On a sunny fall day in Laramie, it’s too easy to forget that nearly 10 years ago the life of Matthew Shepard ended brutally, tied to a desolate fence outside of town. No one who had never met him will get the chance. No one who never heard his voice will know what it sounded like. And for those who knew, it’s important that the community of Laramie never forget what tragic consequences bubble forth out of ignorance and intolerance.
These are the things that people will hopefully think about when they take a seat on the bench with his name on it at Quealy Plaza that was dedicated in his memory Saturday morning.
Under the close eye of the media with police officers idling near the outer circle of the crowd that gathered that day, University of Wyoming President Tom Buchanan and Judy Shepard, Matthew’s mom, spoke about the past and the future of that fatal event that shocked not only this small town on the plains, but the state and nation as well.
Read it here.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Last night I joined other volunteers making phone calls to undecided voters, urging them to vote NO on Prop. 8 -- the initiative that would eliminate marriage for same-sex couples in California.
Over a two hour period, I called about 60 people, talked to ten or so, and found five who would promise to vote NO on Prop. 8. That's five more that the campaign didn't know about before last night.
Nobody yelled at me, though some clearly didn't want to talk. Some did want to talk -- at one number I called, the named voter had gone off to college, but his father proudly assured me that everyone there, not only the young son, would be voting to preserve marriage equality.
The campaign has good training materials -- you don't have to make up what to say; you can just follow the scripts. They work.
Here in California, we have a good chance to win this vote. Majorities seem to believe in fairness for all.
But the campaign needs people to help. Visit No on Prop. 8, do fill in the sign up form, and get involved.
The opponents of same-sex marriage have raised millions for their advertising campaign. We need to do our best to match them. Folks who are out of state can help by making a donation through the same website.
--Jan Adams, Claiming the Blessing/Integrity field organizer
Thursday, September 25, 2008
St. John's Cathedral, Los Angeles says, "YES, we will!"
If you know of any resolutions that aren't listed on the site, please report them to our field organizer, Jan Adams, at email@example.com. A full copy of the resolution (or a link to it) would be appreciated.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
This event will be webcast live. Visit www.eds.edu for details.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
by Seth Hemmelgarn
Weeks before voters decide whether to amend the state's constitution to ban same-sex marriage, churches and other religious entities on both sides of Proposition 8 feel strongly that their beliefs are at stake, and they're playing a big role in trying to reach voters.
The Reverend Susan Russell, president of the LGBT Episcopalian group Integrity, said the organization is also encouraging opposition to the measure. 'I'm convinced the majority of Episcopalians will vote no,' Russell said.
She also said, 'I think it should go without saying there are those who only see marriage as between a man and a woman, and I believe we need to respect their right to understand marriage in that way,' Russell said. 'At the same time, they do not have the right to inflict their understanding on the whole state of California.'
Click here to read the entire article!
I write to ask that you spread the word (if you haven't already) about a new
survey (and one that promises to be the largest ever) on the lives of gender
non-conforming people. I intentionally use the language gender
non-conforming because this survey is intended to expand our knowledge not
only of folks who identify as transgender but also those who fall on the
continuum of gender non-conformity.
The importance of the survey cannot be overstated. Currently there is
almost NO research on the lives of transgender and gender non-conforming
people. This survey allows for accurate and good information to get out in
order to support advocacy and other social justice work with and on behalf
of transgender and gender non-conforming folks.
To date, we have over 2900 responses-- this is within the first week of the
survey's launch. The largest study ever done on trans folks had 3200
respondents. So this is truly an amazing opportunity.
The survey can be found at:
If you identify as transgender or gender non-conforming, please fill out the
survey. If you know of anyone who does, please share it with them. Please
send it to any of your lists, too.
Thank you for your collegiality and support with this important project!
Rev. Rebecca Voelkel
Institute for Welcoming Resources and Faith Work Director
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
810 W. 31st Street
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Click here for an MP3 of the radio story.
Below is a synopsis of the radio story.
September 19, 2008
California - Few Californians are supporting a ballot initiative that would ban same-sex marriage. A new Field Poll has found Proposition 8 trailing among likely voters, with just 38 percent supporting the initiative. Susan Russell, a priest at the All Saints Episcopal Church in Los Angeles, says people may be surprised to know she opposes the ban on gay marriage.
"Polls are showing us that fair-minded Californians are not interested in taking rights away from their neighbors. A core value of all of us who are people of faith is to love your neighbor as yourself. You don't love your neighbor by taking away their right to marry."
The Reverend Russell says she believes in protecting the sanctity of marriage for all people and that her church has married hundreds of gay couples since the unions were first allowed on June 17th. In May, the California Supreme Court overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage. Proponents of Prop. 8 want to overturn that ruling by creating a constitutional amendment.
Click here to read the rest!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
“As difficult as this decision is for me and many others in our Church, it is important to realize that the decision in the House today was not based on the theological convictions of Bishop Duncan, but rather on the evidence presented regarding statements and actions concerning moves to take the Diocese of Pittsburgh out of the Episcopal Church.”.
Bishop James Mathes of San Diego
“Today’s decision was difficult and emotional but a necessary action to care for the order of the Church, the people of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, and the collegiality of the House of Bishops.”
“Our decisions today were very difficult and came out of our deep love for our Church, a commitment to honor our ordination vows, and a desire to strengthen the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.”
Archbishop of Wales, Barry Morgan does not think the issue of homosexuality should tear the communion apart.
THE Archbishop of Wales yesterday warned any attempt to find a quick-fix solution to issues dividing the world’s 80 million Anglicans would “end in tears”.
He told the Church in Wales’ Governing Body in Lampeter that:
Sexuality should not be a “Communion-breaking” issue;
Churches should not be required to sign-up to a new set of binding beliefs;
Anglicans had clamped down on homosexuality but not on heterosexual sex outside marriage.
Read it all here.
Present were 128 bishops. Not present were 15 who could not attend for a variety of reasons, including the bishops of
Following morning worship, the bishops met in small table groups to debrief the recent Lambeth Conference. The bishops were presented with two questions for discussion:
“What were we most grateful for; and what were we least grateful for?” The afternoon plenary focused on what lies ahead.
Concerns expressed included the disjunction between the Lambeth Indaba Process and future decision-making. Many compared the deep and collegial conversation of the Indaba Process with the more contentious hearings held by the Windsor Continuation Group and the Covenant Design Group.
In the afternoon plenary, there was lively discussion as we looked forward to extending the Lambeth Conference experience. A wide range of topics was presented including: a cooperation on the environment; global warming; poverty reduction; and improved communication throughout the Communion. HOB also discussed inviting Primates and bishops to visit The Episcopal
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Re "Bishops in state oppose Prop. 8," Sept. 11
I was delighted to read that the Episcopal bishops took such a strong stand against Proposition 8. I believe that it is crucial as we approach this important election for people of faith to stand up and oppose this effort to take constitutionally guaranteed rights away from Californians who happen to be gay or lesbian. To do anything less would be to reduce our cherished "liberty and justice for all" to "liberty and justice for some."
Freedom of religion in this great country of ours protects the state from dictating to me, as an Episcopal priest, how I exercise my ministry. It is equally important that freedom from religion protect our Constitution from those who would write their theology into it.
The Rev. SusanRussell
The writer is the senior associate for parish life at All Saints Episcopal Church.
The Living Church
A mission and message are unlikely to be effective without a way to ensure that they are recognized and acted upon. This theme was explored by participants in an “Inclusion Activism” workshop Sept. 12-13 at St. Mark’s Cathedral, Minneapolis.
Subtitled "Advancing Equality for LGBT Episcopalians at the Diocesan Level," it was the last of a series of five inclusion activism workshops held around the country and co-sponsored by Claiming the Blessing and Integrity USA. The workshops were designed to provide Episcopalians with the tools they need to bring LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) issues to the forefront of diocesan conventions and diocesan decision makers. All five workshops attracted people from wide geographic areas. Organizer Jan Adams told of one previous workshop at which a woman drove for 10 hours in order to attend.
Participants in Minneapolis came from seven dioceses to share their stories and to support each other in the inclusion efforts in which they are engaged at home. After a review of the progress of recognition and inclusion for LGBT people in The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, trainers Katie Sherrod (Fort Worth) and the Rev. Cynthia Black (Western Michigan) then led the group through a short training course on topics, including how The Episcopal Church works, organizing and presenting cases at the diocesan level, and working with the media.
The presenters drew on national canons and other elements common to most dioceses, the presentations gave practical tips (useful in promoting any endeavor) on building relationships and gaining allies, developing messages, electing and lobbying diocesan leadership, and creating and presenting resolutions at diocesan conventions. Many participants (including those from Minneapolis) were in the process of preparing for their own diocesan conventions, and hoped to act on this advice.
Workshop organizers also showed a video, Voices of Witness Africa, produced by Ms. Black and Sherrod. The goal of the project, said Black, was to "help to debunk the myth that there are not GLBT people in Africa." In it, men and women from several African nations gave poignant testimony about both their spiritual journeys and their lives of fear and oppression in their native countries.
Participants and presenters all acknowledged that while progress has been made in inclusion of LGBT people in The Episcopal Church, there is still much to be done. A major purpose of the weekend was to show people how to work within church polity to help achieve further progress. Several noted how seeing Voices of Witness Africa helped to put their own struggles into perspective.
Ms. Sherrod had noted that the Lambeth Conference’s small Indaba groups had helped bishops from different provinces develop relationships separate from some of the issues confronting the Anglican Communion. These were compared to the suggestions given in the training sessions for developing relationships on the diocesan levels. Ms. Sherrod was hopeful of the outcome. "I think that those relationships will be the salvation of the Anglican Communion," she said.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
"Since marrying my husband Mike on August 8, I've had several occasions to reflect on the powerful coalition of forces that have come together to achieve, and now defend, marriage equality in California. The minister who officiated at our wedding was HRC Religion Council member Rev. Susan Russell, an associate rector at All Saints Church in Pasadena where we wed in the chapel. Susan is also president of Integrity, the LGBT advocacy group working for justice in the Episcopal Church USA.
It was in large part a credit to Susan Russell and Integrity that the six most prominent episcopal bishops in California came out forcefully against Proposition 8, the anti-marriage amendment on November's statewide ballot and for the right of LGBT people to civil marriage."
Read the entire article at HRC Back Story.
Visit www.integrityusa.org/VoteNoOnProp8 to find out how you can help defend marriage equality in California--even if you live in another state!
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
The House of Bishops meeting in Salt Lake City starts on Wednesday, September 17th. Have you contacted your bishop about the Lambeth Conference--urging him/her to oppose the Archbishop of Canterbury's call for moratoria on LGBT bishops and the blessing of same-gender relationships?
Click here for more information and suggested "talking points."
Click here to let us know you contacted your bishop.
- [ENS] California bishops call for defeat of proposition that would ban same-sex marriage
- [L.A. Times] California's top Episcopal bishops oppose gay marriage ban
- [San Francisco Chronicle] Episcopal bishops oppose gay marriage ban
- [San Jose Mercury Times] Episcopal bishops oppose gay marriage ban
- Denver Post] Episcopals fight effort to ban gay marriage
- [Pink News] Anglican bishops to speak up for gay marriage
Susan Russell moderated the press conference.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
The Rt. Rev. Barry Beisner of the Diocese of Northern California spoke in front of supportive Episcopalians.
Bishop Marc Andrus of California
The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston, assistant bishop of California, added that he knew about discrimination since he is a registered member of the Choctaw Native American people. He insisted that it is time for LGBT people to enjoy the same civil rights as anyone else.
a c c w e b n e w s
The Anglican Church of Canada
Marites N. Sison
Sep 10, 2008
The Canadian house of bishops will discuss next month how best to respond to
renewed proposals for a moratoria on the blessing of same-sex unions, the
ordination of openly gay persons to the episcopate, and cross-border
In a related development, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican
Church of Canada, said he has requested Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan
Williams to facilitate a meeting between him, the primate of the Anglican
Province of the Southern Cone, Gregory Venables, U.S. presiding bishop
Katharine Jefferts Schori, and the primate of Brazil, Mauricio de Andrade,
to discuss cross-border interventions.
The three primates - Archbishop Hiltz, Archbishop de Andrade, and Bishop
Jefferts Schori - have repeatedly asked Archbishop Venables to stop meddling
in the internal affairs of their provinces. Archbishop Venables has, on his
own accord, been providing episcopal oversight to churches that are in
serious theological dispute with their respective provinces over the issue
of sexuality. Archbishop Williams has said he will do his best to facilitate
In an interview, Archbishop Hiltz said the Canadian bishops will have "a
very focused conversation" around how they understand the call for
moratoria. He said there are conflicting interpretations on what the
moratorium means, with some thinking it means not having any new blessings,
and some interpreting it as retroactive, which would require a synod like
New Westminster to rescind its 2002 motion that allowed same-sex blessings
in their diocese. He added that the Archbishop of Canterbury's recent letter
to bishops about the moratoria was also "significant." Archbishop Williams
had acknowledged that, while the call for moratoria received support from "a
strong majority" at the conference, he was nonetheless aware of the
"conscientious difficulties this posed for some."
To read the rest of the story, please visit the Anglican Journal Web site,
As Episcopal Bishops of California, we are moved to urge voters to vote "No" on Proposition Eight. Jesus calls us to love rather than hate, to give rather than to receive, to live into hope rather than fear. On Tuesday, November 8th, voters in California will be given the opportunity to vote for or against Proposition Eight, which would amend the state's constitution to reserve marriage as only between a man and a woman. Since the California Supreme Court's ruling in May that civil marriage should be provided to all of the state's citizens whether the genders of the couple are different or the same, faithful gays and lesbians have entered into marriage as the principle way in which they show their love, devotion and life-long commitment to each other. Furthermore, marriage provides these couples the same legal rights and protections that heterosexual couples take for granted.
Proposition Eight would reverse the court's decision and withdraw a right given. Proponents of Proposition Eight have suggested that this amendment to the Constitution would protect marriage. We do not believe that marriage of heterosexuals is threatened by same-sex marriage. Rather, the Christian values of monogamy, commitment, love, mutual respect and witness of monogamy are enhanced for all by providing this right to gay and straight alike. Society is strengthened when two people who love each other choose to enter into marriage, engaged in a lifetime of disciplined relationship building that serves as a witness to the importance of love and commitment.
As bishops, we are not of one mind regarding how our Church's clergy should participate with the State in same-sex marriage. Some of us believe it is appropriate to permit our clergy to officiate at such marriages and pronounce blessings over the union; others of us believe that we should await consent of our General Convention before permitting such actions. Nevertheless, we are adamant that justice demands that same-sex civil marriage continue in our state and advocate voting "No" on Proposition Eight.
General Convention 2006 in Columbus passed Resolution A095 that said, "Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the 75th General Convention reaffirm the Episcopal Church's historical support of gay and lesbian persons as children of God and entitled to full civil rights; and be it further Resolved, That the 75th General Convention reaffirm the 71st General Convention's action calling upon municipal council, state legislatures and the United States Congress to approve measures giving gay and lesbian couples protection[s] such as: bereavement and family leave policies; health benefits; pension benefits; real-estate transfer tax benefits; and commitments to mutual support enjoyed by non-gay married couples and be it further Resolved, That the 75th General Convention oppose any state or federal constitutional amendment that prohibits same-sex civil marriage or civil unions."
We believe that continued access to civil marriage for all, regardless of sexual orientation, is consistent with the best principles of our constitutional rights. We believe that this continued access promotes Jesus' ethic of love, giving, and hope.
The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, Bishop of California
The Rt. Rev. Barry L. Beisner, Bishop of Northern California
The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of Los Angeles
The Rt. Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves, Bishop of El Camino Real
The Rt. Rev. Jerry A. Lamb, Provisional Bishop of San Joaquin
The Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes, Bishop of San Diego
Click here to learn more about how you can help defeat Propostion 8!
fourth annual LGBT Religious History Award. The submissions deadline is
October 17, 2008. Complete details on this award for papers can be found at:
This award honors outstanding scholarship in lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender religious history. It is part of LGBT-RAN's effort to promote
scholarship in this emerging field of study. Questions about this award may
be directed to Mark Bowman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
The Right Reverend J. Jon Bruno, Episcopal Bishop of Los Angeles will speak in opposition to Proposition 8 at a press conference on Wednesday, September 10 beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the Los Angeles Cathedral Center, located at 840 Echo Park Avenue.
Bruno will joined by clergy and lay leaders from all around the southland, including:
· The Reverend Abel Lopez, who will address the issue of marriage equality in both English and Spanish;
· The Reverend Warner Traynham, former rector of St. John’s, Los Angeles and long time civil rights activist;
· The Reverend Susan Russell, President of Integrity USA and a national spokesperson for LGBT equality;
· Along with several recently married Episcopalian couples who will talk about their commitment to protect the sanctity of ALL marriages.
Friday, September 5, 2008
This interview is LGBT-RAN's first from outside the U.S.--indicative of LGBT-RAN's commitment to preserve history of a wide diversity of LGBT religious movements. The Johnson interview--like all eleven interviews currently in LGBT-RAN's Oral History Project--can be either read or listened to. If you are aware of existent oral history interviews that could be added to LGBT-RAN's online collection, contact Mark Bowman.
By Mary Frances Schjonberg
[Episcopal Life] How one perceives the outcome of the 2008 Lambeth
Conference depends in large part on what criteria are applied.
If the basis for discerning the success of the decennial gathering of
Anglican bishops is whether the bishops resolved the tensions pulling at the
communion, the answer would have to be no.
If, on the other hand, the basis of that discernment is whether the bishops
committed themselves to remaining in communion -- and communication --
with each other, then the answer would have to be yes.
In between those two extremes remain, as always, many shades of gray and
varying degrees of uncertainty as the communion's members face what will be
a year or more of meetings, conversations and predictions of lines drawn in
The section of the reflections document dealing with human sexuality
reiterates the disagreements and divisions facing the communion and lists
some possible solutions offered by the bishops.
They range from "decisive action" -- to live out Jesus' teaching in Matthew
5:29 that if your right eye causes you to sin, it ought to be torn out and thrown away -- to declaring a "Decade of Sharing and Generosity."
There is, the document says, a desire "from all quarters" to uphold Windsor
Report-recommended moratoria on ordinations of persons living in a
same-gender unions to the episcopate, on authorized public rites for
blessing same-gender unions, and on cross-border incursions by bishops.
However, it cautions that the moratoria "will be difficult to uphold."
There were also "many positive responses to the idea" of a proposed Anglican
covenant, the reflections document reports. Also reported is a "strong
sense" that the appendix of the current St. Andrew's Draft (called Framework
Procedures for the Resolution
of Covenant Disputes) "could be too legalistic, too difficult to implement
and too punitive."
The outcome of the Lambeth Conference will be discussed over the next months
in a series of meetings.
The Episcopal Church's House of Bishops is due to meet September 17-19 in
Salt Lake City.
DON'T FORGET TO TALK TO YOU BISHOP ABOUT LAMBETH BEFORE SEPTEMBER 17TH!
VISIT http://www.integrityusa.org/AfterLambeth/index.htm FOR DETAILS!
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Integrity's post-Lambeth ad in the September issue of Episcopal Life has been noticed...
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
First of all, let me say again how grateful we are for your prayers and
understanding as we have been making plans to deal with Gustav. We also
return thanks to God for the fact that New Orleans seems to have been spared
and that things were not nearly as bad as expected along the Gulf Coast.
That, of course, is the most important news of the day.
We wanted to be in touch about a couple of pieces:
1. What to do next? We are convening a call with the Bishops and Elders
Council and other colleagues to explore all of our options. We will hope to
have some word by the beginning of next week as to what we plan to do. We
will keep you posted.
2. Registration fees. There are two options for folks:
a. You may wait with us as we determine if, when and where another Many
Stories, One Voice will be held
and apply your registration fees to that gathering. OR
b. You may ask for us to process a refund of your registration fees.
If you choose to have your registration refunded please email
Again, thank you for your thoughts and prayers as we all went through a
difficult weekend. And thanks be to God that our friends and colleagues in
New Orleans have survived well.
Rev. Rebecca Voelkel
Institute for Welcoming Resources and Faith Work Director
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
810 W. 31st Street
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
ECUMENICAL NEWS INTERNATIONAL
Aug 21, 2008
[Nairobi] Some Ugandan Anglican church leaders have expressed support for a statement by President Yoweri Museveni in which he commended the denomination's bishops for resisting homosexuality.
"It was great of the president to speak about the issue," Anglican Bishop Stanley Ntagali of Masindi-Katara told Ecumenical News International on 20 August. "We have been inspired by the president's positive comments."
Uganda's New Vision newspaper on 17 August quoted Museveni as saying he saluted the bishops of Africa for resisting "disorientation" and a "decadent culture". The newspaper said the bishop had made his remarks when he spoke
at the consecration of Canon Patrick Gidudu as the Anglican bishop of Mbale
in eastern Uganda. During his address, Museveni said homosexuality was a result of "Western influence".
"Don't fear; resist and do not compromise on that. It is a danger not only to the believers but to the whole of Africa. It is bad if our children become complacent and think that people who are not in order are alright," Museveni was quoted as saying.
To read the rest of the story, please visit the Anglican Journal Web site,
The Rev. Canon Malcolm Boyd's writings have been read by tens of thousands of people. 2008 marks the 85th birthday of this man who has worked much of his life to promote faith and understanding.
White Crane Books proudly announces its latest inspirational release: A Prophet in His Own Land: A Malcolm Boyd Reader, a compendium of five decades of his essays, poetry, prayers and interviews on faith & social justice.
Never before has such a wide-ranging collection of the Rev. Canon Boyd's writings been assembled under one cover. This book offers the gamut of the man's heart, mind and soul to first time readers or long time readers alike. With thirty books written and/or edited to his credit, this is the first to offer the true measure of the man.
Edited by Bo Young and Dan Vera, editors of White Crane, the collection begins with the first writings Boyd produced, reflecting presciently on his insider's knowledge and experience in the motion picture business and the American culture machine and span his coffeehouse years with comedian Dick Gregory and the early involvement as a Freedom Marcher with Dr. Martin Luther King.
Whether you a clergy and seek inspiration for your latest sermon, a librarian seeking a valued addition to your current collection on religion and social justice, or a theologian interested in addressing many of the issues facing faith in the 20th and 21st century, this book offers a wealth of inspiration.
Click here to order a copy via Integrity's Amazon portal!