Friday, June 1, 2018

Ordinary Time

We have now moved into ordinary time in the church year. Yet, to me at least, the times seem anything but “ordinary”, especially as we approach our General Convention in July in Austin, Texas. When there is still work to do to help insure that all of God’s children are included in the life and worship of our church and society, there will be no “ordinary” time. None of us are free until all of us are free. Yes that is an often repeated phrase, but it is still true despite what some might wish.

The General Convention will vote on at least two resolutions that impact same sex marriage (Resolution A085) and the blessing of relationships (Resolution A086). I urge you to go to to read these resolutions as well as the others that have been posted and assigned to committees for action at the convention. This link takes you to more than you may ever have wanted to know about the convention. It also gives you access to what is called the “virtual binder” where you can read what actions are happening, what’s coming up for a vote, and much more. You will also be able to access the bulletins used for worship at the daily convention worship services.

It should be of great concern to all queer folks that eight bishops still refuse to allow same sex marriages in their dioceses. Same sex couples are, to be rather blunt about it, not having their pastoral needs met in their own dioceses. At least one bishop has said that making arrangements for a same sex couple to be married in an adjacent diocese meets the terms of the legislation that was passed in General Convention 2015. I strongly disagree with that position. That isn’t even being asked to sit at the back of the bus. That is being asked to get off the bus entirely and go get on another one! We are hopeful that this situation will be remedied at this convention.

We previously provided you with a link to a video produced by a group of faithful Episcopalians in the Diocese of Tennessee, the “middle” of the three dioceses in that state. We now have the privilege of sharing with you another video produced by some of the faithful in the Diocese of Dallas... another diocese where the bishop does not allow same sex marriages. The link to the Dallas video is .  You might want to have a tissue handy. As in the case of the Diocese of Tennessee, you see no clergy. They would risk their livelihoods by doing so.  Have you contacted your General Convention Deputies and your Bishop(s) about making sure that ALL have access to marriage? Why not? Remember your kindred who may not enjoy all the benefits of our church that you do. Pray for them and then contact your Deputies and Bishop(s).

We have lost another beloved Integrity member whose  ministry was at  both the national and local level. The Rev. Paul Woodrum died last week. Paul was, if my memory is correct, our National Treasurer when I joined Integrity in the early 1980’s. Paul was among the earliest of gay priests to be open about his sexual orientation. Being his authentic self was very costly to him in the 1960’s and after. He paid the price for honesty. He built the bridge over which many would eventually walk.  Please see this link for more information.  May he rest in peace and rise in glory. I also ask your prayers for Victor, Paul’s husband of 37 years.

The nomination process for board elections has ended and a slate of candidates has been prepared.  Elections will be held 8am Monday June 18 - 8am Monday June 25. Election results will be announced Monday July 3 just prior to General Convention.  When you receive the ballot, you will notice that there are no nominees for Stakeholder’s Council Chair or for Provincial Coordinators. The present board wanted to provide as much latitude to the new board to facilitate our grass roots efforts and involvement. They will evaluate these positions and either hold a special election or seek to amend the bylaws to meet Integrity’s current needs.

With this Friday Flash, I am requesting that all members and friends of Integrity pray intentionally and daily for the Deputies and Bishops who will be participating in the General Convention.  Please pray daily that hearts will be moved to insure that ALL absolutely ALL of God’s children have access to all of the sacraments all of the time... and in their own parishes!

Bruce Garner, President Integrity USA ... The Episcopal Rainbow

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