Friday, October 10, 2014

Renewal in Grace and Communion - A Reflection by Matt Haines

Deliver us from the presumption of coming to this Table for solace only,
and not for strength; 
for pardon only, 
and not for renewal. 
Let the grace of this Holy Communion make us one  body, 
one spirit in Christ, 
that we may worthily serve the  world in his name. 
Eucharistic Prayer C, BCP 371

For forty years we have brought solace to many LGBTQ people and their families as we have welcomed them into our organization and eventually into our congregations. Through years of hard work within the polity of our beloved Episcopal Church we have been able to realize our own strength as LGBTQ people of faith. Our justice work has brought the Church to a practice of pardon for the role we all have played in the oppression of LGBTQ Christians. Integrity USA and The Episcopal Church are now in a time great of renewal.

Renewal is a spiritual word. It is not the same as replace. Not one of us can ever be replaced. We are made in the image of God and are baptized as Christ’s own forever. Instead, renewal connotes improving a relationship already begun. That is why we renew our common Baptismal Covenant at baptisms, confirmations, and of course in Easter-time. Our relationships resurrect through the process of renewing.

Our renewal will not replace our other efforts; only enhance them. We will still bring solace to those rejected by Church, society and family. These people will bring us a new look at God’s diversity as we meet people we would not normally seek out.

Our strength will increase as new leaders join those already serving to build power through relationship and witness in our parishes, dioceses and of course General Convention. Harvey Milk often said that coming out of the closet was a political act. Justice requires dedication and interaction within the political processes of both Church and State. Let us continue to come out!

We will continue to seek pardon. After all, we as an organization have not always “served with our whole hearts”. Sometimes we have hurt one other and have failed to recognize the hurts each of us personally bear. Integrity still joins in our common work of the Consultation and other allies to do our part to bring justice to all parts of the Church and the world it touches.

We will seek renewal as one Body of Christ’s own Spirit. Integrity will serve the world in that Holy Name with Grace. Let us joyfully rejoice in renewal!

Matt Haines is the President of the Board of Directors at Integrity USA


Ann said...

Blessings and prayers for your work Matt.

Katknit said...

Blessings Matt. Thank you for serving .... prayers.
Charlene McCreight