The Lord is Risen Indeed, Alleluia
Over the centuries the church has followed more than one course as she set about to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sometimes she succeeded and sometimes she failed. Perhaps her worst moments were when she tortured, maimed and even killed in the name of God... at the expense of others who were doing little more than seeking God on a different course. Her shining moments have been those when the church honored those on the margins, those with whom Jesus surrounded himself, those we often ignore today.
For over four decades, Integrity has charted and followed several courses as she learned her way around how the Episcopal branch of the church “worked.” There were the years when we could not be “out” about who we were and had to depend on supportive allies to tell our stories and advocate for our full inclusion. As members of the church (and society for that matter) became aware that we were not that different from anyone else, we ventured out of our closets. Then we joined the councils of the church as our authentic selves, able to speak on our own behalf and share the truths of our lives. That course took our hard work and effort which helped us insure that full inclusion would be the official policy of The Episcopal Church through our canons and policies. So, what is our next course to follow, what direction, what path?
As I write this, it is appropriately ironic that two of the contestants on season 10 of RuPaul’s Drag Race are sharing the painful experience of trying to “pray the gay away.” We touched that course lightly and briefly in our own church before horror stories of abuse helped us make it clear that prayer didn’t change anyone’s authentic self when it came to sexual orientation any more than gender and subsequently gender identity/expression.
The next course for Integrity USA, our Episcopal Rainbow, will be charted by the next class of leadership for us. One of the realities for that leadership is that some of our most difficult work remains to be done at the parish, diocesan and provincial levels. It is work in our own backyards, tilling the soil at the roots of the grass closest to where we live and move and have our being.
I pray and hope that some reading this will step up to offer themselves as leaders for our next course. I urge you to do your own praying and self-examining about how you might be a leader in our ongoing movement toward real and actual full inclusion in the life of our church. If you, or someone you know, has an interest in assuming a leadership role at the national or provincial level, send contact information (name, email, phone number, etc.) to email@example.com. The current bylaws can be found at http://integrityusa.org/doc_download/23-integrity-s-current-bylaws.
By the time you actually read this, I will be gathered with representatives from the organizations that make up The Consultation. We are the collection of organizations whose ministries center around the social justice issues we see revealed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray for us as we gather and look for our collective course at the General Convention in July in Austin, TX.
Bruce Garner, President Integrity USA ... The Episcopal Rainbow