Episcopalians in U.S. taking pro-gay stance
By Julia Duin, The Washington Times

Episcopal leaders affirm new policy on same-sex blessings
By Duke Helfand, Los Angeles Times

Episcopal Church moves toward blessing gay unions
Writing and reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Steve Gorman and Peter Cooney, Rueters

Episcopal Bishops Can Bless Gay Unions:Approved Compromise Measure Stops Short of Creating Liturgical Rites
By William Wan, Washington Post

Episcopal Bishop says ordination still uncertain for gay bishops
By Richard C. Dujardin, The Providence Journal
(great quotes in this article from Integrity ally, The Rev. Scott Gunn)

Utah Episcopalians back push for gay clergy
By Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake TribuneEpiscopalians: Bishops can bless same-sex unions

Pueblo pastor: Episcopal vote on gays no surprise

Episcopalians Ask Who Should Lead: Church or Culture?
By DANIEL BURKE, 2009 Religion News Service

Chicago group helped pave way for Episcopal Church's landmark decisions: Episcopal Church lifts moratorium on gay bishops, will consider same-sex liturgies

A Constant Parish, Now Called to Leave?: Episcopal Church Struggles With New Acceptance of Gays
By William Wan, Washington Post

Bishops post reactions to Anaheim

Please share your news items in the comments on the blog.
Happy post-convention Monday everyone!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Integrity Celebrates Virtual Clean Sweep on GC2009 Legislative Agenda

By Susan Russell, President of IntegrityUSA

I’m going to write more about “General Convention in General,” but here’s a legislative wrap up (coming later in the day than I’d meant it to but I’ve decided to give up waiting for the official GC2009 resolution web pages to come back up online – will just add the links to the citations later.)

Heading to Anaheim, Integrity had two primary “agenda items:”
  • Move the Episcopal Church beyond B033 and reopen ordination processes to all the baptized;
  • Move the Episcopal Church forward on the blessing of same sex marriages and unions.
We saw those goals realized in the adoption of the following resolutions:
  • D025 – Supports inclusive ordination processes for ALL orders of ministry
  • C056 – Authorizes “generous pastoral support” for blessing marriages, unions & partnerships and collection of liturgical resources for consideration at GC2012
As noteworthy as the content of the resolutions is the context. These resolutions passed not by narrow margins after rancorous debate. They passed by overwhelming consensus after respectful dialogue that left no doubt that those who gathered in Anaheim are committed to an inclusive Anglicanism that keeps at the table all who desire so to do.

D025 -- Ordination

It can – and has – been said that D025 does not “repeal” B033 – and that is, of course, true. There will still be bishops with jurisdiction and standing committees who will choose to “exercise restraint” when consenting the election of a bishop whose “manner of life” would cause concern to the wider Anglican Communion. (And we all know that is code for “partnered gay or lesbian bishop.”) Nevertheless, the inclusive and expansive language of D025 states “this is where we are in 2009” – and frees bishops and standing committees to focus on the theological orientation rather than the sexual orientation of qualified candidates to the episcopate.

Furthermore, by stating unequivocally that “God has called and may call any individual in the church to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church, in accordance with the discernment process set forth in the Constitution and Canons of the church” – D025 actually states for the first time as an official resolution of the Episcopal Church that the extra-canonical requirement of celibacy of gay and lesbian candidates for ordination is not the mind of this church.

From the letter by the Presiding Bishop and President of the House of Deputies to the Archbishop of Canterbury:

Nothing in the Resolution goes beyond what has already been provided under our Constitution and Canons for many years. In reading the resolution, you will note its key
points, that:

  • Our Church is deeply and genuinely committed to our relationships in the Anglican Communion;
  • We recognize the contributions gay and lesbian Christians, members of our Church both lay and ordained, have made and continue to make to our common life and ministry;
  • Our Church can and does bear witness to the fact that many of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters live in faithful, monogamous, lifelong and life-giving committed relationships;
  • While ordination is not a “right” guaranteed to any individual, access to our Church’s discernment and ordination process is open to all baptized members according to our Constitution and Canons; and
  • Members of The Episcopal Church do, in fact, disagree faithfully and conscientiously about issues of human sexuality.

C056 -- Blessings

What the Episcopal Church adopted in Resolution C056 is a broad local option for the blessings of the marriages, unions and partnerships of same sex couples and a call to the church to work together toward common liturgical expressions of those blessings.

The Rev. Sam Candler (Atlanta), chair of the committee that presented the resolution, called it "an elegant blend of theological care, ecclesiastical breadth and pastoral generosity."

The Rev. Dan Martins (Northern Indiana) had this to say about C056: “If there was ambiguity surrounding D025--and I have contended that there is -- there is none here. This convention has abrogated every positive gesture it has made toward the Anglican Communion since 2003. Everything we did three years ago in response to the Windsor Report is down the drain.”

In other historic action, the General Convention adopted resolutions supporting the enactment of anti-discrimination and hate crimes legislation protecting transgender people at local, state and federal levels. Both houses also adopted resolutions adding "gender identity and expression" to its nondiscrimination policy for hiring lay employees and calling for the revision of church paper and electronic forms to allow a wider range of gender identifications. In review:

C056 – Authorizes “generous pastoral support” for blessing marriages, unions & partnerships and collection of liturgical resources for consideration at GC2012
C048 – Urges support of fully inclusive ENDA legislation pending in Washington
D012 -- Support for Transgender Civil Rights
D025 – Supports inclusive ordination processes for ALL orders of ministry
D032 -- Non-discrimination clause including gender identity and gender expression for lay employees
D076 -- Support for immigration equality for gay couples
D090 -- Church paper work to be made more accessible to flexibility in gender identity and pronoun preference

C023 – Urging support for repeal of DOMA (“Defense of Marriage Act”) passed in Deputies and was referred by Bishops to Executive Council – where we expect affirmative action will be taken to take the voice of the Episcopal Church to Washington on this important issue.

Finally, Integrity applauds the amazing work of ALL our allies in advancing resolutions on a broad range of critical gospel issues. Unlike our last two General Conventions, where the resolutions regarding human sexuality so consumed our legislative process that there was precious little left for anything else, this 76th General Convention worked long, hard and diligently to “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God” – acting on everything from lay equity in pension plans to ending torture; on labor issues and human rights violations; on universal health care and climate change; on human trafficking and ending the blockade in Cuba.

One of the most moving moments for me came on the last day of legislation when Frank Wade reminded us that our actions in the House of Deputies were -- in their own way --offerings being laid at the altar of our God who calls us to this work of justice, compassion and love. The reminder that “liturgical” and “political” are words that share a root – and that both the work of the people – was a holy container for this holy work we have been about for the last ten days in Anaheim.

There are miles to go before we rest – before the kingdom come on earth IS as it is in heaven. But BIG steps forward were taken by The Episcopal Church at this General Convention. And for that, we rejoice and are glad!

IntegriTV GC2009-Day 10: The Wrap Up Edition

In our wrap up episode we poll the multitudes about their favorite convention 'bling', learn about Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation's U2charist, hear from Ed Bacon about how being gay is a gift from God, get a quick review of Integrity's legislative work and give thanks for the hard work of our Integrity volunteers and allies.

Click to watch online, here.

Thank you--everyone--for watching IntegriTV. We are grateful for your prayers, support and witness that carried us on through General Convention 2009. Don't forget to find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and continue to check our blog. As ever, find all this information and more on our website

That's All Folks!

The final media briefing is over, I’ve taken off my press badge for the last time and we’re getting ready to celebrate.

So what’s been achieved in Anaheim this year?

The Episcopal Church has intentionally, thoughtfully and lovingly put its feet on the last section of path towards the full inclusion of LGBT people. This Convention has overwhelmingly affirmed that partnered gay people are called by God to all orders of ministry in this church and has allowed diocesan bishops to make local provision for blessing same-gender relationships. It has asked the Commission on Liturgy and Music to begin the process that will one day lead to rites for blessings. It has passed several resolutions which support transgender people and oppose discrimination.

The work now is at the diocesan level to continue to witness to God’s extravagant and inclusive love so that these possibilities may be fully realized in all the dioceses of the church. It’s not going to happen overnight and it will take longer in some places than others. “All the sacraments for all the baptized” means all and that includes those who do not agree with us. For the first time LGBT Episcopalians can stand with our heads held high knowing that the Episcopal Church really does welcome us, and it is incumbent upon us to extend that welcome to others who may now feel excluded as well as those who never imagined they might be welcomed.

Thank you, all of you, who contributed to the expenses of the team this year. We really couldn’t have done it without you.

Please pray for our press office and media room evangelist, Pamela Reamer Williams, who left early this morning. Pamela has been in a great deal of pain for the last week, apparently with a pinched nerve in her back but by the time she left there was other stuff going on too. She’s driving home to Wyoming. Please pray for safe travel and healing. Pamela has been a remarkable addition to the team this year.

Don’t forget to register for Beyond Anaheim in September – it’ll put our feet firmly on the next step.

That’s All Folks!
Caroline Hall for IntegrityUSA

Friday, July 17, 2009

Episcopal Church Goes on Record in Support of Transgender Civil Rights


Press Release:


Anaheim, CA (July 17, 2009):  For the first time in its history, the Episcopal Church has taken 

official actions in support of transgender civil rights and inclusion at its 76th General Convention.   


“It was a true privilege to participate in the legislative process of this Church, to bear witness to 

transgender lives and experiences, and to urge the Episcopal Church to fully include and to stand 

in solidarity with us,” commented the Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge, a member of TransEpiscopal 

and Integrity USA. “I am thrilled to be able to say that the General Convention voted 

overwhelmingly to put the Episcopal Church on record in support of such legislation as the 

Matthew Shepherd Hate Crimes Act and the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, and analogous 

efforts at municipal and state levels.  But I am even more moved to say how many people 

spontaneously shared with us how their eyes have been opened, their hearts turned, by our 

presence and stories here.  To have someone stop me in a coffee line to say, ‘I had never thought 

about this issue before, and I’m going to take what I have learned here and share it with my little 

congregation in the Ozarks’ means more than I can say.” 


Today the Convention completed approval of resolutions supporting the enactment of anti- 

discrimination and hate crimes legislation protecting transgender people at local, state and 

federal levels. The House of Deputies passed these resolutions overwhelmingly on Wednesday, 

and the House of Bishops then approved these resolutions today in near-unanimous votes.  


These actions took place as the United States Congress debates both the Matthew Shepherd Hate 

Crimes Act and the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which respectively address hate crimes 

and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation as well as gender identity and expression. 


Testifying in hearings at various levels of the Convention were representatives of the 

organizations TransEpiscopal and Integrity USA, including the Episcopal Church’s first openly 

transgender Deputy, Dee Tavolaro of Rhode Island


In addition to today’s actions, earlier this week the Convention approved two other resolutions.  

The first adds “gender identity and expression” to its nondiscrimination policy for hiring lay 

employees, while the second calls for the revision of church paper and electronic forms to allow 

a wider range of gender identifications.  


“As we celebrate this moment and give thanks for the amazing allies walking with us, 

particularly Integrity USA and the Consultation, we look forward to progressing further toward 

full inclusion of transgender people —and, indeed, all people -- in all areas of ministry in The 

Episcopal Church.” 



Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge at  

Rev. Michelle Hansen at  

or see TransEpiscopal's website at




Chicago Consultation Statement on the76th General Convention

contact: Rebecca S. Wilson, 330-524-2067,

Anaheim, Ca., July 17, 2009--The Chicago Consultation released this
statement from its co-convener, Ruth Meyers, at the close of the 76th
General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Anaheim, California. Meyers is
a deputy from the Diocese of Chicago and is the Hodges Haynes Professor of
Liturgics at Church Divinity School of the Pacific:

During the past ten days, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church has
worshiped, prayed, and worked to discern God's will for our common life. Our
time together has been filled with generosity, honesty, and the blessings of
the Holy Spirit.

The Chicago Consultation is particularly grateful to the four Anglican
primates who attended the meeting as our guests: The Most Rev. Philip
Aspinall, Primate of Australia; the Most. Rev. Solomon Jongmo Yoon, Primate
of Korea; the Most Rev. Idris Jones, Primus of Scotland (retired); and the
Most Rev. Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu, Primate of Japan. We are also thankful
for the Convention's many international visitors, guests of House of
Deputies President Bonnie Anderson, who participated in Chicago Consultation

At this General Convention, we have both advanced mission relationships in
the Anglican Communion and opened the way for gay, lesbian, bisexual and
transgender people in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion to
realize fully the promises of their baptism. We celebrate the progress we
have made toward full inclusion of all baptized people in God's church and
pray that the Spirit will continue to bless the Episcopal Church's mission
and relationships across the Anglican Communion.

Now the work begins. Thanks to two key General Convention resolutions, D025
and C056, the Episcopal Church has a fresh opportunity to strengthen
Anglican Communion relationships, deepen our understanding of the
discernment process by which God calls us all to ministry, and explore
together how we can enrich our common life by blessing same-gender unions.

We pray that all Episcopalians, no matter their opinions on specific
legislation or issues, will go forward from Anaheim in the spirit of our
time together and use the opportunities presented by this General Convention
to unite our church in a renewed commitment to Gospel mission.

The Chicago Consultation, a group of Episcopal and Anglican bishops, clergy
and lay people, supports the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and
transgender Christians in the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican
Communion. We believe that our baptismal covenant requires this.

The Chicago Consultation believes that, like the church's historic
discrimination against people of color and women, excluding GLBT people from
the sacramental life of the church is a sin. Through study, prayer and
conversation, we seek to provide clergy and laypeople across The Episcopal
Church and the Anglican Communion with biblical and theological perspectives
that will rid the church of this sin.


Integrity USA Achieves Its Goals At General Convention 2009


ANAHEIM, CA (July 17, 2009)--The Episcopal Church turned an important corner at this General Convention and Integrity applauds the hard, faithful work of the bishops and deputies who brought us closer to the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments. We came to this convention committed to moving the church beyond B033 and forward on equality for the blessing of same-sex unions--and we are beyond gratified that we have realized both of those goals.

Thirty three years after promising a "full and equal claim" to the gay and lesbian baptized, the Episcopal Church has affirmed equal access to ordination processes for all orders of ministry for all the baptized, has approved a broad local option for the blessings of our relationships, and has called the church to work together toward common liturgical expressions of those blessings.

It is a great day for the church and a greater day for the witness to God’s inclusive love.

"While Integrity’s advocacy work is not yet done," said Integrity President Susan Russell, "the actions here in Anaheim liberate us to get on with our evangelism work--proclaiming the good news of an Episcopal Church that welcomes not only LGBT people looking for a spiritual home but ALL those seeking a faith community that shares their core values of justice, compassion, inclusion, and love."

"We celebrate this historic movement forward and we commit ourselves to this church we love and serve to continue to witness to the good news of Christ Jesus present in our lives, our vocations, and our relationships. We call others to 'come and see' what we have found and seen and experienced in the Episcopal Church."

"Integrity applauds the hard work of all our allies in this struggle and lifts up particularly the witness of our TransEpiscopal colleagues whose courageous work at this convention has been truly extraordinary. We look forward to working with all our allies as we move forward together into God’s future, giving thanks for the good work here in Anaheim that has brought us closer to that church with 'no outcasts' to which former Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning called us.


Louise Brooks, Director of Communications,, (626) 993-4605

Another Step forward as House of Deputies confirms by Two-Thirds Majority “Generous Pastoral Response”

The House of Deputies, voting by orders, today supported Resolution C056 ( which was crafted by a group of Bishops and was passed in the House of Bishops by a 75% majority. In the House of Deputies it passed by a two-thirds majority in both orders.

This resolution allows for a ‘generous pastoral response’ to the needs of same gender couples. What that actually means will vary from diocese to diocese, depending on how the Bishop discerns the needs of the people and the movement of the Spirit. In some places it’ll mean church weddings, in others something very private and discreet, and in some places there will be nothing at all.

One of the reasons that Integrity has changed its organizational structure is because much of the work in the next triennium is going to be in dioceses and provinces, helping Bishops to understand our pastoral needs and the appropriate responses.

At the national level, the Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music is going to be busy as it collects and develops liturgical and theological resources. Integrity will be making sure that they get all the help we can give them.

We give thanks to God for this step forward in the long journey towards full inclusion.

Presidents send Letter to Rowan

The Presiding Bishop and the President of the House of Deputies have sent a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury saying that D025 doesn’t repeal B033. They describe it as a descriptive resolution rather than a prescriptive one and say that “it remains to be seen how Resolution B033 will be understood and interpreted in light of Resolution D025.”

What D025 really means is going to come down to how the dioceses act. Search committees can now include LGBT candidates as they look for a new bishop without worrying that it’s a waste of time and money. Once an openly LGBT candidate is elected we’ll wait and see what happens. Given the support in both houses for this resolution it’s difficult to believe that a candidate who is duly elected and who is clearly called by God will be turned down.

It is going to continue to be important to work in our dioceses to make D025 a reality.

The full story at Episcopal Life Online, as well as the text for the letter, can be found here.

A Heartfelt Welcome

Please join us in welcoming all of the newly elected to the Executive Council.
With warmest regards and thanksgiving,

All of us at IntegrityUSA

From the Office of the General Convention Secretariat:
The House of Bishops consenting, the following are elected to terms on the Executive Council:


Ms. Sarah Dylan Breuer

Ms. Stephanie T. Cheney

Mr. Scott Evenbeck

Mr. Stephen F. Hutchinson

Mr. Francisco Quinones-Gonzales

Ms. Katie Sherrod


The Rev. Silvestre Enrique Romero

The Rev. Deacon Terry Starr

Indaba and C056

Last year’s Lambeth Conference was unique in that it did not produce formal statements and resolutions. Instead it was intentionally developed as a way for bishops to communicate together and listen to one another in small groups.

The way the bishops dealt with C056 shows the fruit of their work with each other and with colleagues from other provinces in the Anglican Communion. When B012 which allowed for ‘generous pastoral responses’ in dioceses where marriage is legal for same gender couples came to the House of Bishops it was deferred for ‘private conversation’. It did not re-appear until Thursday by which time it had been superseded by C056 and was therefore tabled.
C056 was an ‘omnibus’ resolution which contained bits of many different resolutions that the Prayer Book Music and Liturgy committee had received. By the time the committee brought it to the House of Bishops it had already been the subject of considerable prayer and hard work and attempted to address many of the concerns which had previously been expressed among the bishops.

In the first debate several amendments were proposed. These included trying to limit a ‘generous pastoral response’ to the dioceses where civil marriage is available to lesbian and gay couples. This was opposed by Bishops Mathes and Robinson on the basis that pastoral response should not be geographically limited. Bishop Sutton of Maryland said that he and suffragan Bishop Rabb do not agree on these matters but they can still minister together – he hoped they might model that possibility for the Church. His view is that ‘generosity for the few is not generosity’.

Bishop Frade of SE Florida said that he himself had been a political refugee, and many people (including LGBT) come to SE Florida for refuge. This resolution would solve issues that he has in providing pastoral responses for people who are faithful but for whom nothing is provided. Bishop Alexander of Atlanta was excited about the possibility of collecting the liturgical and theological work that had been done and taking it further in consultation with each other.
The sticking points came in whether a liturgy should be developed for the 2012 Convention – that might make it likely to be adopted before people were really ready to take that step – and how to define the kind of relationship that might be blessed.

Bishop Daniel of East Carolina said it was important to hear every voice in the house and not just an ‘ominous silence’ from those who might not agree. In response to his invitation, Bishop Beckwith of Springfield said that in his view this was another instance of allowing the church to be changed by secular culture instead of vice versa. He believed that this resolution took the Episcopal Church further from the recommendations of the Windsor Report.

Bishop Sauls of Lexington stood to offer what he said was the most important thing he would say this Convention. In the past the Church had decided to allow divorced persons to be married even though it was thought to be the moral equivalent of adultery. It did so even though it went against the sexual ethics of the time, and even though it went to the core of the theology of marriage (more so, he said, than same sex couples who live in a ‘moral equivalent’ relationship). The Church had made this decision out of a sense of grace, compassion and pastoral mercy, LGBT people are asking for nothing more, he claimed than ‘members of this House’ have granted themselves.

After that a lengthy amendment was proposed and the debate was deferred until copies could be made available. Then the Bishops again deferred the debate and in the next twenty four hours held two informal meetings for those who wanted to discuss the issues further. Given the pressures of the Convention schedule, these discussions had to be held late at night and early in the morning.

About 26 bishops attended and the result was a new version of the resolution which was crafted by five bishops. Bishop Gene Robinson characterized these discussions as ‘the holiest and most moving moments of the Convention’ and he described a ‘deep desire to hear and shoulder one anothers burdens.’ ‘If this is what indaba was like at Lambeth, he said, ‘I am even more sad I was not there.’

There was a move by a couple of bishops to take this out of the realm of legislation and instead issue a Pastoral Letter. Their intention seemed to be to provide a more fluid response than is possible within the confines of resolutions. Their colleagues disagreed and almost immediately the question was called and the resolution passed 104 for, 30 against and 2 abstaining.
There is a statement by the more conservative bishops which was published today. Here it is:

The Anaheim Statement, General Convention, 2009

At this convention, the House of Bishops has heard repeated calls for honesty and clarity. As the conversation has proceeded within the HOB, repeated attempts to modify wording which would have been preferable to the minority in the vote were respectfully heard and discussed, but in the end most of these amendments were found unacceptable to the majority in the House. Many in the majority believed the amendments would make the stated position of this House less honest about where they believe we are as The Episcopal Church.

It is apparent that a substantial majority of this Convention believes that The Episcopal Church should move forward on matters of human sexuality. We recognize this reality and understand the clarity with which the majority has expressed itself. We are grateful fo
r those who have reached out to the minority, affirming our place in the Church.

We seek to provide the same honesty and clarity. We invite all bishops who share the following commitments to join us in this statement as we seek to find a place in the Church we continue to serve.

* We reaffirm our constituent membership in the Anglican Communion, our communion with the See of Canterbury and our commitment to preserving these relationships.

* We reaffirm our commitment to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this church has received them (BCP 526, 538)

* We reaffirm our commitment to the three moratoria requested of us by the instruments of Communion.

* We reaffirm our commitment to the Anglican Communion Covenant process currently underway, with the hope of working toward its implementation across the Communion once a Covenant is completed.

* We reaffirm our commitment to "continue in the apostles' teaching and fellowship" which is foundational to our baptismal covenant, and to be one with the apostles in "interpreting the Gospel" which is essential to our work as bishops of the Church of God.

According to Bishop Mathes, this statement was contributed to the Bishops’ conversation in a loving and appreciative way, not in a spirit of divisiveness.

Asked how this would play out in dioceses, Bishop Konieczny of Oklahoma said that it was a commitment to recognize each bishop in the particular situation within which they find themselves. Bishop Mathes said that he had been lobbied to support C056 in advance of the House of Bishops debate, but he had needed time to discern with his colleagues in the House and in the same way he needed to discern what this would mean in his own diocese. He said that the diocese of San Diego has conducted a study on Holiness in Relationships ( and that this would be used in their discernment of how to apply C056.

**Update: C056 now has now been voted on by the House of Deputies and we are waiting results of that vote later today. Stay Tuned!

Caroline Hall for IntegrityUSA

What's left?

As we go into the last day of Convention, what's left on the calendar?

Yesterday both Houses struggled with the budget which has been reduced by $23m over the triennium. This has meant that many Church Center employees have suddenly lost their jobs. Our hearts go out to them and their families.

They also completed the legislation which needed to go to the other House. Today will be a busy day.

In terms of our agenda, the biggy is C056 - blessing same gender relationships - which is due to be in the House of Deputies at 9:30 with 30 mins for debate. Two transgender resolutions passed the second House yesterday.

The House of Deputies has one more transgender resolution to consider, the House of Bishops has two transgender and C023 which opposes the Defense of Marriage Act.

Legislative sessions are complete by six and we'll bring you a wrap up before we celebrate, pack and head home to work out the implications of the actions of this Convention in our own dioceses.

Caroline Hall for IntegrityUSA

IntegriTV GC2009-Day 9: Marriage Equality, Brian McLaren, and Looking back with Dottie and Gil

In this episode we take a look at what folks on the street think the term "marriage equality" means, hear from our bishops, priests and laity just after the bishops pass a resolution that supports the development of rites for the blessing of same sex relationships, take a look at the special insights of emergent church guru Brian McLaren, and hear from long time Integrity members Dottie Fuller and Gil Grady about their first General Convention experience in Anaheim in 1985.

Thanks for watching, and don't forget to join us again tomorrow for a very special IntegriTV.
Watch online here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

As the convention heats up, so does the news!

Here at the Walking With Integrity blog, we are scouring the headlines for you and bring you bits of news as we find them each day during convention.

Episcopal bishops OK prayer for gay couples
By MICHELLE RINDELS, Associated Press

Move to Allow Ordination Of Gay Bishops Stirs Debate
By William Wan, Washington Post

Let the Episcopal Church say Amen

Irene Monroe, Huffington Post

Episcopal Bishops Give Ground on Gay Marriage


Episcopal bishops back blessings of same-sex unions

By Duke Helfand, LA Times

Episcopal gay bishops decision confounds activists

By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Bishops call for 'resources' for same-gender blessing

The Anglican church's crumbling foundations
The Episcopal church's decision on gay clergy may well signal the end of the Anglican communion as we know it.
Stephen Bates,

Episcopal Church approves of gay bishops, interview with IntegrityUSA President, Susan Russell
(Audio) Southern California Public Radio

Larry Mantle's "Air Talk" interview with Susan Russell of KPCC radio

From today's "Issues" July 16: An End to Appeasement
Caro Hall, IntegrityUSA (!!)

Eyes on the Floor: Less is More
By Richard Helmer, Episcopal Cafe

Evil into Good
By Rebecca Wilson, Episcopal Cafe

Hallway conversation on C056
By Jim Naughton, Episcopal Cafe

Please feel free to share your favorite stories, blogs and articles (of interest to General Convention) in the comments!

Misrecognition: when ‘all’ can end up meaning ‘some’

When all members of a community or organization have equal access to power, to benefits and to opportunity there is a quality of mutual recognition. ‘Misrecognition’ occurs when the structures operate in such a way that some members have less access than others. This is usually unintentional and often difficult to see because it is part of the normal life of the organization. Even though it is unnoticed by those with power, it is a significant reality for those unfortunate enough to be affected.

When a community becomes aware that some subgroup is misrecognised it is necessary for a while to lift them up and give them specific recognition because ‘business as usual’ is for everyone to misrecognise them. Any minority is in danger of misrecognition. That’s why affirmative action is necessary: to protect minorities at danger of being unconsciously discriminated against.

If we are to show hospitality to those who are traditionally misrecognized and marginalized in a predominately white heterosexual middle-class church we have to take affirmative action. It is not enough to invite ‘all the baptized’, we have to go down the table, take the misrecognized by hand and bring them into the fellowship in the place of honor.

An example of that principle in action was seen in the House of Bishops on Tuesday. Bishop Daniels specifically invited conservative bishops – who are a minority in that house -- to speak about blessing same gender relationships because, he said, their perspective was important to inform his thinking.

Integrity believes that the attempt to eliminate all the categories of people in Resolution CO61, the House of Bishops has taken the guts out of the canon that was meant to avoid discrimination in the discernment process. Although well intentioned, substituting ‘All the baptized’ provides no hope and no protection for those who have been and continue to be marginalized -- those for whom stepping forward is perilous. The Bishops attempt to deal with their own confusion has sadly not only done a disservice to the transgender community but to all those who have had to struggle from the margins to be recognized.

Integrity remains committed to the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments AND recognizes that -- at this point in the life of this church -- it is still necessary to name in their particularity those who in many places continue to stand at the margins.

Caroline Hall for IntegrityUSA

IntegriTV GC2009-Day 8: Young People, Social Networking, and "Cutting Edge" technology.

Today we hear from two of the younger members of the House of Deputies, Carolyn Chu and Sam Gould, as well as some young adult convention-goers. R u tweeting or texting while u r here? You're not alone! Social networking and new forms of communication abound @gc. But we save the best for last: a flashback to when fax machines were cutting edge.

Watch online here and see you tomorrow for another edition of IntegriTV!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bishops Vote for Generous Pastoral Response on Blessing Same-Sex Unions

There was no room at the inn this afternoon for press in the House of Bishops. The reporter from the LA Times was the last one in and had to run around pleading for a chair until an extra one was brought up. Only the question of blessing same gender relationships could bring such excitement after the passage of D025.

Bishop Ely opened the session by explaining that 26 bishops met together early and late for an extended indaba-style conversation in two two-hour sessions. As a result of that conversation five bishops wrote a substitute resolution. Bishop Jones presented the resolution and the bishops then took another twenty minutes for conversation.

The substitute resolution was wordsmithed for a while. The biggest change was taking out the idea of having liturgies developed in the next three years to be considered at the next General Convention.

So what are we left with –
1) local option – in other words each bishop can decide what is appropriate especially given the different legal situations. This has been the situation informally and unofficially but now it’s out in the open.
2) The collection and development of theological and liturgical resources.
This seems to reflect a sentiment mentioned several times by bishops over the past week, that we need to develop our theological ideas BEFORE we develop liturgies, not the other way round. It also provides some breathing space for the more conservative.

We’ll see what the Deputies do. Our rendering of the final text is here;

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, that the 76th General Convention acknowledge the changing circumstances in the United States and in other nations, as legislation authorizing or forbidding marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian persons is passed in various civil jurisdictions that call forth a renewed pastoral response from this Church and for an open process for the consideration of theological and liturgical resources for the blessing of same gender relationships; and be it further

Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consultation with the House of Bishops, collect and develop liturgical and theological resources and report to the 77th General Convention; and be it further

Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in consultation with the House of Bishops, devise an open process for the conduct of its work inviting participation from provinces, dioceses, congregations, and individuals who are engaged in such theological work, and inviting theological reflection from throughout the Anglican Communion; and be it further

Resolved that bishops, particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same gender marriage civil unions or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this church, and be it further

Resolved that this convention honor the theological diversity of this Church in regard to matters of human sexuality and be it further

Resolved that the members of this church be encouraged to engage in this effort.

The official one will be here

Vote Passes the House of Bishops. The vote was taken by roll call.
104 yes
30 no
2 abstain

As Seen Elsewhere

We here at IntegrityUSA are scouring the headlines for for headlines that are grabbing our attention so we can pass them along to you. Today we want to tip our hats first and foremost to Episcopal Cafe, who consistently is reporting wonderful articles and up to the minute news. So first up and whole batch from them, and then on to other articles of note.

Amended D025 passes Deputies; Bishops to return to to C056 tomorrow afternoon

Bp of Durham: HoB is "formalising schism initiated 6 years ago"

Bishops debate C056 on same-sex unions--then postpone
Jim Naughton, Episcopal Cafe

Eyes on the floor: An epochal boundary

Richard Helmer, Episcopal Cafe

There are many, many more--check them out if you are not already reading them.
On to other items to note:

Episcopal leaders vote to lift ban on gay bishops
LA TIMES, By Duke Helfand
July 15, 2009
The church may move to sanction blessings for same-sex couples as well, further alienating conservative parishes.

Clash over gay bishops, blessings ripples across the Atlantic

Jul 15, 2009, USA Today
Cathy Lynn Grossman

Episcopal Church ends its ban on gay bishops;
Reversal defies the archbishop

The Washington Times
July 15, 2009 Wednesday

Episcopal vote on gay clergy widens Anglican split

LA TIMES Tue Jul 14, 2009

Episcopal Church moves to accept more gays and lesbians
July 14th (CNN)

Let’s Tell the Truth about B033
Issues, the publication of The Consultation, July 15

Episcopal Bishops Give Ground on Gay Marriage

By Laurie Goodstein, New York Times

The Episcopal clergy vote is an important one for gays

Jennifer Vanasco, Huffington Post

Episcopal Juggernaut
By Julia Duin, The Washington Times

What Will Follow Episcopalian Vote For Gay Clergy?
By Barbara Bradley Hagerty (NPR with Susan Russell)

When Tom Wright Gets It Totally Wrong

Scott Gunn, 7 Whole Days Blog and Clergy Deputy from the Diocese of Rhode Island

There are so many more, and we are sorry if we have missed ones that we should have highlighted. If we have--please let us know in the comments. Surely more to come soon!

A Friend and Ally Elected to Executive Council

We're delighted that Katie Sherrod has been elected to the Executive Council. Katie has been a long-term advocate for LGBT inclusion who has worked tirelessly behind the scenes in many previous General Conventions, and in the LGBT witness at Lambeth 2008. She is also one of the filmmakers who brought us Voices of Witness Africa. We celebrate with her that this year she is here for the first time as a deputy from the continuing Diocese of Fort Worth, and we are delighted that she will be able to bring her many gifts to the whole church as a member of Executive Council.

We also give thanks for the leadership of those Executive Council members (both LGBT and straight) who are stepping down this year.

Standing with Disney Workers

‘We will not eat, meet or stay in the Disney Hotels until the workers invite us back’ declared Bishop Gene Robinson to the delight of the (largely Latino) crowd outside the Disneyland gates.

You’ve all heard about Disney’s support for LGBT – they’ve were even subject to a nine-year boycott by ultra-conservative American Family Association because of their ‘embrace of the homosexual lifestyle’. But their embrace no longer encompasses their employees – LGBT or straight.

Today Convention was invited to join a rally and march organized by the Episcopal Network for Economic Justice, Disneyland Hotel Workers and Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE) to fight unfair conditions for workers.

If I were to book into one of the Disneyland hotels across the street – just a standard room for one person for one night – it would cost me $310-$425 plus tax. This is not cheap accommodation. Someone earning minimum wage would have to work between 48 and 66 hours just for a room – no food, no tickets. The 2150 employees of the three Disneyland Hotels have been working without a contract since February 2008. These are the people who clean the rooms, cook the meals and carry the luggage. They’re the ones doing the grunt work that makes the magic possible.

Even though Disney earned $1.46 billion in the first half of 2009, and its CEO made $30.6m, Disney plans to reduce benefits for their lowest paid employees. We all know health insurance keeps costing more – but Disney wants its employees to start paying for family coverage, and it wants to reduce full-time positions, thus forcing employees to accept positions with no benefits and no rights.

Several bishops joined the rally at the beginning, including Jon Bruno and Sergio Carranza from Los Angeles who prayed for and blessed the assembled crowd which included workers from other hotels and hospitality businesses in the area. After over a thousand people marched from the Anaheim Arena to the Disneyland gates, they were addressed by both Bishop Gene Robinson and Bishop Barbara Harris who said honest workers should get honest wages, honest benefits and honest opportunities to support their families.

Caroline Hall for IntegrityUSA