Saturday, June 4, 2011

Still A Way To Go.....................

By the Rev. Dr. Caroline Hall

As I come on board as the new President I am deeply grateful to the Holy Spirit who seems to have called me to this position at this time, and to a multitude of people. In addition to my beloved spouse Jill without whom I would be able to do nothing, I am grateful to Louie Crew whose vision and pioneering stubbornness half a lifetime ago put us all on this path; to all those who have led Integrity both nationally and locally, serving as Presidents, Board Members, Chapter Convenors, Regional and Provincial Coordinators etc. etc. over the last thirty-seven years; and to all our members, friends and allies. Integrity has come a long way and achieved a great deal. Yet there is still a way to go before we fully realize our goal of all the sacraments of the church being open to all regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or geographical location.

Our work at the national level has led us to a point where it is possible for LGBT folk to become bishops and it is possible in some places for our relationships, even our marriages to be blessed. We hope and pray that at General Convention next year there will be another major step forward, but even then there will still be dioceses and parishes where it is not safe to be gay and many more where it is not safe to be transgender. Although Integrity will continue to field a strong team at General Convention and to work to make sure that LGBT people are present at every level of the church, our work now is far more at the local and regional level.

There are still people in our communities, even in our most welcoming parishes, who need to hear that God’s unconditional love is available for them. There are still many LGBT people who do not believe that there is a place within the Christian church for them. We have much to do, to bring the good news of Christ to them and their families.

I am very grateful to Neil Houghton who has served Integrity on its Board for nearly eight years and who most recently has been the Regional Vice-President. Neil’s ministry has resulted in our having much greater impact at the parish and diocesan level, especially as he has mentored Provincial Coordinators and has led Believe Out Loud workshops. I am saddened by Neil’s resignation due to circumstances beyond his control from the Integrity Board, but am delighted that he has agreed to continue to work with Believe Out Loud. I am sure that the person who told me “Neil is the reason I got involved with Integrity” is not alone in cherishing Neil’s contribution to our lives.

These are challenging times for many of us. I am grateful that we serve a God who always brings resurrection and new life.

The Rev. Dr. Caroline Hall is President of Integrity USA

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