My name is Adrian Madriz, and as of May 17th I will be working with Integrity USA as an intern to help it accomplish its goal of attaining all the sacraments for all of the baptized--a cause that is near and dear to my heart.
First, I would like to thank all of Integrity USA, its founders and its membership over the years for all of the tireless work you guys have been doing since 1974 to make the Episcopal Church the kind of place where a person like me can truly find sanctuary and affirmation. I am a recently confirmed Episcopalian who had grown up in the Roman Catholic Church. Although I have many fond memories and lingering attachments to my old church, I have found an unimaginable place of worship in the Episcopal Church, and part of that can certainly be attributed to the progress that has been made regarding LGBT matters within the faith. That, in combination with the many other exciting qualities of the church have made me a firm believer in the idea that there is something special to be appreciated about this particular denomination. And I want the whole world to know.
To that end, I will be working closely with Executive Director Max Niedzwiecki to put together a game plan for Integrity’s outreach program to students and youth. I am familiar with many of the challenges that today’s young LGBT people of faith face as they’re growing up in a religious environment that is often hostile to their identity, and also, the challenges they face in a “gay culture” (whatever that is) that is often hostile to their faith! That’s a one-two punch that can make anyone confused about just where it is in this crazy polarized society that they actually fit in. Therefore, Max and I will be working on both fronts to help provide LGBT youth the resources they need to stay strong in the face of adversity.
First on the agenda is a formal evaluation of Integrity’s current strengths and weaknesses as they relate to the organization’s existing outreach to young people. We’ll certainly work to shore up those weaknesses once they’re identified, but we’ll also work hard to make those strengths 110% stronger. It is very important that we make Integrity USA as visible and relevant as possible to the LGBT youth of America. We need to go out of our way to establish solidarity with these communities that we’re trying to affect, and we need to transmit the message that as Christians, we are true to the values of compassion that define Christianity. But of course, we can’t talk that kind of talk if we’re not walking that kind of walk too. Above all else, we need to care about these youth ten orders of magnitude more than anyone else has ever cared about them. If you want the community to be a part of Integrity, then Integrity has to be a part of the community.
You guys have done that. I wouldn’t be here if that wasn’t the case. Now let’s do more of that.
Integrity USA is thrilled to have Adrian on board and we hope you will join us in welcoming him to this work.