A Report from Neil Houghton.....
This year's "Creating Change" Conference on LGBT Equality took place in Dallas and was a time for much celebration and focus on mission.
John Clinton Bradley, Acting Executive Director and Neil Houghton, Vice President for Local Affairs were both participants in the preeminent annual national conference for LGBT leadership sponsored by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force(NGLTF). One of the most important things we've seen happen at Creating Change in the last few years has been the inclusion of people of faith as leaders in the movement, thanks to the Institute for Welcoming Resources (IWR)which became a part of NGLTF a few years ago.
Before the conference began, John attended a two day meeting where the Arcus Foundation, one of Integrity's major funders, talked about their mission. They presented a major evaluation of their support for several faith based groups. We were extremely pleased when Arcus announced that their investment in Integrity was over the last few years has as a major success! So much so, that they will continue to fund Integrity's particiaption in the Believe Out Loud campaign. Stay tuned for more information on that.
The youth driven energy of this conference is always contagious. This year there were an abundance of semniars, gatherings, meetings caucuses and networking for Episcopalians and other people of faith.
Dallas was one major locus for the American Prayer Hour, the inclusive counterpart to the National Prayer Breakfast. Bradley and Houghton attended along with Harry Knox, Director of HRC's Religion and Faith Program, who was one of the key participants.
Another gathering that took place at Creating Change was The National Religious Leaders Roundtable. IWR was responsible for a full day workshop and a series of half day sessions. Vicki Wunsch, who we are thrilled to have work with Integrity on our Believe Out Loud provincial workshop, skillfully facilitated a memorable session. She had facilitated Integrity's training in St. Louis for "After Anaheim." Neil represented Integrity as well as his home Diocese of Rochester at these sessions. He also took part in a "TransACTION" curriculum that has been developed for congregations wishing to extend their knowledge of a welcome to the transgender people.
Many other workshops covered an incredibly diverse range of topics. Plenary sessions were designed to focus the LGBT movement on issues important to us, such as highlighting immigration policy as it affects the LGBT Community.
On Saturday evening, the Episcopalians at the conference met for dinner. John and Neil spoke about Integrity's progress into its new leadership structure, the "Believe Out Loud" campaign and entertained questions about the work ahead. Their presentation was so inspiring and well received that attendees contributed $600 to Integrity's "100,000 Blessings" campaign.
It was a wonderful conference! Don't miss it next year.
Neil Houghton is IntegrityUSA VP of Local Affairs. His blog is MANY THINGS TO SAY.