Monday, April 27, 2015

Thank you Bruce Jenner

On Friday, April 24, 2015, Bruce Jenner ended long standing conjecture and confirmed that he* is transgender. Jenner is known to some (me) from his remarkable performance in the 1976 Olympic decathlon, and others from his Kardashian connection. In an interview with Diane Sawyer he talked about his life, his knowledge of his true identity, and the pressures of society and family which caused him to keep his true identity a secret.

Awareness of transgender people has grown in recent years – much of the publicity about young people, and all too much of that tragic. Jenner told the world (16.9 million viewers) about the issues and struggles facing those who transitioned later in life.

Many of us in Jenner’s generation (which includes me) lived much of our lives hiding who we really are, sometimes from ourselves, and Jenner’s willingness to share his story with so many is an act of great courage.

Integrity USA has long supported equality for transgender people. In 2012, in preparation for the General Convention, Integrity USA produced and distributed “Voices of Witness: Out of the Box”, a documentary about the lives of a number of transgender persons in the Episcopal Church – both laity and clergy. At General Convention, we supported two resolutions which added gender identity and expression to the non-discrimination canons. We made our support known through conversations with deputies and with testimony at committee hearings. The Rev. Carla Robinson, a deputy, spoke on the convention floor in the House of Deputies. (Both resolutions passed.)

I can speak for the Integrity USA Board of Directors when I say, “Thank you, Bruce Jenner” and may God bless and support you as you continue your journey.

*Jenner used the name Bruce and male pronouns in the interview, so I have done the same for this article.

The Rev. Carolyn Woodall
Chair, Stakeholder Council and Board Member
Integrity USA

Friday, April 24, 2015

Nominations for Integrity Board and Provincial Coordinators

It is time for us to start the process of electing the Board of Directors and the Provincial Coordinators to lead Integrity into the new 2015-2018 triennium. This leadership team will have the joy of building on the successes of General Convention as well as leading Integrity in its future outreach.

We have named a Nominations Committee whose task is to gather nominations from the membership for the Board (President, National Vice-President, Vice President for Local Affairs, Treasurer, Secretary, and Chair of the Stakeholder’s Council) and for Provincial Coordinators for each of the eight domestic Provinces.

The members of the Nominations Committee are:
Dante TavolaroProvince 1
Rev. Kerlin RichterProvince 2
Rev. Scott AllenProvince 3
Nancy MottProvince 4
David FleerProvince 5
Bill OliverProvince 6
S Wayne MathisProvince 7
Shireen MilesProvince 8

If you think that God might be calling you to run for one of these elected positions, please take a look at the task outlines (see below for excerpts from the bylaws) and then send an email to with the following information:
  • Name, Address, Phone, Email
  • The position you want to run for.
  • 2-3 paragraphs about yourself
    • your diocese and your experience with Integrity
    • the skills/experience you will bring to this position
    • why you think God may be calling you to this position
We need to receive your nomination by Friday May 15, 2015. The only requirement to run is that you are a member of Integrity. So please make sure your membership is up to date!

You are welcome to contact Matt Haines ( or other current Board members if you want to know more about what’s involved, or contact Marie Alford-Harkey ( Vice-President for Local Affairs, to talk about the role of the Provincial Coordinators.

Once nominations are closed, current members will be sent a ballot by US Mail.  All ballots will need to be returned by June 15, 2015.  Results will be announced on the last day of General Convention.

Please join us in praying that God will raise up leaders among us who can joyfully take on the responsibilities of this organization so that we may further God's kingdom together!

Chapter 2. Board of Directors
   Article 2. Responsibilities
      Section 1. General
The Board shall be responsible for the programs, development, and
administration of Integrity in accordance with the organization's goals and
purposes and its Articles of Incorporation. Except as otherwise provided,
policies not set forth in these bylaws shall be made by a majority vote of the
Board at any regular or special meeting of the Board.

      Section 2. Financial
The Board shall annually adopt a national budget which shall be published to
the membership and shall cause a "review" if not an "audit" of the financial
records to be performed according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles
by a Certified Public Accountant biennially.

   Article 5. Duties of Officers

      Section 1. President
         A. If and when there is no Executive Director, the President shall be the
principal spokesperson for the organization and shall be the chief
representative of Integrity to the Episcopal Church and the Anglican
Communion, and other organizations domestic and foreign.

         B. The President shall chair meetings of the Board.

         C. The President shall have charge of, and may with the concurrence of the
Board, appoint committees and individuals to assist in carrying out the
programs and obligations of the organization; shall be a member ex-officio
of all committees and task forces; and shall make regular reports to the
membership of Integrity.

      Section 2. Secretary
         A. The Secretary shall record and maintain the minutes of meetings of the
Board; shall conduct the legal correspondence of the organization; and shall
be the custodian of the official business records of Integrity.

         B. The Secretary or his/her designee shall maintain Chapter status records for
purposes of certification and shall confirm in-formation status and authorize
the use of the name "Integrity" by Chapters-in-formation.

         C. The Secretary shall also function as Director of Communications.

      Section 3. Treasurer

         A. The Treasurer shall be bonded and shall be responsible for the receipt and
disbursement of all funds of Integrity, and for the maintenance of accurate
financial records with a regular accounting to the Board and an annual
accounting to the membership, shall prepare and file such fiscal reports as
may be required by governmental entities, shall prepare an annual budget
for approval by the Board, and shall, with the concurrence of the Board,
arrange for a "review" or an "audit" of the books as specified in Article 7. Section 2.

         B. The Treasurer or her/his designee shall maintain the current membership
rolls and bill members for the annual dues.

      Section 4. Vice-Presidents

         A. The Vice President for National Affairs, in concert with the Executive
Director (if there be one) and the President, shall be responsible for
planning, implementing, and evaluating Integrity's programming,
development, and administrative work at the national level.

         B. The Vice President for Local Affairs, in concert with the Executive Director
(if there be one) and the President, shall be responsible for planning,
implementing, and evaluating Integrity's programming, development, and
administrative work at the provincial, diocesan, and congregational levels.
This officer shall act as mentor to the Provincial Coordinators and serve as
the primary liaison between them and the Board.


   Article 1. Composition

      Section 1. Members

There shall be a Stakeholders’ Council (hereinafter "Council"), which shall
consist of the following:
• MEMBERS WITH SEAT, VOICE, AND VOTE: Chapter Conveners, Diocesan
Network Coordinators, Congregational Circle Moderators, Partner
Representatives, and Lifetime Members
• MEMBERS WITH SEAT AND VOICE: Provincial Coordinators, Past
Presidents, members of the Board, representatives of organizations
designated by the Board as “allied organizations,” and the Executive
Director—if there be one.

      Section 2. Officers
There shall be a Chair and a Vice Chair of the Council, elected by the members
of the Council as provided in these bylaws.

   Article 2. Responsibilities

The Council shall offer advice and counsel to the Board concerning the mission
and ministry of Integrity, the organization’s programs, resource development,
leadership development, organizational alliances and collaborations, and on
any other matters which the Board may, from time to time, bring to the
Council for its consideration.

   Article 3. Meetings

The Council shall meet at least once each calendar year at a time and place
established by the Board.

   Article 4. Resolutions
Resolutions shall require a vote of the majority of those present for adoption.

The full bylaws can be found at IntegrityUSA's website.

Integrity USA's mission is to inspire and equip the Episcopal Church, its dioceses, congregations, and members to proclaim and embody God’s all-inclusive love for LGBTQ persons and those who love them.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Bringing Easter to People Stuck in Holy Week

Beloved of Christ:

Today is Good Friday, the day we remember the selfless death of Jesus on the cross.  It is stark and tragic, yet we know how the story ends.  It ends with resurrection! 

The cross makes no sense without the hope of resurrection.  Yet many people in our LGBTQ community still long for that hope.   They are stuck in a Holy Week sort of life.  They get little joy from the jubilation of Palm Sunday, because they see it as fleeting emotion disconnected from their own feelings of societal rejection.  They understand too well the oppression of religious authorities and the cynicism of government leaders who wash their hands of the notion of equality or justice.  These brothers and sisters feel the derision of the mobs and endure the torture of violence.  Their loved ones watch helplessly—or sometimes join in on it.  So called people of faith have too often betrayed them with a kiss.  Too many of our people have been killed because of who they are; some have actually died at the hand of the state.  They live Holy Week.

Many of us have lived there too, yet we have seen glimpses of hope.  Some of us have seen resurrection in our own lives!  As LGBTQ Christians we are a witness to the savior’s promise of new and eternal life.  We see that life in churches that open their doors and hearts to our families.  We see that life in the way people grow together in relationship based on mutual love and respect.  We see new life as people live honestly and dare to explore their authentic identities fully.  We find hope in the teen who dares to trust that God loves them just the way they are.

We are people of the empty tomb.  There is nothing to see here!  Our Jesus is alive and calls us to live life abundantly.    Let’s remember to always lead lives of contagious hope and to continue to work toward building a church able to model resurrection.

The Passion of Christ lasted a week; the Compassion of Christ lasts forever.

Have a blessed and holy Easter!

Matt Haines,

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Statement from Integrity on Recent Legislation in Indiana

As Integrity's Coordinator for Province V, which encompasses 14 dioceses of the Episcopal Church in six Midwest states, I wish to express my deep sadness over the passage of legislation in Indiana that legitimizes discrimination against LGBTQ persons.

This law arose after the Supreme Court, on October 6, 2014, declined to hear an appeal of the Seventh Circuit Court's decision to end the ban on same-sex marriage in Indiana and four other states.

There are three reasons for my sorrow. Firstly, it is disgraceful to see elected officials enacting laws that provide legal cover to the behavior of individuals whose education or upbringing blind them to the equality of all persons as established by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U. S. Constitution.

Secondly, I am distressed by these legislators' justification: that this law in some way "restores" religious "freedoms" that have somehow been lost. Supporters of this law are very careful not to articulate these "freedoms," for obvious reasons: they are the acts that express a moral or genetic superiority over an oppressed minority. Over the years many other groups have been discriminated against, denied equal treatment in housing, service, employment and law enforcement, and made to feel unwelcome in this country by others who are taught to feel somehow superior. As with the first point, this "freedom" to be bigoted is frankly un-American.

Finally, to claim a "right" to discriminate against others on religious grounds offends me. The supporters of this law claim, as I do, to be followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus disturbed the religious leadership of his time by prioritizing concern for people over regulations and traditions. His only command to us was "to love others as I have loved you". As Christians, we are called to reflect the compassion and mercy toward others that He showed us during His life on earth. The legislation that passed in Indiana serves a different god.

We hope that in the coming weeks and months, this odious law will be repealed or declared unconstitutional. In this regard, we encourage your action to "do Justice". Write your legislators. Recognize and celebrate diversity among our citizenry. As Scripture says, again and again, "Be not afraid".

David Fleer, Integrity Coordinator
Episcopal Province V