21 December 2010
Dear Members, Church Partners, and Friends:
As both the Christmas festival and the New Year draw near, I extend cordial greetings to you from all my colleagues on the Board of Directors. Among the blessings that we count for ourselves at this time of year is the privilege of serving this organization – an organization that has for nearly forty years now signaled the advent of justice for LGBT people in both church and society.
The year now ending has been extraordinary. Just last spring, we witnessed the consecration of the Episcopal Church’s first partnered lesbian bishop (as a Suffragan for Los Angeles). Just last week, we received news from Washington of the repeal of the ignominious policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” There have been defeats too, to be sure. Yet this is a season of celebration and for these two glorious occasions – as well as countless other less visible steps on the journey toward justice – we have reason to rejoice.
The year ahead also holds promise. Integrity will enter 2011 with a new Executive Director, new allies, new Provincial Coordinators, new Diocesan Organizers, new church partners, new members, new allies. Far and wide, people are recognizing that we can all accomplish much more together than we can separately. From Minnesota to Louisiana, from San Diego to New York, I see people of good will stepping forward to offer their talents and support, to collaborate with one another, and to answer the call to leadership. It is not only a declaration of faith but just as much a statement of fact to say that a light shines forth…and we have reason to hope.
Thanks to each of you for whatever step you have taken in the past year to let the light shine forth. Some of you brought back to your parishes and dioceses the connections and learning you gained at Believe Out Loud workshops. Others of you participated in one of many events held in honor and support of Bishop Christopher Senyonjo of Uganda. In the name of Integrity and with integrity, you have witnessed at diocesan conventions, in state capitols, on city streets, and in church chancels to the abiding love of God. Indeed, you have incarnated that love.
So, in the hope of letting the light shine still more widely and brightly, I am bold to ask one thing more – no, two. First, let’s stay together. Renew your own membership or your church’s partnership. Secondly and just as importantly, invite a friend or family member or fellow parishioner to join as well. (It is as easy as going to www.integrityusa.org.) This support and participation is a gift to all those who don’t yet see reason to hope or to rejoice. That is the strange thing about the light that emanates by sharing the love of God. By sharing it, it does not diminish; rather, it magnifies.
The Rev. David Norgard
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