Friday, February 26, 2010


Dear Members, Partners, and Friends:

This is the first in a series of Annual Messages I expect to make during my three year term as Integrity’s President. It is one of several ways by which I plan to keep the members and partners of Integrity informed about the organization’s mission and ministry.

The Board of Directors that was elected last May and seated in October held its first full face-to-face meeting in January and I am pleased to report that it was enormously productive. We set out plans that, as implemented, will have an impact on the rest of the entire triennium.

To provide some context, though, let me recount briefly the events of 2009. It was quite a year. Looking inward, Integrity’s leaders recognized a need for change in the organization itself in order to minister more effectively in the years ahead. A thoughtful review of various options eventually resulted in a new structure for the Board of Directors, for leadership positions throughout the organization, specifically Provincial Coordinators and Diocesan Organizers, and for a commitment to seek new leadership in the office of an Executive Director.

Of greater consequence with respect to our fundamental mission, however, were the actions taken at General Convention. At Anaheim, the Episcopal Church at long last took an unequivocal stand in favor of welcoming and recognizing the ministry of LGBT persons in all orders of ministry, including especially the episcopate. And it moved forward toward recognizing and blessing same-gender relationships. Anyone and everyone who has ever belonged to, financially supported, or otherwise been affiliated with Integrity over the past 35 years has reason to rejoice for, indeed, Integrity’s unflagging encouragement and counsel has been critical to the Church’s progress in its journey toward these historic shifts in understanding.

What can anyone say to this? The Psalmist says it best: “No good thing will God withhold from those who walk with integrity.” (Psalm 84:11)

Yet now we are faced with a new challenge. We need to play an equally vital role in turning these legislative victories into living realities from the Diocese of Alaska to the Diocese of Southeast Florida, from the Diocese of Maine to the Diocese San Diego. And this means that we need to focus on building relationships that transform communities at the diocesan and state levels. This work, I firmly believe, represents both our mission over the next several years and where we can be most successful in advancing it. It will require three things: people, money, and coordination.

Concerning coordination, the Board of Directors adopted a Strategic Plan for this triennium that touches upon all facets of our life and work – program, administration, development, and governance. The centerpiece of Integrity’s program over the next three years (the heart of it all really) will be Believe Out Loud and I will leave it to our Acting Executive Director, John Clinton Bradley, to describe this unprecedented new initiative in his letter. If you are interested in reviewing the complete Strategic Plan 2010-2012, e-mail me and I will be glad to send you a copy.

Concerning money, we have also adopted a Development Plan for the next three years. It starts with the 100,000 Blessings Campaign currently underway. Through this campaign, we are inviting one and all to share a story of how Integrity has been a blessing to them or their church over these past 35 years, in light of the historic decisions made at Anaheim. We are also asking financial support for Integrity’s work and witness moving forward. (I hope everyone will participate with both a financial gift and a story.) The development plan also outlines several new ways by which we will be inviting support. To name just a couple of these, we are now prepared to receive and appropriately recognize memorial and tribute gifts as well as bequests…and we are becoming more adept at inviting everyone – fellow parishioners, straight allies and friends, diocesan leaders, and churches – to join us as members or partners. (Do you have a friend who cares about the LGBT community and the Episcopal Church? Send him or her an Integrity membership brochure right now!)

Beyond the money and the coordination, as with any community’s vision, people, ultimately, are what move it from dream to reality. To truly accomplish the work of making the legislative victories of 2009 into living realities, it is clear that we need to have an active presence in every diocese of the Episcopal Church. Toward that end, we have redefined the role of our Diocesan Organizers (formerly Network Coordinators) and will be starting to identify competent and committed leaders wherever such individuals are not already in place. The new office of Provincial Coordinator will be coordinating these and other Integrity initiatives on the provincial (i.e. regional) level.

The time has come when Integrity also needs an Executive Director. John Clinton Bradley, our Acting Executive Director, has served us nobly for a long while and for his extraordinary service we are most grateful. He has communicated to the Board of Directors, however, that he is not “the one.” We must look for another to fulfill the role on a permanent and full-time basis. And so the search is already underway. We anticipate announcing our selection before the end of June.

Finally and most importantly, there is every one of you. Integrity has a glorious history, replete with heroes and heroines and stories of challenge, sacrifice, and achievement despite few resources and great odds. It also has a future mission, important and urgent. There are still many places where the simple yet profound message of welcome to all is not yet ringing clear and true. There are places where the very news of what happened in Anaheim has been deliberately obscured or ignored or rejected.

And so there is indeed more for us to do – together. If you can give, give generously. If you can identify possible leaders or church partners in your diocese, call quickly. If you yourself can step up to new service, step lively. You are needed – welcomed – appreciated – anticipated in this ministry. Friends, let there be no mistake. We have come a long way toward where we want to go AND there is still purpose in our walk together.

On a personal note, I want you to know that in my 25 years of ordained ministry, I have never felt more privileged to be of service. I am thankful for all that has been and I say “yes” to what will be. Integrity has given countless people a new perspective on themselves – liberating, strengthening, inspiring. We have given people a new perspective on their sons or daughters or fellow parishioners too – one of respect and dignity and grace. And in such new perspectives lie always – always – the seeds of a more just and gracious community. I hope you will join me with enthusiasm and generosity in the adventure still ahead.

The Rev. David Norgard President

Integrity’s Mission StatementThe mission of Integrity is to be a witness of God’s inclusive love to the Episcopal Church and to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities.

Integrity’s Vision StatementAdopted by the Board of Directors, 15 January 2010 The Episcopal Church truly makes all the sacraments available to all. Every diocese engages in discernment processes for bishops and other clergy that include LGBT candidates. Every diocese recognizes and celebrates same-sex unions in a manner consistent with national liturgical canons.

Integrity’s Strategic Priorities 2010 – 2012 Adopted by the Board of Directors, 15 January 2010 PROGRAM: Implement Believe Out Loud in the Episcopal Church and transform the legislative victories achieved at General Convention in 2009 (D025 and C0560) into living realities throughout all the dioceses of the Episcopal Church.

DEVELOPMENT: Increase membership and church partnership.

ADMINISTRATION: Ensure that broad-based income is sufficient to fund staff and programming. Ensure that the organization has the appropriate quantity and quality of staff to fulfill its programmatic, developmental, and administrative needs.

GOVERNANCE: Adapt to the new organizational structure and create effective leaders at national, provincial, diocesan, and local levels.

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