Thursday, October 13, 2011

Integrity's Harry Knox reports on his recent road trip

On the road for Integrity this week, I had a unique opportunity to celebrate our past and to help shape our future. I was privileged to pray with two iconic leaders: Louie Crew, the courageous founder of Integrity - and Val Kalende, the young lesbian who has stepped into the leadership vacuum left when our martyr David Kato was murdered in Uganda.

I had a few minutes to reminisce with Louie and his partner Ernest Clay in Savannah as we helped Integrity Georgia celebrate it's 10th anniversary. History was made. For the first time since the chapter's founding, the resident bishop, The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase, celebrated the Eucharist with Integrity members. But it was Louie's stories of the early days of Integrity that moved me most in those moments. He and Ernest laugh now about the frustration of being turned down by three printers as they sought to get out the first Integrity newsletter. They smile as they mention that the printer who finally agreed to produce a publication with the word gay in it, was a Muslim.

I remember rural Fort Valley, Georgia in 1974. It was a dangerous place to tell the truth about sexuality. And in that post-Watergate period, the country was in no mood for a new movement. Thanks be to God Louie and Ernest didn't wait until models were developed for LGBT advocacy, or for perfect conditions in which to begin. Their leap of faith in those uncertain days began a march with all of us that has brought us closer than ever to our goal of availability of all the sacraments to all the baptized in the Episcopal Church.

I left Savannah for New York and a meeting of a United Nations consultation on the decriminalization of homosexuality and gender variance, which was inspired by the work of Bp. Christopher Senjonyo in Uganda. As always, I was inspired by being with Bp. Christopher again. But the rare treat was the opportunity to meet in person the young woman who has accepted the mantle of public leadership of her queer peers in Uganda since the assassination of Davis Kato. Val Kalende thanked us for our support of Sexual Minorities in Uganda (SMUG), asked for our continued support, and reminded us of the importance of encouraging indigenous, culturally appropriate movements among LGBT people in other lands. Like Integrity in 1974, they are finding out what works for them in their setting. They need our prayers, our practical help for the vital basics of every organization, like computers, office space and gasoline - the worldly implements through which Holy Spirit reaps a harvest of reconciliation. For more information contact the Rev. Albert Ogle at:

What a privilege to gaze at icons of our past and future as I prayed this week for Integrity. Please be sure you are praying for Integrity, too!

Harry Knox+
Executive Director
Integirty USA

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