Monday, November 30, 2009

Hot off the wire: House of Deputies president condemns proposed Uganda anti-homosexuality legislation

Hot off the wire from Episcopal News Service, do we hear an "Amen!"
House of Deputies president condemns proposed Uganda anti-homosexuality legislation 
Integrity USA, Canadian bishops also call for opposition

By Mary Frances Schjonberg, November 30, 2009
[Episcopal News Service] The pending Ugandan legislation that would imprison for life or execute people who violate that country's anti-homosexuality laws would be a "terrible violation of the human rights of an already persecuted minority," Episcopal Church House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson has said.

Anderson was responding to a Nov. 16 request that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Archbishop Henri Orombi of Uganda and she speak out against the legislation. Anderson is the first to issue a statement.
Homosexuality in Uganda currently carries a penalty of up to 14 years imprisonment. If passed, the bill would extend prison sentences for homosexuals up to and including life imprisonment and introduce the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality," which includes assault against people under the age of 18 and those with disabilities.
Opponents fear that people, including family members and clergy, who support and advise homosexual people could be prosecuted and punished under the proposed law, which also would give Ugandan courts jurisdiction over Ugandan citizens who violate the law "partly outside or partly in Uganda."
The proposed legislation is "an attempt to use the authority of the state to deprive individuals of their God-given dignity, and to isolate them from the care and concern of their fellow human beings," Anderson said in her Nov. 25 letter to the co-conveners of the Chicago Consultation, a group of lay and ordained Episcopalians General Convention in 2006 condemned (via Resolution D005) the criminalization of homosexuality, Anderson noted.
The church's Executive Council, an elected group of 40 clergy, laity and bishops that carries out the programs and policies adopted by the General Convention according to Canon I.4 (1)(a), is expected to meet by teleconference Dec. 7 to consider a possible statement on the Ugandan legislation.
"I hope and believe that a vigorous statement will be forthcoming, and that I will be able to support this statement wholeheartedly," Anderson said.
Meanwhile, Anderson said she would encourage House of Deputies members and first alternates to contact their congresspersons through the church's Office of Government Relations to express their opposition to the bill.
In a related matter, Integrity USA, a group that advocates for the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the life of the Episcopal Church, on Nov. 30 called on leaders of the church to speak out against the Ugandan parliament's proposed bill. The group specifically urged Jefferts Schori to make a statement and to ask Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "to work through diplomatic channels with the government of Uganda to quash this bill."
The Rev. David Norgard, Integrity USA president, said in a news release that "it is our moral imperative to take a stand."
"Integrity applauds all those who have spoken out so far, including the Anglican Church of Canada, and those who intend to do so in the future," he said.
The Canadian church's Council of General Synod and its House of Bishops oppose the legislation. Most recently, the Canadian bishops said on Nov. 27 that they joined with the Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in expressing their "dismay and concern."
The bishops cited the baptismal covenant's requirement to respect the dignity of every human being and to seek and serve Christ in all persons as part of the basis of their opposition.
"We further note that 1998 Lambeth Conference Resolution 1:10 called upon all bishops to reject the irrational fear of homosexual persons and to create opportunities to listen to the voice and experience of homosexual Christians," the Canadian bishops said. "We recall that the Primates Meeting in Dromantine, Ireland 2005 condemned all persecution and violence towards homosexual persons."
In the latter case, the bishops were referring to paragraph 6 of the meeting's communiqué, available here.
The bishops also asked their colleagues in the Church of the Province of Uganda (Anglican) to oppose the bill and called on the Canadian government to "convey a deep sense of alarm" about its prospects.
The Anglican Church of Uganda on Nov. 6 issued a press release saying that it is studying the bill and does not yet have an official position on the proposed legislation. However, the release restated the Ugandan church's position that "homosexual behavior is immoral and should not be promoted, supported, or condoned in any way as an 'alternative lifestyle.'"
And reported Oct. 29 that the church's provincial secretary told the Monitor newspaper in Kampala, Uganda, that jailing homosexuals was preferable to executing them. "If you kill the people, to whom will the message go? We need to have imprisonment for life if the person is still alive," said the Rev. Canon Aaron Mwesigye, according to the website.
-- The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is national correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.


Integrity USA joins the groundswell of international outrage against the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 currently before the Parliament of Uganda. The Board of Directors of Integrity USA calls on all leaders in the Episcopal Church to oppose this horrendous and blatantly homophobic bill. Integrity urges Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to speak out against the bill. We urge the Presiding Bishop to contact Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and ask Clinton to work through diplomatic channels with the government of Uganda to quash this bill. We also commend the work by those in Executive Council in bringing forward a resolution speaking against the legislation and urge its passage at the special session called for December 7th.

“The Ubuntu vision the Episcopal Church shares with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and which we celebrated together in Anaheim does not allow us to stand idly by and let this bill go unchallenged,” said the Rev. David Norgard, President of Integrity USA.

"Our church has already spoken through Resolution D005 at General Convention in 2006 opposing legislation criminalizing homosexuality. This current Ugandan bill, if passed, would clearly be a direct violation of human rights, imposing draconian penalties on our LGBT brothers and sisters in Uganda. It is our moral imperative to take a stand. Integrity applauds all those who have spoken out so far, including the Anglican Church of Canada, and those who intend to do so in the future.”

Integrity has a long history of relationship with Uganda through its connections with Integrity Uganda allies but also through its Vice President of National & International Affairs, the Rev. Canon Albert Ogle’s work in Uganda on HIV-AIDS. "We cannot support laws that are internationally and locally criticized as ineffective public health policy that will only make the HIV situation worse for Ugandans in general, and to use religious values to deny human rights that run contrary to the Ugandan Constitution," said Ogle. He has written an important background paper and analysis shedding new light on the complexity in Uganda with special emphasis on the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. His paper will be released tomorrow, December 1st, World Aids Day, and posted on the Walking With Integrity blog (

Integrity calls for prayers for all those living with HIV/AIDS and for those fighting to overcome the scourge of homophobia.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Integrity Leader Jon Richardson Gives Thanks

I’ve heard that there’s an objectivity principle in documentary filmmaking that states that the filmmaker should endeavor, whenever possible, to avoid influencing the events or in any way shaping the story surrounding the subject.  It is argued that whenever the filmmaker becomes a part of the story, even if that part is not seen onscreen, the story somehow becomes less true.

No one has ever sought to make a documentary about me.  I imagine that such a film would have a hard time selling!  But I did get a taste of that “objectivity principle” in action this summer while I was serving Integrity at General Convention.

Our Communications team set an unprecedented goal for themselves – to produce daily videos reporting on the news, history, and characters of the LGBT movement at General Convention.  As one of the co-Leads of the Legislative Team, I thought my days were long.  I had meetings at 7:00 most mornings and didn’t finish all of the daily briefings and planning sessions until after midnight many nights.  But my work was nothing compared to the hours that the Communications team put in!

For one segment Barbara Curry interviewed me about my leadership role with the Legislative Team.  One of the questions that I was asked was about my experience as an openly gay man in the priestly ordination process – how did my sexual orientation factor into my experience of answering God’s call to be a priest? That question was a huge gift.  It continues to play a role in shaping my story.

In many ways the answer is simple: to my knowledge, my status as an openly gay man had absolutely no impact on the decisions that were made in my diocese about moving me forward in the ordination process.  Instead, the decisions were based on my ability to articulate my faith, my spiritual, psychological and emotional fortitude for the challenges of serving God in the church, my ability to build significant relationships with colleagues and parishioners, the list could go on.  But sexuality isn’t anywhere on it.

Ever since that question was asked of me, it’s been sitting in the back of my mind.

I know that I have been blessed to have had an ordination process that honored my humanity and that never attempted to stifle it or to punish me for it.  My ordination process has allowed me to explore the ways that God lives in me so that I could allow my priesthood to bloom.  Never was I asked to be other than God made me.  I was only asked to be open to all that God made me to be.

It’s how the ordination process should be: always life-giving.  Never life-suppressing.

And I’m profoundly thankful to the ministry of Integrity for the role it has played in helping to make my story possible.  For longer than I have been alive there have been people in this organization working to make my sexual orientation a non-issue.

In a couple of weeks, when I am ordained a priest, there won’t be any reporters covering the story.  You won’t read a headline that says, “Openly Gay Man Ordained a Priest in the Diocese of Newark!”  I won’t receive hate mail or letters of commendation from dignitaries.  I’ll just kneel before my bishop, surrounded by the prayers and presence of my friends, family, and colleagues; and when I stand, I’ll be a bit more of the man that God made me to be.  And then I’ll be free to get on with the mission of the church as God has called me to perform it.

I also know that many others are not so fortunate.

I have friends and colleagues both here in the Episcopal Church and around the Anglican Communion whose ordination processes were not (and are not) so life-giving.  In some cases, they are people who live in fear of telling the truth.  In others, they are people who have actually been advised by clergy to lie if questioned.  And that is to say nothing of the scores of the LGBT faithful who live and worship in the parts of our church and our communion where honest LGBT priests are still not allowed.  They have never had the opportunity to see Christ re-presented in the form of priests so like themselves.

I have often heard women who were raised in the Roman Catholic church speak of the power of that first time they saw another woman standing at the altar.

I had a similar reaction the first time I met a priest who was gay and didn’t have to lie about it.  It gave me an unspeakable sense of belonging – the kind of belonging to which Christ invites us all.  Even when we don’t.

So I was glad that my interviewer interfered a bit.  She did change my story.  She made my story more deeply filled with gratitude than it could have been before.

My prayer is that we’ll keep changing people’s stories.  That we’ll keep opening up room for new gratitude and new thanksgivings as the church comes to know more and more the truth that all are within the reach of Christ’s saving embrace.


The Rev. Jon M. Richardson is a transitional deacon in the Diocese of Newark.  He will be ordained to the priesthood on December 12, 2009.  He serves as Interim Missioner for Youth & Young Families at The Episcopal Church of St. Paul in Chatham, New Jersey.  Jon has worked with Integrity's Legislative Team at the past two General Conventions and was a part of Integrity's staff at the Lambeth Conference in 2008.  Jon blogs at

MA clergy may marry same-sex couples

Tom Shaw, Bishop of Massachusetts writes his clergy:

Advent I
November 29, 2009

Christian marriage is a sacramental rite that has evolved in the church, along with confirmation, ordination, penance, and the anointing of the sick, and while it is not necessary for all, it must be open to all as a means of grace and sustenance to our Christian hope.

I believe this because the truth of it is in our midst, revealed again and again by the many marriages—of women and men, and of persons of the same gender—that are characterized, just as our church expects, by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, and the holy love which enables spouses to see in one another the image of God.

In May of 2004 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court opened civil marriage in our state to same-gender couples. That ruling set up a contradiction between what civil law would allow and what our church’s canons and formulary state, which is that marriage is between a man and a woman.

And so, for more than five years now, while faithfully waiting for the General Convention of the Episcopal Church to act in response, we in the Diocese of Massachusetts have been living at some cost with an imperfect accommodation: Our clergy have not been allowed to solemnize same-gender marriages, but they have been permitted to bless them after the fact.

In July of this year, the 76th General Convention adopted resolution C056, “Liturgies for Blessings.” It allows 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.”

Your bishops understand this to mean for us here in the Diocese of Massachusetts that the clergy of this diocese may, at their discretion, solemnize marriages for all eligible couples, beginning Advent I.

Solemnization, in accordance with Massachusetts law, includes hearing the declaration of consent, pronouncing the marriage and signing the marriage certificate. This provision for generous pastoral response is an allowance and not a requirement; any member of the clergy may decline to solemnize any marriage.

While gender-specific language remains unchanged in the canons and The Book of Common Prayer, our provision of generous pastoral response means that same-gender couples can be married in our diocese. We request that our clergy follow as they ordinarily would the other canonical requirements for marriage and remarriage.

And, because The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage in The Book of Common Prayer may not be used for marriages of same-gender couples, we ask that our priests seek out liturgical resources being developed and collected around the church.

We also commend to you the October 2008 resource created by our New England dioceses, “Pastoral Resources for Province I Episcopal Clergy Ministering to Same-Gender Couples,” available here

We have not arrived at this place in our common life easily or quickly. We have not done it alone. This decision comes after a long process of listening, prayer and discernment leading up to and continuing after General Convention’s action this past summer.

Our Diocesan Convention recently adopted a resolution of its own expressing its collective hope for the very determination that your bishops have made. Even so, we know that not all are of one mind and that some in good faith will disagree with this decision. Our Anglican tradition makes space for this disagreement and calls us to respect and engage one another in our differences. It is through that tension that we find God’s ultimate will.

We also know that by calling us to minister in the context of this particular place and time God is again blessing our diocese with a great challenge by which we might enter more fully into that ethic of love which Jesus speaks to us through the New Testament.

It is an immeasurable love given for all. We are being asked to live it, all of us, children of God, each with equal claim upon the love, acceptance and pastoral care of this church, so that the newness and fullness of life promised through word and sacrament might be for all people and for the completion of God’s purpose for the world.

/s/ M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE

Saturday, November 28, 2009


From Ekklesia, an independent, not-for-profit think-tank which examines the role of religion in public life and advocates transformative theological ideas and solutions.


London, UK - NOV 24, 2009 The religion and society thinktank Ekklesia is observing that opposition against the 'anti- homosexuality' Bill currently being proposed in Uganda is a prime opportunity for the churches to create some unity around issues of sexuality which so often divide them.

Ekklesia is proposing that Christian leaders should be able to speak with one voice on this issue, whatever their views on sexual ethics, and find common ground on which to build for the future.

The Bill being proposed in Uganda would introduce the death penalty for certain sexual activity between consenting adults. Whatever people's views on sexuality within the churches, says the thinktank, Christians should be able to join together to oppose the measures.

But Ekklesia also warns that continued silence from church leaders on the issue will also speak volumes. A failure to speak out will be widely seen as revealing the 'real' attitudes of many in the churches to gay, lesbian and bisexual people.

An online petition launched by Ekklesia urges the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who has so far remained silent on the issue, to speak out against the Bill. The petition has already brought signatories from priests, ministers and other church leaders around the world and those who, despite differing beliefs over homosexuality, have come together to expose the hollowness of the religious rhetoric used by the Bill's supporters.

Ekklesia's associate director Symon Hill said: "This is a rare chance for Christians of many views to stand united, whatever their beliefs about sexual ethics. Many Christian leaders and groups have already condemned this Bill. But those that refuse to do so run the risk of never being taken seriously in future debates on sexuality or human rights.

"Given the importance of Anglicanism in Uganda, it would be right and proper for the Archbishop of Canterbury to make a statement. It is all the more important given that the Archbishop of York, who grew up in Uganda, has said he has no plans to speak out against the Bill."

Christian organisations in Britain which have condemned the Bill include Accepting Evangelicals, Changing Attitude, Courage UK, Ekklesia, Fulcrum, Inclusive Church and the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM).

The campaign against the Bill is led by Sexual Minorities Uganda.

Notes to Editors
1. The petition calling on the Archbishop of Canterbury and other Christian leaders to speak out against the Bill in public can be found at nda_Christians/index.html

2.The Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill prescribes life imprisonment for any sexual activity between adults of the same sex, with the death penalty for anyone whose same-sex partner is disabled or is under 18. Ministers or priests would face three years imprisonment if they failed to report an incidence of homosexuality of which they became aware.

3. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill is proposed by David Bahati, a member of the Ugandan Parliament who emphasises his commitment to Christianity. It is supported by the Minister for Ethics and Integrity, James Nsaba Buturo, a member of the Anglican Church of the Province of Uganda.

4. The office of the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, recently responded to a letter by the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM), stating that he had no plans to comment on the Bill.

5. Formed in 2001, Ekklesia was listed by The Independent newspaper in 2005 as among 20 influential UK thinktanks. According to Alexa/Amazon, it has one of the most-visited religious current affairs websites in Britain. It runs a news and comment service, examining religion in public life, and raises £250,000 a year for peace & justice causes.
Symon Hill
Ekklesia associate director
020 8769 8163 /07920 037719

Friday, November 27, 2009

Grant M. Gallup, Integrity's first chaplain.

News from Louie Crew:
A friend just called to say that Grant Gallup+ died last night. He was a charter member of Integrity's first chapter, in Chicago, and served as chaplain to that chapter. For several years in the 70s and 80s he edited Integrity Forum. For many years he was vicar of St. Andrew's on the near Westside of Chicago, and since about 1988 he has been a missioner in Managua, Nicaragua, where he founded Casa Maria.

Grant wrote frequently for The Witness and other progressive journals.

In 1976 he was president of the Episcopal liturgists association. His liturgical reflections Homily Grits(2000-2007)) remains very popular.

He was known affectionately by his close friends as Sister Mary Rattle Beads, and rattle them he did. He was one of the first out priests in the USA, speaking on the Studs Terkel radio program.

I remember asking Grant how those at St. Andrew's were dealing with his openness. "The same way I deal with theirs." When someone's son was arrested for using crack, Grant was there to help the family cope. When someone needed groceries to make it to the end of the month, Grant was there for them. His larder was never empty. On some days half the block seemed to show up in his dining room for a meal. He had the gift of endless, joyful hospitality. He kept polished the silverware

Few people have influenced me as much as Grant. I loved him dearly. He taught me much about justice and about courage. He was a strong friend when I had few. He constantly pointed me to gospel imperatives. He eschewed pettiness.

For example; When we lived in Fort Valley, Georgia, Ernest was a hairdresser, and in our tiny apartment did the hair of some of the poorest women in Peach County. One of them called me down from my study to tell me that Dr. XXXXX, senior warden at my parish, was about to become a father again by his mistress. A couple of years before, Dr. XXXXX had collected vestry signatures for a petition asking me to "find some other place of worship more in sympathy with your concerns about gay people."

I called Mary Rattlebeads. "Shall I send Dr. XXXXX a Father's Day card?" I asked.

"You will do no such thing! A new life is coming into the world. If you say anything at all, you might call the mother and offer to sponsor the child at baptism, but only if you are prepared to meet the obligations of doing so. This is no time for pettiness!"

In the winter of 1978 when I was visiting him in Chicago, Grant was summoned to a shelter to comfort a wino whose Native American lover had committed suicide by drowning himself in the Chicago River. I went with him. The deacon who ran the shelter had a huge sign in gold gothic script: "Love your neighbor today: leave him alone".

After brief introductions, in a tiny office made into a parlor, Grant and I sat in silence with the grief stricken man for at least ten minutes. The man broke the silence: "It's a tough world for a girl these days."

"We two girls say Amen to that!" Grant said.

That passed the man's test. Then he trusted us and poured out his heart.

Pray for those of us who now pour out our hearts.

Louie, Quean Lutibelle

Louie Crew Queer Eye for the Lectionary

and more from The Rev. Canon Edward M. Copland, Rector, Saint Boniface Episcopal Church, Siesta Key, 5615 Midnight Pass Road, Sarasota, Florida 34242
I learned that Grant died of a heart ailment Thursday, November 26, at 6 in the evening. His body is still at home, and he will be buried today at 4 in the main cemetery in Managua, where for years he would take his walk to choose his "next home." We will pray for him at the Eucharists at St Boniface on Sunday. Ted

Aprendí que Grant murió de un ataque del corazón el jueves 26 de noviembre, en 6 de la tarde. Su cuerpo todavía está en la casa, y lo enterrarán hoy en 4 pm en el cementerio principal en Managua, en donde por años él tomaría su caminata para elegir su "hogar siguiente." Rogaremos para él en las eucaristías en St Bonifacio el domingo.

More here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Executive Council members call for special meeting on Uganda legislation

By Mary Frances Schjonberg,

[Episcopal News Service] A teleconference meeting of the Episcopal Church's Executive Council will take place on Dec. 7 to discuss a possible statement on Ugandan legislation that would imprison for life or execute people who violate that country's anti-homosexuality laws.

Sixteen members of the council requested the meeting with a handwritten petition that said a motion would be offered at the meeting "regarding the urgent human rights situation in Uganda."

Homosexuality in the African nation currently carries a penalty of up to 14 years imprisonment. If passed, the proposed bill would extend prison sentences for homosexuals up to and including life imprisonment and introduce the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality," which includes assault against people under the age of 18 and those with disabilities. It also would give Ugandan courts jurisdiction over Ugandan citizens who violate the law "partly outside or partly in Uganda."

The Executive Council, an elected group of clergy, laity and bishops that carries out the programs and policies adopted by the General Convention, according to Canon I.4 (1)(a), normally meets three to four times a year. The next meeting is set for Feb. 19-22.

However, the Presiding Bishop as president of the council may call a special meeting and a minimum of nine council members may petition in writing for such a meeting under Canon I.4 (4)(a).

The last special meeting occurred April 13, 2005 when then-Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold called a one-day meeting in Mundelein, Illinois near Chicago to formulate a response to a request of the Anglican Communion's primates that the Episcopal Church voluntarily withdraw from the Anglican Consultative Council until the next meeting of the 2008 Lambeth Conference. The minutes of that meeting are here and the response is here.

The 16 members circulated the petition amongst themselves at a Nov. 17-20 gathering in Chicago of the Episcopal Church's so-called interim bodies, the Committees, Commissions, Agencies and Boards (commonly know as CCABs). The members were at the meeting in their roles as council liaisons to the church's standing commissions. All council members who were approached to sign the petition, agreed to do so, according to Sarah Dylan Breuer, council member from Massachusetts and one of the signers.

The council members' request came on the same day that the Chicago Consultation, a group of lay and ordained Episcopalians, called on Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, and Archbishop Henri Orombi of Uganda to speak out against the legislation. None of them has issued any statements thus far.

Also that day, during at the CCABs meeting in Chicago, the Standing Commission on Anglican and International Peace with Justice Concerns agreed to a statement saying that the members discussed the Ugandan legislation at length, were "deeply alarmed" by it and urged the Executive Council to address the issue before its February meeting.

The commission offered "proposed language" for the council to consider as a resolution. In it the council would join with the Anglican Church of Canada in expressing "dismay and concern" over the proposed legislation, call upon the U.S. government to convey via the Secretary of State "a sense of alarm about this fundamental violation of human rights" and ask the Archbishop of Canterbury, other church leaders, and other appropriate leaders and bodies of the Anglican Communion to take similar action.

The Anglican Church of Canada's Council of General Synod on Nov. 15 expressed its dismay and concern about the draft legislation, saying that the proposed bill "would severely impede the human rights of Ugandan citizens both at home and abroad [and] impose excessive and cruel penalties on persons who experience same-sex attraction as well as those who counsel, support, and advise them, including family members and clergy."

Alexander Baumgarten, director of the Episcopal Church's Office of Government Relations, recently told ENS that "the Episcopal Church, like the Anglican Communion as a whole, is very clear in its support for the human rights of all people, including gay and lesbian persons."

"For us in the Episcopal Church, that means we oppose all abuses of human rights, whether in our own midst or in other parts of the world, and we seek to make that opposition known through our ministry of advocacy," he said.

Baumgarten noted that for the past several weeks, the Episcopal Church "has encouraged Episcopalians who have contacted us on this issue to be in touch with their own elected officials. As of the present moment, we are very encouraged by the engagement of the U.S. State Department, which has called the law a 'significant step backwards for human rights,' and has given public assurances that it is addressing the matter with the Ugandan government. It is our understanding that neither the Ugandan government nor the Church of the Province of Uganda (Anglican) has taken a position on this legislation."

The Anglican Church of Uganda on Nov. 6 issued a press release saying that it is studying the bill and does not yet have an official position on the proposed legislation. However, the release restated the Ugandan church's position that "homosexual behavior is immoral and should not be promoted, supported, or condoned in any way as an 'alternative lifestyle.'"

And reported Oct. 29 that the church's provincial secretary told the Monitor newspaper in Kampala, Uganda that jailing homosexuals was preferable to executing them. "If you kill the people, to whom will the message go? We need to have imprisonment for life if the person is still alive," said the Rev. Canon Aaron Mwesigye, according to the website.

The 16 members who signed the petition are the Rev. Canon Tim Anderson, Hisako Beasely, Sarah Dylan Breuer, Jane Cosby, Martha Gardner, the Rev. Floyd "Butch" Gamarra, Bruce Garner, Anita George, the Ven. Joyce Hardy, Stephen Hutchinson, the Rev. Cristobal Leon, Katie Sherrod, the Rev. Terry Starr, Deborah Stokes, Anne Watkins, the Rev. Sandye Wilson.

Breuer told ENS Nov. 23 that the teleconferencing method meant that the council could meet quickly at less cost and provide "an opportunity for all of us to stand with our presiding officers (Jefferts Schori and Anderson) behind whatever conclusion the meeting comes to."

"I think the ability of Executive Council to respond to such a time-sensitive request in accordance with our polity and without burdening the budget is one example of what our Presiding Bishop has been saying: Perhaps a shrinking budget helped the process along, but embracing technology to meet over distances presents us with exciting opportunities too," she said.

The money available for the CCABs (of which the council is one) to meet face-to-face was reduced when the 2010-2012 budget was cut by $23 million from the current plan. It is anticipated that the most of the groups would primarily meet online or with telephone conferencing.

Breuer said that the conference-call meeting is "an opportunity to discuss an issue that the entire church is passionate about [and] to let people know that our response has been considered by clergy, laity and bishops, and has been considered carefully and prayerfully," Breuer said. She added that she hoped such a consideration will show "there's broad consensus" about whatever stance the council takes.

-- The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is national correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Today Integrity USA stands with all those who mourn the brutal murder of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado as we join in the call for an end to the hate motivated violence that targets LGBT people just for being who they are.

The Episcopal Church has been officially speaking out against hate crimes since 1988 when a resolution of our General Convention decried the increase of violence against homosexual persons.

Integrity stood with those who lobbied for the passage of the recent inclusive hate crime bill passed by Congress and signed by President Obama.

“Our God is one of love, acceptance and inclusion – and we trust that Jorge is now wrapped in God’s loving arms,” said Chap James Day, Integrity spokesperson [Astoria NY]. “We are called at bitter times as these to answer hate with love, violence with peace and despair with hope that out of such tragedy can come new levels of understanding.

"Our prayer is that the tragic loss of Jorge might melt hearts that have been hardened and open eyes that have been closed – and that we might ALL work together to end violence against any member of the human family.”

“May God's mercy be shown to those whose bigotry blinds them from seeing the unique beauty, dignity, and precious gift from God that is found in every human being.

“May Jorge rest in peace, rise in glory and may we all be inspired to work in his memory for a world that is closer to God's vision for us all as members of the same human family.”

For further information contact:

Louise Brooks, Communication Director

Integrity USA -- 626.993.4605

Friday, November 20, 2009


FROM MATT HAINES, Integrity USA's Province VIII Coordinator

Diocese of Oregon elects Bishop, approves Same-Gender blessings

Integrity is happy to announce that the Diocese of Oregon has elected the Reverend Michael Joseph Hanley, on the second ballot, to become the 10th Bishop of Oregon. The bishop-elect is currently the rector of St. Christopher Episcopal Church in Roseville, Minnesota, an Integrity Proud Parish partner [P3].

We also celebrate the passage of a resolution, inspired by 2009 General Convention Resolution D025, humbly requesting that the bishop-elect offer pastoral generosity to clergy wishing to liturgically bless same-gender relationships in the Diocese of Oregon.

From our friends: Chicago Consultation Asks Anglican Leaders to Oppose Ugandan Anti-Gay Legislation

contact:  Rebecca Wilson, 330-524-2067,

Group Sends Letters to Presiding Bishop, House of Deputies President,
Archbishop of Canterbury, and Archbishop of Uganda

CHICAGO, IL, November 20, 2009—The Chicago Consultation today asked the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury; the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church; President of the House of Deputies Dr. Bonnie Anderson; and the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi, Primate of the Anglican Church of Uganda, to speak out against draconian anti-gay legislation introduced in the Ugandan Parliament last month.

“The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and Jesus teaches us to care for the vulnerable and the marginalized. The proposed Ugandan legislation is as far from those commandments as it could be,” said the Rev. Lowell Grisham, co-convener of the Chicago Consultation. “The Anglican Communion has committed itself to the pastoral care of gay and lesbian people. At a time like this, we implore its leaders to speak out.”

Uganda’s so-called “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” proposes the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” and life imprisonment for touching another individual with homosexual intent. Belonging to a gay organization, advocating gay rights and providing condoms or safe-sex advice to gays and lesbians could result in a seven-year prison sentence. Failing to report violations of the law within 24 hours would be punishable by a three-year prison term. In contravention of international law, the new legislation would also apply to Ugandans living in other countries.

In 1998, the Lambeth Conference, a worldwide gathering of Anglican bishops passed Resolution 1.10, committing themselves to the pastoral care of gays and lesbians. The General Convention of the Episcopal Church passed legislation (D005) in 2006 opposing the criminalization of homosexuality.  
Seventeen human rights organizations including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have pointed out that the bill would criminalize their work and significantly diminish the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS prevention efforts. Even Exodus International, which promotes controversial therapies to change a person’s sexual identity, opposes this bill because it is so harsh.

“Across North America, Europe and Africa, people of goodwill oppose this draconian legislation,” Grisham said. “But within the Anglican Communion, only the Church of Canada has found its voice. We are eager to hear our leaders speak out on behalf of frightened, isolated and persecuted gays and lesbians in Uganda, and on behalf of all Anglicans who believe in the dignity of every human being.” Grisham said.

Spokesmen for the Church of Uganda initially supported the bill, but advocated that the death penalty provision and extradition provisions be removed. As the international backlash against the bill has intensified, the Church has retreated from its original position and now says it has no position on the bill. 

American evangelist Rick Warren, who has close ties to Archbishop Orombi and the Ugandan church, has refused to condemn the bill, saying he has no position on it.

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. To learn more about the Chicago Consultation, visit

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Statement from Integrity President David Norgard

November 19, 2009

This week I received the resignation of Joshua Blackwood as Chair of the newly created Stakeholders’ Council. Citing personal reasons, Josh stepped down from his leadership role within Integrity and with regret, I accepted his resignation. On behalf of all my colleagues on the Board of Directors, I thanked him for his service. It has been a pleasure to get to know Josh and we wish him the very best in his other endeavors.

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Gretchen Renfro of Kansas City, Missouri, is the new Chair of the Stakeholders’ Council. In the case of a vacancy in this role, our bylaws provide for the Vice Chair to be seated as the Chair and thus, also, as a member of the Board of Directors. I am grateful to Gretchen for her willingness to serve and look forward to working with her more closely. Please join me in welcoming her to this new role within our community.

This change creates a new vacancy, of course, namely, that of a Vice Chair for the Stakeholders’ Council. In the near future, Gretchen Renfro, as the new Chair will be nominating a candidate to fill the position until the next regular election and a special election among the stakeholders will be scheduled at an appropriate and opportune time.

Integrity is blessed with a strong leadership team and we all look forward to moving ahead together.

ENDA Call-In Day for People of Faith

The House Education and Labor Committee is expected to vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act [ENDA] soon after the Thanksgiving recess. The next step will be a full floor vote in the House of Representatives. It is critical that your representative hears from people of faith about the importance of ensuring workplace equality for all Americans.

On Thursday, November 19th, dial the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your representative. [If you’re not sure who your representative is, simply give the operator your zip code and they will connect you.] You may speak to a staff member or you may be asked to leave a voicemail. Here is a suggested script...

"My name is _____ and I’m a proud resident of (your city, state). I am calling in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 3017) to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from job discrimination. I'm an Episcopalian [or Episcopal clergyperson] and my denomination officially supports ENDA. People should not have to fear losing their job simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Please pass ENDA before the end of the year. Thank you for your time."

Visit for more info!

Bruce Mason: rest in peace, rise in glory

Dear Friends,

I am very sad to announce that our brother Bruce Mason of Portland died
suddenly Monday morning. He leaves behind his beloved life-partner Robert
Byrd, and a host of family and friends.

Bruce was a kind, faithful and loving servant of Christ. For decades he has
served in a large variety of ministries at SS Peter and Paul's Episcopal
Church in Portland. He worked with that parish's feeding program and was an
active member of the Companions of St. Columba. He was well known for his
leadership in the Diocese of Oregon as well.

Bruce volunteered locally and nationally for Integrity. As an Integrity
Vice-President, Bruce worked tirelessly for the full inclusion of gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians. He was a true mentor to
those who followed in his footsteps.

Bruce's funeral is scheduled for Saturday, November 28th, at 10:00 at SS
Peter and Paul Episcopal Church 8147 SE Pine St. Portland OR 97215
** Update**
I wanted to make certain that his family would be able to attend if they chose. The date posted here is incorrect and has been changed to December 5 at 10 a.m. Initially I hadn't even thought about it being around the Thanksgiving and it made it impossible for people to come because there were simply no available flights. It is my hope that this will better accommodate family and friends.

Thank you,
Robert Byrd
Please keep Robert in your prayers as well as the countless people who mourn
the loss of such a great friend. We will all miss him greatly

Matt Haines

Integrity USA, Inc.
Province VIII Coordinator

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Integrity Members Fight for Equality in New York

November 16, 2009

On November 10th my husband Kyle Crawford and I joined a group from my home state of Rochester, NY, to particiapte in a vigil in the NY Senate gallery and halls. The Governor had called an extraordinary session to deal with some lingering issues, including the marriage bill which had already been passed by the assembly.

It was a long and disappointing day because there was no action on the bill. But our trip was not in vain because our presence was very visible and became widely known. And, there was no visible  group opposing the marriage bill.  Integrity is famailr with waiting for justice to happen. It has taken over 30 years in the Episcopal Church and it looks like it may take another session for this bill to pass in our New York state senate. As a member of Integrity, I know how important it is to just "show up" and voice support for equality.

We believe there may have been a behind the scenes agreement to bring it before the Senate for a vote by the end of this legislative session. Those in the know tell us that  it may come up tomorrow.  We are contemplating a return trip. Unfortunately the lack action last week gave the opponents a chance to organize and they will be present tomorrow. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a New Jersey based group, has already launched  a robo-call campaign.

But, they won't go unopposed. Our Bishop, Prince Singh, acting on the resolution passed last year by Rochester's Diocesan Convention supporting marriage equality, has agreed to personally express his support and the support of our diocese to our local senator, who has not committed to vote one way or another. Once again, Integrity members are working with our diocesean leaders to speak out whenever legislation like this is pending.

Chap James Day, Integrity's Province 2 Coordinator and I will be in Albany tomorrow. Please hold New York, its Senate and all its LGBT activists in your prayers. The outcome of this vote will be very close. It can just happen in New York. We pray  will happen in New York!

Neil Houghton, VP for Local Affairs, IntegrityUSA. Diocese of Rochester

Monday, November 16, 2009

First woman is ordained as priest in Fort Worth Episcopal Diocese

FORT WORTH — Kneeling during an ancient laying-on-of-hands ritual, the Rev. Susan Slaughter on Sunday became the first woman ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.
Among a sea of friends, relatives and colleagues gathered at St. Luke’s in the Meadow Episcopal Church, Slaughter was ordained by the Right Rev. Edwin F. "Ted" Gulick Jr., bishop of the Diocese of Kentucky, who has also been serving as provisional bishop of the Fort Worth Diocese.
A letter of congratulations from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori read by Gulick said: "I give thanks to God for this sign of the resurrection of the Diocese of Fort Worth. Susan, may his light shine through you. May the widow’s gifts spread throughout your diocese."
Slaughter, 67, is a widow; her husband, Jerry, died two years ago. She had pursued her dream of becoming a priest since the 1980s but faced many obstacles because bishops of the Fort Worth Diocese opposed the ordination of women on theological grounds.

Read the rest of the article here.


November, 16, 2009

The Rt. Rev. John Bryson Chane, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, today announced his support for legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia. Chane made his endorsement in a column on the Web site of The Washington Post:

Noting that recent media coverage has pitted conservative Christians against liberal secularists, the bishop articulated a Christian case for same-sex marriage.

“I would say respectfully to my fellow Christians that people who deny others the blessings they claim for themselves should not assume they speak for the Almighty,” Chane said. “The church has deepened its understanding of the way in which faithful couples experience and embody the love of the creator for creation. In so doing, it has put itself in a position to consider whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

“Theologically, therefore, Christian support for same-sex marriage is not a dramatic break with tradition, but a recognition that the church’s understanding of marriage has changed dramatically over 2,000 years. “

Chane also praised the D. C. Council for its sensitivity to issues of religious liberty.

“[I]t's important to emphasize that the actions taken by the D.C. Council do not address the religious meaning of marriage at all,” he wrote.  “The proposed legislation would not force any congregation to change its religious teachings or bless any couple.  Our current laws do not force any denomination to offer religious blessing to second marriages, yet those marriages, like interfaith marriages, are equal in the sight of the law even though some churches do not consider them religiously valid.

“D.C.’s proposed marriage equality law explicitly protects the religious liberty of those who believe that God’s love can be reflected in the loving commitment between two people of the same sex and of those who do not find God there.  This is as it should be in a society so deeply rooted in the principles of religious freedom and equality under the law.”

Like many Episcopal bishops, Chane permits the clergy in his diocese to bless same-sex relationships. He said the diocese is examining the church’s canons to determine whether priests will be allowed to sign marriage licenses if same-sex marriage becomes legal.

The Episcopal Diocese of Washington consists of 89 congregations, including Washington National Cathedral, and more than 40,000 baptized members in the District of Columbia and the Maryland counties of Montgomery, Prince George’s, Charles and Saint Mary’s.

News from Integrity, Albany, New York

Albany Integrity , which  currently  comprises  the Congregational Circle at St Andrews Church in Albany, NY, recently met  for  its fall " meet and greet". In attendance were  members  from several other  parishes in the  Albany  Diocese which has been less than  supportive of the   actions of General Convention over the past several years. Integrity, which has not had  a  real presence in  the Diocese of Albany is beginning to reactivate  in small ways through the Congregational Circle at St Andrews  as well as  building  a network through email and Facebook  for other LGBT  members of the Diocese and supportive allies. At the recent meeting  we viewed portions of the  Integrity Eucharist  at General Convention  in particular  The Rev. Susan Russell's  comments and the  Sermon by  Bishop Barbara Harris.  Although the attendance was small, we were glad to see  new faces from other parishes  as well as make connections to  further the work of  Albany Integrity in a Diocese that  does not support  LGBT  Episcopalians. We hope to  connect with other  Integrity groups in the  Northeast through  networking and  Facebook.

Richard Angelo
Albany  Integrrity Coordinator

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

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A miracle, a milestone, a cause for celebration and a moment to rejoice and be glad in.

From the Immediate Past President of Integrity, the Rev. Canon Susan Russell:

On Sunday, November 15, 2009 @ 4:06 p.m.PST (I know that because I "tweeted it" in real time!) I heard these words ..."..fill her with grace and power, and make her a priest in your church"  coming through the speaker on my computer here in the office ... as I listened to the audio stream of the in-progress ordination of Susan Slaughter in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

Over my many years in the church I've sat through MANY ordinations ... two of my own and dozens of others ... some as congregant, some as litanist, some as MC, a couple as preacher. I was even a thurifer once. But this one is going on the list ... this virtual opportunity to have my life "closely linked" with those celebrating today with Susan -- with her family, congregation and diocese -- at the new beginnings her ordination exemplify.

Wow. Just "Wow!"

If you have to ask what the big deal is, I probably don't have time between now and having to scoot downstairs for baptismal preparation class at 5:30 followed by new member welcome rehearsal at 6:30 followed by new member class at 7 to explain it. (We're finishing up our Fall New Member class series and sixty-something new members will join All Saints Church next Sunday at the 11: 15 service. Drop by if you're in the neighborhood!:)

Anyway, back to the ordination thing.

I guess it's like trying to explain to someone who wasn't alive then -- or old enough to pay attention -- what it meant when the Berlin Wall came down twenty years ago this week. The rector used that event as a sermon illustration this morning -- about the power of compassion combined with perseverance to bring peaceful change against all odds and predictions. (It was a particularly great Ed Bacon Sermon ... it should be up on the website shortly -- check it out.)

And for who have been at work in the fields of the Lord for lo these MANY years it's as big a miracle. As huge a milestone. As large a cause for celebration. And a moment to rejoice and be glad in.

As I'm typing this the closing hymn ... "Lift High the Cross" ... is coming through the speakers on my desktop at All Saints Church in Pasadena from the service concluding at St. Luke's in the Meadow.

Let us go forth into the world, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit.
Thanks be to God!

Thanks be to God, indeed. Allelluia, Alleluia!

Posted By SUSAN RUSSELL to An Inch At A Time: Reflections on the Journey at 11/15/2009 04:41:00 PM

First Pakistani Woman Priest Ordained

From Episcopal News.....

By Pat McCaughan, November 09, 2009
[Episcopal News Service] The Rev. Dr. Khushnud Mussarat Azariah shattered another barrier on Nov. 8 when, by way of the Diocese of Los Angeles, she became the first Pakistani woman ordained to the priesthood.Azariah hoped her "miraculous" day sent a powerful message to women back home.
"Ever since I was a young child, I have felt God had a special calling for me but I was told there was no place for me in the church," said Azariah, 60. "This day is a miracle. I never knew this day would ever come. I always prayed to God that one day the Church of Pakistan would ordain women," she added tearfully.
The great-granddaughter and granddaughter of ministers, her father was a priest and a bishop, and Azariah was also the first Pakistani woman ever to attend seminary, though she could not do so in Pakistan. She also is married to Presiding Bishop Samuel Robert Azariah of the Church of Pakistan.

"This is an historic day for our family, a day of rejoicing and thanksgiving," said Samuel Robert Azariah, who is also Bishop of Raiwind and served as a presenter during the ordination at St. James Episcopal Church in South Pasadena, California, in the Diocese of Los Angeles.
"As the Church of Pakistan, this is one step forward in our further understanding of the Body of Christ as one family," he said Sunday. "Khushnud's ordination to the priesthood, which would not have been possible in Pakistan at the moment, affirms the significance of 'where I am weak, you can be my strength' … and how the Body of Christ can support one another in their strengths and weaknesses."
He also asked for prayers for his country and the church. "Pakistan as a nation is at a crossroads and the challenge of the church becomes heavier as to what it means to share the grace of Jesus Christ. And please pray for the Church of Pakistan, because it faces difficulties of persecution," he said.

Read the rest of the story here.

Integrity Condemns Anti-Gay Legislation Proposed To Ugandan Parliament

The Board of Directors of Integrity USA expresses grave concern over the anti-gay bill currently under debate in the Ugandan Parliament. If passed, it will make the very important ministry of inclusion of the gay and lesbian baptized in the Anglican Communion something punishable by fines and imprisonment. Organizations that teach reconciliation and the inclusive love of God could be faced with a blanket ban to cease all operations, including our partnership with Bishop Christopher Senyonjo and Integrity Uganda.   

The new bill would outlaw Integrity Uganda and would put clergy, physicians and relatives who support their gay and lesbian neighbors and family members at risk for severe fines and possible imprisonment. The proposed law may mean neighbors who do not inform on each other for supporting LGBT civil rights are subject to punishment. We have not seen such a draconian system of isolation and institutional rejection of a minority community in Uganda since the anti Jewish laws passed by the Third Reich.

The 20-year-old Yowero Musevene regime, in power in Uganda and supported by the United States and many European governments, is about to disconnect itself from many international treaties on human rights. This proposed law would allow for extradition of homosexuals living in other countries back to Uganda--violating current international norms. It is estimated that half of Uganda’s annual budget comes through international aid. Integrity calls upon the United States Government through the office of the Secretary of State to investigate the abuses of human rights and to re-evaluate the United States support of the Yowero Musevene regime.

The Reverend Canon Albert Ogle, Integrity’s Vice President for National and International Affairs, spent six years working with AIDS and cancer programs in Uganda. He believes that the introduction of AIDS programs in Uganda and saved millions of Ugandan lives and that Uganda would have lost many, many more people were it not for the courage and dedication of LGBT people and our friends. Ogle reports that local LGBT Ugandans helped us promote this work. It is time the true story of the contribution of the LGBT community to this country was uncovered.

Integrity also calls upon Ugandan international relief agencies and human rights organizations to monitor the situation in Uganda and with as many religious organizations as possible, so as to speak with one loud and clear voice on behalf of the international democratic family against this proposed act. The international community through business, religious and aid organizations cannot be a party to the extermination of LGBT people and we believe there is enough support within Uganda to oppose the passage of this bill.

Dr. George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, was the architect of Lambeth 1:10--the resolution widely quoted in the Church of Uganda’s official response to this legislation last week; legislation which it largely supports. Canon Ogle wrote to Dr. Carey in 1998.*  Ogle predicted that the anti-homosexuality resolutions would be used by church and state alike to inflict violence and death against LGBT Anglicans. Eleven years later those predictions are coming true.

Integrity challenges every bishop who voted for Lambeth 1:10 to clarify to their local dioceses what the Lambeth resolution on homosexuality meant to them in 1998 and what their position on the Church of Uganda’s use of this resolution to oppress and marginalize its LGBT citizens is now. We remind those bishops who may feel drawn to retract their association with this resolution--now that they see how damaging it really was to the international LGBT community--that is it never too late to do the right thing.

Integrity also challenges Anglican leaders whose actions at Lambeth 1998 helped create the incubator for this new level of terror and civil persecution in places like Uganda to condemn this violation of civil rights under the veil of Anglican sanction.  Further, Integrity calls upon religious leader around the world to use their influence as respected persons of faith to denounce the persecution of any minority, particularly the LGBT community in Uganda.

*"Diversity of Disunity" by James Solheim, pages 223-225

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Calling all Clergy and Faith Community Leaders: Your witness needed for ENDA

Within weeks, the U.S. House of Representatives will consider passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill to prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  Religious voices are instrumental in persuading legislators to support the fair treatment of all workers by passing an inclusive ENDA.   

 If you are a member of the clergy or a leader in your faith community, please sign the online letter ( in support of equality in the workplace.   

Then, take a minute to forward the letter to your colleagues locally and nationally.  
More than 30 major religious denominations and institutions have already signed onto an organizational letter in full support of ENDA.  United by a spiritual obligation to treat others with the respect we desire for ourselves, the interfaith community is calling on Congress to pass federal legislation protecting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees.  In 29 states it is currently legal to fire, refuse to hire, or deny a promotion to lesbian, gay, and bisexual workers; discrimination based on a person’s real or perceived gender identity is still tolerated in 38 states.  It is long past time we ended this injustice.   
 Take action and find out more online at
Engage your community further by participating in the national faith community call-in day on Thursday, November 19th.   This call-in comes on the heels next week’s expected review of ENDA by the House Education and Labor Committee.  Pick up the phone and call your Member of Congress at 202-224-3121 to demand equality with the House’s passage of H.R. 3017 (ENDA).  Look for more information and a call script in the coming days.

Boy won't pledge until all have equal rights

The Arkansas Times reports on why Will Phillips won't recite the Pledge of Allegiance"
...the discussion turned to the pledge of allegiance and what it means. Laura Phillips is Will's mother. “Yes, my son is 10,” she said. “But he's probably more aware of the meaning of the pledge than a lot of adults. He's not just doing it rote recitation. We raised him to be aware of what's right, what's wrong, and what's fair.”

Will's family has a number of gay friends. In recent years, Laura Phillips said, they've been trying to be a straight ally to the gay community, going to the pride parades and standing up for the rights of their gay and lesbian neighbors. They've been especially dismayed by the effort to take away the rights of homosexuals – the right to marry, and the right to adopt. Given that, Will immediately saw a problem with the pledge of allegiance.

“I've always tried to analyze things because I want to be lawyer,” Will said. “I really don't feel that there's currently liberty and justice for all.”

+Gene Robinson on Talk Of The Nation today

Coming Up Thursday, Nov. 12: Bishop Gene Robinson talks about the Episcopal church and its long history of conflict — most recently, the bitter division over openly gay bishops.

Check your local National Public Radio listings!

NPR Talk Of The Nation

The interview and call-in program audio is online free at
I have to say that gathering a group of folks based on their disdain for both gay and lesbian people, as well as women, is not a great basis for a church, I dont think. It seems to me that God wants us to be expansive in our love of humankind and not making second class citizens out of, what, roughly half the world being women, and gay and lesbian people.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Marriage Equality Vote Coming in New York State

[Albany NY] Flanked by four members of the State Senate Democratic majority and the leader of New York's LGBT lobby, Governor David A. Paterson announced an agreement by which the Senate leadership has, for the first time, agreed to debate and vote on a marriage equality bill before the end of 2009.

"This is the first time that the Senate leadership has indicated that it will support a vote on marriage equality," the governor said. "This is a stunning and very happy development in this process. I will continue to place marriage equality on any special sessions that I call on Monday and Tuesday because I feel that the bill should be debated immediately. However, I have profound respect for the leadership of the Senate and the process that they took to bring us to this vote."

Read the rest here ... and keep the good people of New York in your prayers as they work to extend the "liberty and justice for all" our veterans have fought for down through the years to gay and lesbian families through long overdue
marriage equality legislation!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bishop Eva Brunne: Bishop of Stockholm, Church of Sweden (Lutheran)

The AP is reporting:
By Malin Rising (CP)
STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Sweden's Lutheran church said Monday it had ordained its first openly gay bishop, just two weeks after it gave priests the right to wed same-sex couples. Eva Brunne was ordained as bishop of Stockholm's diocese in a ceremony on Sunday. She lives in a "registered partnership" with another woman, a civil union between gays used in Sweden before same-sex marriages were legalized this year. The couple also has a child. "It is very positive that our church is setting an example here and is choosing me as bishop based on my qualifications, when they also know that they can meet resistance elsewhere," the 55-year-old Brunne told The Associated Press by phone. More here.

A lovely interview with her, can be found here.  Our friends at Episcopal Cafe ran the story of her election back in late May, when the election happened.

Congratulations to Bishop Brunne, our hearts and prayers join with you and all those you love and serve.
O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquillity the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were being cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(A big thanks to our friend Vincent on facebook, making sure we reported on this story.)