Saturday, September 11, 2010

Stories From the Pews

Integrity USA is launching a new series on this blog titled "Stories From the Pews". We want to hear from you about what is happening in your parish and in your diocese. What has changed? What would you like to see changed? Share your thoughts with all Integrity members so that we can learn from one another. Email your stories and headshot to Integrity's Director of Communications, Louise Brooks at We look forward to hearing from you.

Chad K. Willingham of Tulsa, Oklahoma originally posted these thoughts on our Facebook page and agreed to help us launch our series with these thoughts.......

I feel blessed that we have groups like Integrity USA. Evidently there are still people in our Episcopal Church that haven't found a place in their heart to be accepting of LGBT Episcopalians. I say this based on recent experiences with Episcopal Church/Episcopalian centered forums such as Facebook. I respect the fact not all Anglicans and Episcopalians are in agreement when it comes to the role of LGBT persons in the church. It troubles me, though, that some believe so strongly against homosexuality that they lose polite discourse.

The Episcopal Church has been my safe haven. I left Orthodoxy because of the issue of my being gay. It was a heartbreaking choice because I so love the Byzantine Divine Liturgy and Byzantine Spirituality. Still, I have fallen in love with the Episcopal Church and my local parish has welcomed me unconditionally and opens their hearts and arms to ALL the same way. The Episcopal Church saved me from going down a path of either atheism or apathy.

After reading unkind things buy people who oppose LGBT clergy (usually women clergy as well), I admit it causes a bit of trepidation. I am happy we have groups like Integrity that organize our collective VOICE to stand firm on our prayer-filled belief that we are equal and equally deserving in God’s eyes. Maybe our continued prayers will bring more change in the church as a whole. I have faith that LOVE will always win over hatred.

I pray that we will soon see full equality in our church. As well, my prayers are with Integrity as they continue their mission. We don’t have Integrity here where I live but would be active if we did. I do thank you all deeply.

Chad attends St. Dunstan's Church in Tulsa.
Where do you attend and what is it like for you? We would love you to send us a story from your pew.


Unknown said...

Very nice brief writing by Chad Wilmington of Tulsa; it is understandably difficult to leave the church of one's youth. On this theme, I was speaking with a close friend, an Episcopal priest from the Diocese of Chicago. This woman had been raised RC, had gone through higher education in RC colleges, left all that when she found out there was no place for women in the ranks of the clergy of that vast organization. In a recent conversation with her, we shared that we had noticed that people who had grown up RC found it difficult to leave that church, convinced that it had the first and last word in salvation, the only true church. They looked upon The Episcopal Church as Roman Catholic Lite, like beer. She said, "The Episcopal Church is not Roman Catholic Lite, it is Catholic Grown Up, my Roman Catholic roots are in full bloom in The Episcopal Church!"
John Poynter

Chad Nachman Zalman Willingham said...

Interesting idea...Catholic all Grown up.