Friday, April 29, 2011

Integrity Grants Available: Apply Before May 15th

Proclaim “All the Sacraments for All the Baptized” in Your Community

Ideas for Grants in your Community

Max Niedzwiecki, Ph.D.
Integrity USA Executive Director


Integrity USA is offering grant funding to Chapters, Proud Parish Partners (P3s) and other groups that want to proclaim “all the sacraments for all the baptized” but need extra money and help to do that more effectively. Grants will be in amounts of up to $1,500. The application deadline is May 15, 2011. Here is the full request for proposals.

This is the first time that Integrity has made grants to member groups. We are doing it because we want to insure that victories at General Convention are implemented in parishes around the country. Resolutions are just words if they don’t make a difference in people’s lives. Also, Integrity’s future successes at General Convention depend on support from people in every diocese. “All the sacraments for all the baptized” isn’t just a slogan Integrity board members, Provincial Coordinators, Diocesan Organizers, and staff keep repeating: It’s a rallying cry coming from Episcopalians in churches throughout the United States and beyond.

Some have said to me: Max, of course we want LGBT folks to be more warmly welcomed in our parish and our diocese. Of course we want our churches to celebrate the unions of same-sex couples, as well as different-sex couples – through marriage ceremonies, or at least “blessings.” We know that our church needs to learn more about the transgender community. We know that people in committed same-sex unions need to be able to heed God’s call to become deacons, priests, and bishops. And we want more people to know about all of that. That’s why we’re members of Integrity!

But how can we make that happen? Give us some ideas - how can this grant help us?

So, here are just a few ideas to get you thinking: These are not the only options! We want to hear your creative ideas, and different approaches will work in different communities.

Host a series of dinners: You could host a series of dinners in church halls or homes where LGBT Episcopalians and the people who love them tell their stories, make the case for inclusion, and open dialogue with people who are struggling with homophobia. Follow up on this by writing a short article about the experience (preserving confidentiality where necessary) and submitting it for publication in your diocesan newsletter, the local paper, and Walking with Integrity.

Stage a film and discussion series: Many films about faith and human sexuality are available on DVD. “For the Bible Tells Me So,” the award winning “Voices of Witness," "Voices of Witness Africa,” and the historic video of the Integrity Eucharist at General Convention 2009 are just a few examples. Start a weekly series of film screenings and discussions in a church hall, community center, public library, college, or even a gay or lesbian bar. Advertise the events in LGBT, mainstream, and college newspapers, as well as parish and diocesan newsletters. Include information about the Episcopal Church in your discussion. Invite reporters to participate, or write about your experiences and then try to get them published.

Schedule a celebration connected to LGBT Pride: Work with a rector, lay leaders and straight allies to stage a special celebration of the Holy Eucharist that specifically honors the contributions of LGBT people to the Church, as well as the need for greater inclusion. Build the Church by marching with a banner in the Pride parade, and invite clergy to march in their collars. Capitalize on the media attention around Pride by working to get news items on what you are doing published in papers and newsletters, and covered on TV news.

Publish your stories. Collect personal stories that show how important it is – to individuals and to the Episcopal Church – that the Church extends a radical welcome to all of God’s children. Print them in a booklet, produce a DVD, or post video clips to YouTube and our Walking With Integrity blog. Distribute the stories to clergy and other Episcopal leaders in your diocese. Write a short piece about your project that could be placed as a Letter to the Editor in the local paper, or the diocesan newsletter.

In addition to a grant of up to $1,500 from Integrity USA, you might use funds from your Chapter or a special community fundraising effort to support projects like these.

Integrity USA will provide help with drafting and placing news items, if you would like, in addition to the funding.

These are just a few examples of what you might do. Share your ideas with us or ask us questions by writing to us

Remember – the deadline for applications is May 15th.

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