Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hail to the Chief!

by Susan Russell

Today is my last day as President of Integrity.
Tomorrow morning, "Hail to the Chief" will play into David Norgard's voicemail and the transition we've been working on since we left Anaheim will be complete -- with a new president and board in place ready to continue to move Integrity's decades-long vision of an Episcopal Church where ALL the baptized are truly "welcome" in all aspects of its work and witness.

I have said this before, but want to say it today in this forum: If I ever again have a parish or community member ask me how I know there's a God who answers prayer, I will tell the story of David Norgard stepping forward and offering his gifts of strategic thinking, visionary leadership and long history of justice-doing to lead Integrity as its president for these next important three years in its history.
There are not words to express my gratitude for the privilege of being part of this work over these last years. For Louie Crew, who continues to mentor, lead and inspire after ALL these years! For Michael Hopkins, friend, brother-priest, visionary and servant leader extraordinaire. For John Clinton Bradley, whose unique gifts of administration, inspiration and determination have helped in SO many ways to "bring us thus far on the way." For members of the Integrity Boards -- past, present and future. For my partner, Louise, who has given sacrificially of "our" time and energy to support the work of Integrity.
I could go on and on ... but let me just say:

I am so VERY ready to hand the presidential baton to David and the ongoing work to the new board, and deeply aware that the work we have to do going forward is important as the work we have done to this point!

With prayers of thanksgiving for all that has been done and great optimism and hope for all that will be done as we move forward together into God's future ...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

News (?) from Indiana

AP, via
(Fishers, Ind.) Conservative members of the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination voted Saturday to spend the next 12 months deciding whether to split from the church after it liberalized its stance on gay clergy.

Also see:

Lutheran CORE
Lutherans Concerned of North America

Monday, September 28, 2009

What our faith demands of us, even as we disagree

Des Moines Register

September 27, 2009

ALAN SCARFE is the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa. Contact: ascarfe@

The Episcopal Church held its triennial General Convention in Anaheim in July. The focus of the media and the worldwide Anglican Communion of which the church is a constituent member was on what we would do on matters of human sexuality. Regardless of the fact that the Archbishop of Canterbury, the leader of the communion, came to deliver a keynote speech on the spiritual and ethical challenges of the economic crisis, even he responded after the convention on the two resolutions on same-gender couples.

Iowa finds itself along with the dioceses of the five New England states where equal marriage is upheld in the forefront of the church's conversation on marriage equality. Faith communities are deciding what this means to their traditions or what it does not. Many faith communities have long awaited the chance to celebrate civil marriage for same-gender couples. The Episcopal Church has been engaged with this for more than 30 years - almost alone among churches of the Catholic tradition. That Episcopal couples were among those cited in the Iowa State Supreme Court Ruling is significant.

Read the rest at

Susan's "Canonization"

Yesterday the Rev. Susan Russell, the outgoing president of Integrity, was made an honorary canon of the Diocese of Los Angeles in recognition of her advocacy for the full inclusion of LGBT people. Click here for a PDF of Canon Jim White's sermon.
Susan with the Rev. David Norgard, incoming president of Integrity

Susan with the Rt. Reverend Sergio Carranza , who presided over the service

Friday, September 25, 2009

Susan Russell's Salutatory

During Integrity's After Anaheim leadership conference earlier this month, outgoing President Susan Russell reviewed the milestones toward making all the sacraments of the Episcopal Church available to all the baptized. Watch it here!

Integrity President to be honored by Diocese of Los Angeles

September 25, 2009

The Reverend Susan Russell, Integrity's soon-to-be past-president, will be made an honorary canon of the Diocese of Los Angeles in recognition of her advocacy for the full inclusion of LGBT people in the work and witness of the Episcopal Church at a festival Evensong on Sunday, September 27 at St. John's Cathedral.

“Susan is a major opinion maker in the Episcopal church and her steadfast ministry has made history in this denomination. We celebrate the recognition of her work, dedication, and grace with the Diocese of Los Angeles,” said the Reverend David Norgard, newly elected Integrity President. Norgard's three year term as president of the 33 year old Episcopal LGBT advocacy organization begins on October 1st when Russell steps down after six years in office.

"As a native of Los Angeles and a daughter of this diocese," said Russell, "it is a high honor to be recognized in this way by the church of my birth and baptism. But more than just a recognition of my ministry, I hope that Sunday's service will be be a beacon of hope to all LGBT people who wonder if that sign outside saying "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You" really means it. Because in the Diocese of Los Angeles, we do."

"I am deeply grateful to be part of a diocese that sees activism as an asset and does not shy away from being a prophetic voice on behalf of "the least of these" who Our Lord calls us to serve in His name. We have come very far indeed from the church I grew up in -- where girls couldn't be acolytes, much less priests or honorary canons! But there is still much work to do -- and I look forward to all that we will do together here in the Diocese of Los Angeles as we move forward together into God's future."

Russell currently serves as a Senior Associate at All Saints Church, Pasadena. Ordained in 1996, she served congregations in Altadena and San Pedro prior to joining the All Saints staff in 2002. In addition to her tenure as Integrity President, she also served as a member of the National Board of the Episcopal Church Women (2000-2003), is a member of the Human Rights Campaign's Religion Council and serves as a spokesperson for California Faith for Equality. In 2008 she was featured in the award-winning short documentary film "The Constant Process" -- produced and directed by Mormon filmmaker Douglas Hunter.

The Rt. Reverend Sergio Carranza will preside at the 4:00 p.m. service, which will include music by the St. John's Choir and a sermon by Canon Jim White. St. John's is located at 514 W. Adams Blvd, Los Angeles 90012.

For further information contact:
Louise Brooks, Communication Director
Integrity USA -- 626.993.4605

On the Phone For Freedom

An important message sent on behalf of No on 1 - Protect Maine Equality Campaign

Freedom to marry under attack in Maine.

The freedom to marry is under attack in Maine. We need your help!

In less than six weeks, Maine voters will decide on a statewide referendum that could deny same-sex couples the freedom to marry. As usual, anti-gay extremists are doing everything they can to strip LGBT people of this fundamental right. Despite their efforts, polls show the election is very close.

But with so much at stake, the No On 1 campaign in Maine needs every one of us to pitch in and make sure that voters in Maine hear from us. It's time to hit the phones!

Sign up here to be part of the September 27th Maine Day of Action.

On Sunday, September 27, join thousands of volunteers from across the country who are calling Maine voters. All you need is a phone and a computer with an internet connection. No long distance fees, no dialing – the web-based software does it all. But it can't sign you up!

So do it – sign up here and dial for freedom.

For the past five years, the Task Force has been working side-by-side with our partners in Maine to prepare for this moment.
Learn more about our work in Maine.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Susan Russell To Be Made Canon



You are invited ... 2nd annual Episcopal diocesan gay & lesbian ministries evensong ! Come celebrate the gifts of LGBT people in the L.A. diocese!

We will honor the ministry of the Reverend Susan Russell,
Senior Associate at All Saints Church in Pasadena, who is
being named an honorary canon of the diocese. A past president of Integrity, Susan has appeared on countless panels and national broadcasts, advocating eloquently and tirelessly for the full inclusion of gay men and lesbians in the Church. Bishop Sergio Carranza will preside at the service, which begins at 4 p.m. Canon Jim White will preach.
The evensong and reception are open to all.

Sunday, sept. 27, 2009, 4 p.m.
St. John's pro-cathedral
514 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90012

+Gene: finding the strength within

Complete video here

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Church needs gifts of transgender Episcopalians

[Episcopal News Service] We may not yet be apparent, but there are transgender Episcopalians.

I am one and, with several transgender sisters and brothers, incarnated an otherwise abstract "issue" at July's General Convention in Anaheim, California, as a member of the TransEpiscopal delegation that sought recognition of our existence and action on the real issues -- social, political, economic, and ecclesial -- that have adversely impacted our lives.

Among us were three trans-priests; one trans-deacon; a 19-year-old transgender deputy, Dee Tavolaro from Rhode Island; and several allies -- gay, lesbian, heterosexual and inter-sexed. We were embraced by and embedded in larger lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) delegations from Integrity and the Chicago Consultation, but felt the need to stake out our own profile within the LGBT community and, more importantly, within the church.

I, for one, have always felt the need for a bold, independent transgender profile within the church and society for we exist, not as some abstraction, but as living, breathing, feeling human beings. As Shakespeare's Shylock asks in "The Merchant of Venice," "If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?"

In the context of the church, I have always considered the nature of our "otherness" a gift to the larger church in terms of stretching the spiritual envelope of those around us. But, like the late Rev. M. R. Ritley in her seminal book with the Rev. Dr. Bill Countryman, "Gifted by Otherness," I have to ask: "How can we be a gift, if they don't know we're here?" And, by extrapolation, I have to ask, in the context of society at large, "How can we demand our rights, if they don’t know we exist?"

Our goals at Anaheim were minimal -- to assert that we exist as flesh-and-blood human beings, to demonstrate that we are here in the church as decent and devout followers of Jesus Christ, and to begin the process of education and dialogue that will lead to full inclusion in the life of the church not only of the transgendered, but of other sexual minorities such as the inter-sexed (known to some as hermaphrodites).

To those ends, TransEpiscopal put forth four resolutions -- to which two were added in the course of the convention -- in the hope that one would reach the floor of the House of Deputies to begin the educational discussion. To our surprise and joy, four resolutions not only reached the floor but were overwhelmingly passed by both the deputies and the House of Bishops, putting the church on record with regard to trans-inclusive hate crimes legislation and employment non-discrimination nationally and, in terms of lay employment, within the church. [Those resolutions included C048, D012, D032, D090.]

To be sure, there was one key resolution that failed. It was CO61 that would have added gender identity and expression to those categories of people in our canons who could not be excluded from consideration for ordination. It passed overwhelmingly in the House of Deputies, but, after considerable discussion in the House of Bishops, was amended, in well-meaning fashion, to strike the whole explicit list of those who could not be excluded from such consideration and to substitute, in its stead, "all people." Would that all people understood what "all" meant. Fearing that might not be the case and, agreeing with others, that such wording might put us back at square one in terms of racial, gender, and other discrimination, TransEpiscopal joined Integrity in letting CO61 die by not bringing it up again in the House of Deputies.

That stance was intended as one of solidarity with all who have suffered discrimination in our church and society. It was a stance reciprocated by Integrity's the Rev. Susan Russell, who assured us that "we'll come back around that one the next time out and -- I am convinced -- by doing the education in the next three years will get it passed in both houses."

That is our TransEpiscopal goal for 2012 when the General Convention meets next in Indianapolis. In the interim, we will continue our own educational efforts and applaud those of our brothers and sisters in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) who, in their August 2009 Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis adopted a "social statement" on "Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust," which, among other things, pledges the church to "attend to the need for equal protection, equal opportunities and equal responsibilities under the law, and just treatment for those with varied orientation and gender identity."

That statement sets forth a compelling theological approach to human sexuality that seeks to "discern directions for living faithfully in terms of human sexuality…not in some abstract ideal realm, but amid the complexities, conflicts, sorrows, discoveries, and joys of actual social and individual life."

I pray that we Episcopalians may also seek such discernment, not in secret, nor within our sexual cantons, but together in Christ in whom "there is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female."

-- The Rev. Vicki Gray is deacon at Christ the Lord Church in Pinole, California and a member of the Executive Council of the Diocese of California.

In Theory: Gay priests are nominated

Costa Mesa Daily Pilot, CA

Monday, September 21, 2009

iNYC Celebrates Strides at General Convention

Integrity/NYC hosted a Solemn Eucharist at St. Luke in the Fields Church in Manhattan's historic Greenwich Village. About 60 people from across New York City and New Jersey gathered in thanksgiving for the strides made this summer by the Episcopal Church's General Convention on LGBTQ issues.

Read the rest at...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Weekly Witness For 18 September 2009

After Anaheim: The Conference

By John Clinton Bradley [Acting Executive Director] & Louise Brooks [Director of Communications]. Photos by Susan Russell and John Clinton Bradley.

Almost 50 local and national leaders of Integrity gathered last week at Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis for the After Anaheim conference.The core of the 4-day event was the Faith-Based Community Activism curriculum taught by Vicki Wunsch and David Lohman [shown in the photo] from the Institute for Welcoming Resources. Participants learned several tools for building our movement through graceful engagement…
  • Framing—How to identify a positive, effective, overarching message that resonates with those inside and outside the movement.
  • Story Telling—How to share a brief, personal story that includes a challenge, a choice, and an outcome. When speaking in public, how to tell the story of self, the story of us, and the story of now.
  • One-on-One—How to hold personal conversation to get to know another person.
  • Propositioning—How to ask another person to participate in the movement.

Click here to download a kit from IWR that explains these tools and others in detail.

Participants broke into small groups—national, provincial, and local--to discuss how they could use these tools as Integrity leaders. Participants also shared their hopes for Integrity over the next three years and identified their top three action items for Integrity's leadership to address in the strategic plan.

Faith-Based Community Activism is offered several times a year in cities across the country. Click here for a calendar. Integrity USA encourages all local leaders to attend a training event near them.

John Clinton Bradley presented a proposal for a welcoming parish program in the Episcopal Church similar to those operated by Integrity's sibling ministries in the other mainline denominations. The consensus of participants was that Integrity should make a few adjustments to the program and move forward with it.

Sung Park of Intersections gave participants a preview of Believe Out Loud—a multi-media campaign to be launched in early 2010. It will encourage clergy and laity in mainline Protestant denominations to publicly share their positions about LGBT equality.

After Anaheim also included the first annual Stakeholders' Council meeting. Outgoing President Susan Russell [shown in the photo] reviewed the progress Integrity has made over the past nine years she has been on the Board of directors. [A video of Susan's presentation will be available soon.] Incoming President David Norgard discussed recent changes made to the structure of the organization so that it can continue the forward movement of the Episcopal Church. Stakeholders Council Chairperson Joshua Blackwood explained the role of the council and brainstormed ideas for the work of the council. Josh announced that the next Stakeholders' Council meeting and leadership conference is tentatively scheduled for August 26-29, 2010, in Atlanta.

The outgoing and incoming national Board of Directors had a transitional meeting. They reflected on things done well, goals accomplished, and activities with better-than-expected results. They also reflected on things left undone, goals unmet, and activities with worse-than-expected results. They gave thanks for the ministry of the retiring members of the board and shared their hopes for the organization going forward.

The incoming board had a separate meeting to plan its work. This included discussions about the strategic plan, 2010 budget, communication protocols, ground rules for collaboration, position descriptions, and meeting schedules.

Finally, the new officers and provincial coordinators received training from Douglas Gould & Company on messaging and media relations.

Race, Faith, and Family

By John Clinton Bradley, Acting Executive Director

In late August I attended a 3-day meeting in Minneapolis with CEO's of Integrity's sibling organizations witnessing in the other major Protestant denominations. This gathering is held twice a year and is hosted by the Institute for Welcoming Resources [IWR].

The focus of this meeting was on the intersection of race, faith, and family and was led by consultant Beth Zemsky [shown in photo]. Based on the Intercultural Development Inventory that the CEO's took beforehand, all of our organizations are significantly less sensitive to intercultural differences than we perceive ourselves to be. We have few members and leaders of color because we minimize cultural differences rather than accept and adapt to them. IWR Program Director Rebecca Voelkel encouraged all of us to increase cultural sensitivity amongst our leadership and membership over the next 18-months. Integrity's incoming Board of Directors is discussing how to meet this challenge in its strategic plan.

Meanwhile, here are some actions YOU can take...
  • Attend Anti-Racism training workshops in your diocese or province.
  • Commit yourself to being a multiculturally competent person resisting racism
  • Challenge prejudice, intolerance, and racism in the church and the community wherever it exists
  • Join the Anti-Racism Committee in your diocese
  • Join with other denominations and faith traditions to dismantle institutional and systemic racism
  • See the connection between racism and other forms of oppression
  • Read and share articles, books and publications on racism and related oppressions to sustain you on your journey
Intercontinental Homophobia

By John Clinton Bradley, Acting Executive Director

Earlier this month I attended a small conference in Boston hosted by Political Research Associates to explore the links between anti-LGBT campaigns in mainline U.S. denominations and increasing homophobia on the African continent. Principal Investigator Kapya John Kaoma [an Anglican priest originally from Zambia but now active in the Diocese of Massachusetts shown in photo] presented a draft paper on this issue and sought our feedback. His research will be made public in the near future.

We also discussed what mainline denominations in the United States can do reduce homophobia in Africa. One concrete idea that emerged was to encourage welcoming and inclusive congregations in this country to form companion relationships with congregations in Africa. I am currently exploring how to design and implement such a program with my colleagues through the Institute for Welcoming Resources. Meanwhile, if your parish is LGBT-inclusive, consider initiating a companion relationship with a congregation in Africa. Chances are your bishop formed friendships with bishops in Africa during the Lambeth Conference and can help make connections.

Out in Scripture

HRC's Religion & Faith Program has released the completed "Out In Scripture" collection, which includes 175 conversations that span Bible readings organized according to the Revised Common Lectionary. For the past three years, week-by-week, the program provided conversations on Bible passages from more than 100 scholars and pastors representing 11 denominations. These conversations are now available in a complete collection online at

Progressive Clergy Overwhelming Support Same-Gender Marriage Or Civil Unions

On September 15th Public Religion Research released the 2009 Religious Progressive and Conservative Activist Surveys. Conducted by the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron. The surveys show the divergent ways conservative and progressive religious activists understand their religious identity, engage in politics, and prioritize issues. On the issue of same-sex marriage, conservatives overwhelmingly oppose (82%) both same-sex marriage and civil unions, while nearly 6-in-10 (59%) progressives support same-sex marriage, and another third support civil unions. For more information about this study, click here.

Two New Books

In Jupiter's ShadowBy Gregory GerardSearching for self-truth, a religious, teenage detective confronts Heaven and Hell as he struggles to solve the mysteries of sexuality and faith within a family full of secrets.
Plato or Paul?: The Origins of Western HomophobiaBy Theodore W., Jennings Jr.Explores the notion that the origin of modern Western homophobia lies in Plato's philosophy rather the Bible.
Click here to purchase them through Integrity's Amazon portal!

Unblogged News

Bay Area Reporter
Episcopal Church adopts trans-inclusive policies

Kalamazoo Gazette, MI
Gay bishop urges open mind on gender identity

Hartford Courant, CT
Gay Clergy Bans Lifted, One By One

Pomeroy Daily Sentinel, OH
National decisions on gays affecting local churches?

Christian Today
Gay bishop Gene Robinson divides opinion at Greenbelt Festival

Episcopal News Service
Listening Process a 'gift' to church

Dispatch Online
First US lesbian mayor marries

Episcopal News Service
Cape Town diocese requests pastoral guidelines for gay members

Associated Press
Gay clergy: Where large Protestant churches stand

Salt Lake Tribune
Gay bishop sees faith as key to civil-rights struggle

California Faith for Equality Looking For An ED

Job Title – Executive Director - California Faith for Equality (CFE)


Organizational Mission: To educate, support and mobilize California’s faith communities around a variety of equality issues as they relate to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, including marriage, employment discrimination and healthcare.


The ED will guide the newly incorporated California Faith for Equality (CFE), a state-wide multi-faith 501(c)3 organization which provides leadership and education to various faith traditions around a variety of equality issues with a near term focus on marriage equality.

The ED reports to the Board of Directors of CFE and a clergy Advisory Board, and is responsible for the organization's consistent achievement of its mission and financial objectives.  

In program development and administration, the Executive Director will: 

1. Implement the organization’s long-range strategy to achieve its mission, and move toward that goal with consistent and timely progress.

2. Provide leadership in developing program, organizational and financial plans with the Board of Directors and staff, and carry out plans and policies authorized by the Board.

3. Promote active and broad participation by volunteers in all areas of CFE's work.

4. Maintain official records and documents, and ensure compliance with federal, state and local regulations.

5. Maintain a working knowledge of significant developments and trends in the field.

In communications, the Executive Director will:

1. See that the Board is kept fully informed on the condition of the organization and all important factors influencing it.

2. Publicize the activities/programs of CFE in conjunction with the PR/Media Coordinator.

3. Establish sound working relationships and cooperative arrangements with relevant LGBT and religious affiliated community groups and organizations.

4. Represent the programs and point of view of CFE to agencies, organizations, and the general public.

In relations with staff, the Executive Director will:

1. Be responsible for the recruitment, employment, and release of all personnel, both paid staff and volunteers.

2. Ensure that job descriptions are developed, that regular performance evaluations are held, and that sound human resource practices are in place.

3. Encourage CFE staff and volunteer development and education, and assist program staff in relating their specialized work to the total program of the organization.

4. Maintain a climate that attracts, keeps, and motivates a diverse staff of top quality people.

In budget and finance, the Executive Director will:

1. Be responsible for developing and maintaining sound financial practices.

2. Work with the CFE staff and Board in preparing a budget; see that the organization operates within budget guidelines.

3. Ensure that adequate funds are available to permit the organization to carry out its work.

4. Jointly, with the executive committee of the Board of Directors conduct the official correspondence of the organization, and jointly, with designated officers, execute legal documents.


Overall Responsibilities:

  • Acquire full understanding of this unique organization through interviews with staff and board, review of policies, board and staff minutes, financial reports, website, grant proposals, recent correspondence and other significant paperwork.
  • Develop consistent internal controls, including policies and procedures pertaining to communications, fiscal oversight, employees, subcontractors, grantors/donors, and government agencies.
  • Assume supervisory responsibility for personnel including the Director of Interfaith Organizing, the Community Organizer, the volunteer coordinators and other staff as hired.



·         Understanding of and experience in working with the LGBT movement, diverse communities of faith and communities of Color and their inter-relationships

·         Ordination preferred but not required

·         Knowledge of and experience with non-profit management

·         Proven ability to fundraise including grant writing and donor cultivation

·         Experience with principles of community organizing

·         Commitment to and experience with coalition building

·         Supervisory experience

·         Excellent verbal and written communication skills

·         Must be able to travel and work some evenings and weekends

Salary is commensurate with experience.

Position Start Date January 4th, 2010


Please send an e-mail cover letter, resume, a one-page writing sample related to fundraising, and the names and contact information of three professional references to:   


Prior to a new incorporation as an independent organization as of 1/1/10, California Faith for Equality is under the fiscal sponsorship of the UULM-CA. UULM-CA is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, marital status, disability, family responsibility, veteran’s status, or any other status protected by applicable law.