Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kudos to Integrity Connecticut!

This past  weekend Integrity Connecticut celebrated the passage of Resolution # 6 at their diocesan convention: RESOLVED: That the 227th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut urges the Bishop of Connecticut to acknowledge that there are people living in same-gender relationships of mutuality and fidelity who want to be married by their clergy; and be it further RESOLVED: That the Bishop of this Diocese may permit the clergy of the Diocese to determine the appropriate generous pastoral response to meet the needs of the members of his or her own local Eucharistic community, including officiating at weddings of same-sex couples and acting as legal agents of the State in signing marriage licenses.

Resolution #6 was developed by Integrity Connecticut and sponsored by supportive clergy and lay delegates and was passed by a broad majority of the delegates present.
It is work like this done in the Diocese of Connecticut by Integrity Connecticut and their allies that will bring us one step further to achieving our goals for marriage equality at General Convention 2012.
Here is a letter from Larry Besel, Jr summing up their success:

Dear Integrity USA Friends,

I am delighted to report that our Diocesan Resolution calling upon our Bishop to permit our clergy to voluntarily marry same sex couples passed the 227th Convention of the Diocese of Connecticut! Approximately 75 to 80 percent of the convention delegates voted in support the resolution. The resolution brought about a generous amount of diverse dialogue including a discussion on whether the church should even be involved in the performing a function which might be better handled by local justice of the peace. There was a minor change made to our original wording, but nothing that would change the original intent. I will forward the final wording as it is posted from our Diocesan web site.

Copies of our videos were given to delegates during the two day convention/ We also distributed copies of the 8 page same sex marriage rite as authorized for use clergy of the Diocese of Washington (DC).

I've compiled some statistics which can be measures of interest in our initiative and present them below for folks who are interested in that sort of thing:

To date, our principle video "A Call for Marriage Equality in the Diocese of Connecticut" has been viewed 125 times on YouTube.

Statistics for our other videos as presented on YouTube are as follows::

Integrity Connecticut - Father Frank Kirkpatrick - History of Marriage in the Church had 51 views:

Integrity Connecticut - Father Don Hamer - A clergy's perspective had 64 views

Integrity Connecticut - Christene and Linda - Lesbian couple 70 views

Integrity Connecticut - Alex and Ryan - Gay couple 48 views

Integrity Connecticut - Tom and Enid Straight couple 30 views

Integrity Connecticut - Linda and Mark Straight couple 30 views

(You can view all these videos at the Integrity Connecticut website.)

Now that the convention is over we will refine the tags we use to bring people to these video - just haven't had the time up until now to focus on that as we were directing folks to it through the diocese blog of our resolution which had our website in the resolution.

Thirteen separate resolutions were up for consideration by our Convention. The Convention blog site statistics indicates 280 individuals viewed our resolution prior to the convention (there were approximately 600 delegates at the convention. The next highest number of individuals visiting a convention blog was 159 individuals who visited the blog related to a resolution calling for a 'Year-long Dialogue on Open Communion".

Finally, over the past 16 days, our Integrity Connecticut web site recorded 2330 hits with the vast majority of the hits being directed toward our Marriage Equality page our Alternative Rites for Same Sex Couples page and our Where Clergy May Officiate at Same Sex Marriages page.

Please accept my heart felt thanks for what each of you did to support our Chapter in this journey!


Larry Besel, Jr. - Convener
Integrity Connecticut

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Richardson attends South African Consultation on Justice & Sexuality

Integrity USA Vice President of National Affairs, the Rev. Jon M. Richardson, recently represented us at a consultation on justice and human sexuality in Durban, South Africa organized by our Chicago Consultation colleagues "working with the Ujaama Center in Kwazulu-Natal University—gathered 30 Anglican African Church leaders and 15 North Americans to discuss issues of justice and sexuality. For the first time on the continent of Africa in the Anglican Communion people came together to talk about both mission and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. "

Integrity USA applauds and celebrates the great work of our collaborative partners.

The Rev. Bonnie Perry, co-founder of the Chicago Consultation, preached a sermon about the recently concluded consultation to her congregation at All Saints Church in Chicago last Sunday. Here is a part of what she had to say:
"Every morning in small groups

we did Bible-study for an hour and half.
We poked and rolled around,
immersing ourselves
in our common scriptural heritage.
We listened to each other—
we talked about where we do ministry
and what our many challenges are.
Then we had tea.
Then people told their stories.
African and North American.
We listened deeply and intently.

Most of the Africans in attendance
were Biblical scholars—
far more educated than most of the Americans.
Surprise number one of many for me.
That said, this was for many of the Africans
the first time they’d met Americans.
Certainly the first time they’d ever related
to someone who happened
to be openly gay or lesbian.

We told our stories.
And our African sisters and brothers listened:

We dispelled half-truths and myths.
One man was under the impression that Bishop Gene Robinson—
the first out, gay partnered bishop of New Hampshire
was elected by gay people.
It was their belief that New Hampshire,
all of New Hampshire is gay.
For how else could this have happened?

A priest from Nigeria asked,
“But don’t you have all gay churches?”
He asked this with profound curiosity
and confusion after listening to my presentation
on our ministry here at All Saints.
He watched one of our annual meeting slide shows—
and your pictures—
did not fit his previous beliefs.

We can laugh—
we can shake our heads in disbelief.
But let me ask you this—
how much do you seriously know about villages in Kenya?
How many of us can even find Tanzania, Rwanda or Unganda on a map?
When we answered their open, honest, candid questions—
they listened and they believed us. "

You can read Perry's entire sermon on Episcopal Cafe here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

$35 in gratitude for 35 years

$35.00 for 35 years…

35 years ago at its 65th General Convention the Episcopal Church adopted a ground-breaking resolution affirming that “homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon love, acceptance and pastoral concern and care of the Church."

This resolution provided the foundation for 35 years of progress for LGBT Episcopalians including:

• inclusion of sexual orientation in the non-discrimination canons in 1994

• movement forward on the blessing of same-sex relationships in 2000 & 2003

• consent to the elections of Bishop Robinson in 2003 and Bishop Glasspool in 2010

Just two years after its 1974 founding Integrity helped the Church wake up to the need to open its doors and its sacraments to all of God’s beloved – and 35 years later we are still at it! Your gift of $35 in gratitude for 35 years of commitment to change can help us finally make that 1976 resolution a reality. Donate now.
That was then…This is now!

In 1976 Integrity challenged the 65th General Convention to address the full and equal claim of homosexual persons – and in 2012 Integrity will partner with TransEpiscopal to challenge the 77th General Convention to address the full and equal claim of transgender persons.

"Out of the Box: The Gender Continuum" – another in the award winning Voices of Witness DVD series -- will put the “T” in LGBT by celebrating the work and witness of the transgender community. We will meet the challenge of educating deputies and bishops on what it means to be transgender and why it is important for our canons to specifically include gender identity and gender expression. The DVD will be distributed – along with a study guide -- to all Bishops and Deputies prior to GC-2012.

And your $35 gift in thanksgiving for 35 years of activism will help make it happen. Donate now.

As God has blessed us, we are turning our gratitude into passion for even more justice. Together we can finish the work of claiming the church’s blessing for same-sex unions as we stand in new and powerful ways with our transgender sisters and brothers. Help Integrity continue to make history. Make your $35 donation now.

Thank you for your support,

Caro Hall
President of Integrity

PS Your $35 gift for 35 years today will be matched by our generous colleagues at the Arcus Foundation. Please give all you can and our partners will see to it that your gift is multiplied!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Integrity's Harry Knox reports on his recent road trip

On the road for Integrity this week, I had a unique opportunity to celebrate our past and to help shape our future. I was privileged to pray with two iconic leaders: Louie Crew, the courageous founder of Integrity - and Val Kalende, the young lesbian who has stepped into the leadership vacuum left when our martyr David Kato was murdered in Uganda.

I had a few minutes to reminisce with Louie and his partner Ernest Clay in Savannah as we helped Integrity Georgia celebrate it's 10th anniversary. History was made. For the first time since the chapter's founding, the resident bishop, The Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase, celebrated the Eucharist with Integrity members. But it was Louie's stories of the early days of Integrity that moved me most in those moments. He and Ernest laugh now about the frustration of being turned down by three printers as they sought to get out the first Integrity newsletter. They smile as they mention that the printer who finally agreed to produce a publication with the word gay in it, was a Muslim.

I remember rural Fort Valley, Georgia in 1974. It was a dangerous place to tell the truth about sexuality. And in that post-Watergate period, the country was in no mood for a new movement. Thanks be to God Louie and Ernest didn't wait until models were developed for LGBT advocacy, or for perfect conditions in which to begin. Their leap of faith in those uncertain days began a march with all of us that has brought us closer than ever to our goal of availability of all the sacraments to all the baptized in the Episcopal Church.

I left Savannah for New York and a meeting of a United Nations consultation on the decriminalization of homosexuality and gender variance, which was inspired by the work of Bp. Christopher Senjonyo in Uganda. As always, I was inspired by being with Bp. Christopher again. But the rare treat was the opportunity to meet in person the young woman who has accepted the mantle of public leadership of her queer peers in Uganda since the assassination of Davis Kato. Val Kalende thanked us for our support of Sexual Minorities in Uganda (SMUG), asked for our continued support, and reminded us of the importance of encouraging indigenous, culturally appropriate movements among LGBT people in other lands. Like Integrity in 1974, they are finding out what works for them in their setting. They need our prayers, our practical help for the vital basics of every organization, like computers, office space and gasoline - the worldly implements through which Holy Spirit reaps a harvest of reconciliation. For more information contact the Rev. Albert Ogle at:

What a privilege to gaze at icons of our past and future as I prayed this week for Integrity. Please be sure you are praying for Integrity, too!

Harry Knox+
Executive Director
Integirty USA

Archbishop Tutu challenges Presbyterian Church to do the right thing.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a longtime champion of peace and justice, celebrated his 80th birthday last week. That does not mean retirement for Tutu. He continues to be a worldwide opinion leader calling for inlcusion in the Anglican Communion and elsewhere. Here is a copy of the Open Lettter he sent this week to the Presbyterian Church (USA)..

To Rev. Grayde Parsons, Stated Clerk, Presbyterian Church (USA)

Dear Brother in Christ,

I am writing you with the request that you share these thoughts with my brothers and sisters in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.):

It is incumbent upon all of God’s children to speak out against injustice. It is sometimes equally important to speak in solidarity when justice has been done. For that reason I am writing to affirm my belief that in making room in your constitution for gay and lesbian Christians to be ordained as church leaders, you have accomplished an act of justice.

I realize that among your ecumenical partners, some voices are claiming that you have done the wrong thing, and I know that you rightly value your relationship with Christians in other parts of the world. Sadly, it is not always popular to do justice, but it is always right. People will say that the ones you are now willing to ordain are sinners. I have come to believe, through the reality shared with me by my scientist and medical friends, and confirmed to me by many who are gay, that being gay is not a choice. Like skin color or left-handedness, sexual orientation is just another feature of our diversity as a human family. How wonderful that God has made us with so much diversity, yet all in God’s image! Salvation means being called out of our narrow bonds into a broad place of welcome to all.

You are undoubtedly aware that in some countries the church has been complicit in the legal persecution of lesbians and gays. Individuals are being arrested and jailed simply because they are different in one respect from the majority. By making it possible for those in same-gender relationships to be ordained as pastors, preachers, elders, and deacons, you are being a witness to your ecumenical partners that you believe in the wideness of God’s merciful love.

For freedom Christ has set us free. In Christ we are not bound by old, narrow prejudice, but free to embrace the full humanity of our brothers and sisters in all our glorious differences. May God bless you as you live into this reality, and may you know that there are many Christians in the world who continue to stand by your side.

God bless you.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu (Cape Town, South Africa)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

In honor of National Coming Out Day...................

Integrity celebrates  National Coming Out Day by publishing two fabulous blogs from two fabulous Episcopal priests. The first is from Integrity President, the Rev. Dr. Caroline Hall. The second comes from one of our most  valiant straight allies, the Rev. Ed Bacon of All Saints Church, Pasadena, CA.  Enjoy and share.

“Lazarus, come out!”
The. Rev. Dr. Caroline Hall
St Benedict's, Los Osos
President, Integrity USA

Today we celebrate National Coming Out Day and I find myself wondering to whom I can come out. I am fortunate to live in a relatively liberal part of California, in a diocese which has been welcoming and affirmative for longer than I’ve been an Episcopalian. The people I know (and a lot who I don’t know) know I’m lesbian. I’ve been on TV and I’ve been on radio etc. etc. – what else is there to do?

There’s actually a lot still to do. There are still many LGBTQ people in this community who think all churches are judgmental and unsafe. It’s harder to come out as Christian than to come out as gay. Even though my congregation is clearly welcoming (we have two openly partnered gay clergy) LGBTQ people are not flocking to the door. Many of my congregation are parents, friends and allies of ours, but there are few LGBTQ people who visit more than once.


I’m not sure. I can make some guesses, but I don’t want to take up your time with navel gazing. What’s important is for me to realize that coming out goes two ways.

For some of us coming out means taking another step in sharing our identity with friends and co-workers. For others it means sharing our faith with those same people. For some parishes it means having important conversations within the church, for others like mine, it means finding a way to come out and be more visible and more present in the LGBTQ community.

This evening I will be challenging a small group of parishioners who gather on Tuesdays for a non-traditional service of Vespers to think about Coming Out and what it means. Fo Lazarus it meant life, light and hope.

What does it means for you and your parish?

The. Rev. Dr. Caroline Hall
St Benedict's, Los Osos
President, Integrity USA
"Being Gay Is A Gift From God!"
The Rev. J. Edwin Bacon
Rector, All Saints Church
Pasadena, CA

As a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show in January 2009, I said, "Being gay is a gift from God." Those seven words -- spoken to a call-in viewer from Atlanta -- set off a ripple of response that lit up Oprah's switchboard, almost crashed our parish email server and continues to bring people toward us here at All Saints Church in Pasadena. And that moment continues to be for me an iconic example of how important it is for people of faith to confront discrimination against our LGBT brothers and sisters by standing up and by speaking out.

It is why on this National Coming Out Day 2011, I believe it is no longer enough for LGBT people to come out and let the world know who they were created to be, although that continues to be a courageous and transformational act. It is time for Christians to come out and let the world see the Church as it was created to be: a vehicle of love and justice, not a bastion of bigotry and homophobia.

It is time for people of faith to speak out against the religion-based bigotry that has for too long fueled the fires of homophobia that perpetuate violence against LGBT people and plant the seeds of self-loathing in LGBT youth.

And it is time to take to heart the words of Rabbi Abraham Heschel, who famously said, "Few are guilty, but all are responsible." I may not be guilty of the religion-based bigotry that has wounded countless members of God's beloved LGBT children, but I am responsible for offering a counter-narrative to the lies that have been told about the God I serve -- the God of love, justice and compassion.

My faith tradition teaches that the truth will set you free -- and the truth is: God loves.

The truth is: love trumps.

And the truth is: Being gay is a gift from God.

The Rev. J. Edwin Bacon
Rector, All Saints Church
Pasadena, CA

Monday, October 10, 2011

No Tears For Queers

No Tears for Queers: Remembering Matthew Shepard
The Rev. Canon Ed Sniecienski

History teaches us that eventually things get turned upside down. Saints, during their lives, are often misunderstood. When will we learn to be thoughtful about who we label saint or sinner? Pay attention, because saints come in ways that we’re all too often not prepared for.

Speaking of someone many label a saint, Matthew Shepherd died 14  years ago on October 12. There are many things that could be said on the anniversary of Matthew’s death and undoubtedly there will be no shortage of reflections about a life that could have been. I started to wonder what Matthew would have to say. I started to wonder about how Matthew feels now. In prayer it came to me............

“LGBT brothers and sisters, its ok – God made it so. Parents, brothers, sisters, neighbors, strangers, friends, foes, saints and sinners, like it or not, God made it so.

I’m no saint and don’t make me out to be one. At my funeral, I saw a sign that read 'no tears for queers' and I agree. Tears are for the children of God, not for the labels by which we’re defined. I knew my truth because I listened to God speak through my heart. My truth is His truth and it empowers me to be who I am.

The funny thing about truth is that we don’t really understand the freedom it brings. Being a truth teller is hard and telling ourselves the truth, even harder. Most people don’t get it. But when they do tell themselves the truth about who they are and when they live steadfastly into their truth they begin to live their lives out loud. Here's the  truth I want to share with you: Living my life out loud inspired others to start living their lives out loud. They began to wonder what their truth was and perhaps find the courage to tell themselves and others that truth and begin to live their lives out loud. What if we lived in a world where everyone lived their lives out loud…it might look a lot like “God’s Kingdom.”

Live out loud, find fresh vision; love so deeply that you’re free to face the future with a steady eye forgiven and strong in hope.

On a cold dark Wyoming night, naked, beaten and tied to a fence, I realized I was living my life out loud. I was naked before God, strong in hope, full of forgiveness, very much at peace, and free.



Ed Sniecienski’s professional career encompasses forty years of diverse experience in the fields of Education, Business and Non-profits. In 2001, he joined the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles as special assistant and senior advisor to the Bishop. In January, 2005, Ed was ordained a Deacon in the Episcopal Church and named Canon in 2007. Recently, he launched Discern with Me an interactive web site where we can share with each other our journeys through the “in-between” places of our lives. Ed is a proud member of Integrity and the LGBT community.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bishop of Minnesota Speaks Out for Marriage Equality

From its very origins, the Episcopal Church in Minnesota has always stood with the marginalized. Race, ethnicity, gender, gender orientation or immigrant we have embraced both the Gospel mandate of love of neighbor and the Baptismal Covenant imperative to respect the dignity of every human being. Any actions, whether sacred or secular — such as the proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit our LGBT brothers and sisters from the rights and privileges that the rest of Minnesotans enjoy - are considered to be marginalizing and contrary to the Gospel, the Baptismal Covenant and our history.
The Rt. Rev. Brian N. Prior
IX Bishop, Episcopal Church of Minnesota


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Church of Ireland Commits To Listening Process

The Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of Ireland released this statement on a listening process to begin soon. Integrity USA applauds the Archbishops and Bishops for their committment to a process of sharing views and stories. It is only by listening to the witness of the LGBT community that hearts and minds will change.

We met over three days in an atmosphere of prayer and worship to reflect on current disquiet in the Church caused by disagreements on the matter of human sexuality. We acknowledge that this tension is a cause of distress to many.

Our discussions were frank and careful and, at times, painful. We committed ourselves to listen carefully to one another and speak openly about our differences within the context of a variety of reactions within the Church. Strengthened by our honest interchange of views, we corporately agreed a way forward.

A pastoral letter to the Church will be issued through the Clergy in the next few days. It will highlight key themes and outline a process by which the Church may move forward. This will involve a major conference in Spring 2012 to which members of the General Synod and others will be invited. The conference will provide an important opportunity to learn from and listen to one another as the Church strives to discern the mind of Christ.

As Bishops we commit ourselves to work together on these issues. In addition, we envisage that further study and research on biblical, theological and legal issues will be required.

The Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of Ireland
The Most Revd Alan Harper, Archbishop of Armagh
The Most Revd Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin & Glendalough
The Most Revd Richard Clarke, Bishop of Meath & Kildare
The Rt Revd Harold Miller, Bishop of Down & Dromore
The Rt Revd Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne & Ross
The Rt Revd Ken Clarke, Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin & Ardagh
The Rt Revd Ken Good, Bishop of Derry & Raphoe
The Rt Revd Michael Burrows, Bishop of Cashel & Ossory
The Rt Revd Alan Abernethy, Bishop of Connor
The Rt Revd Trevor Williams, Bishop of Limerick & Killaloe
The Rt Revd Patrick Rooke, Bishop of Tuam, Killala & Achonry
The Rt Revd John McDowell, Bishop of Clogher

Changing Attitude Ireland is a Church of Ireland group with ecumenical friends, gay and heterosexual, lay and ordained, working for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons within our churches. It is dedicated to celebrating and maintaining the traditional inclusivity and diversity of the Anglican Communion.

Here is their statement in response.

The Secretary of Changing Attitude Ireland, Canon Charles Kenny, welcomed the Church of Ireland Archbishops' and Bishops' Statement on human sexuality. According to Canon Kenny “Changing Attitude Ireland are happy to hear that the Bishops are committing themselves to listening and speaking openly about these complicated issues. It is our hope and prayer that churchmen and women will respond to this call for serious and thoughtful seeking out of the mind of Christ for our day” He added that “We hope that the atmosphere at the proposed Conference will make it possible for gay and lesbian church people, lay and clerical, to participate honestly in the discussion about human sexuality”.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Susan Russell takes on the American Family Association

From An Inch At A Time.............................

They’re at it again.

"They" are the so-called "American Family Association" -- and they've launched yet-another attack on LGBT Americans -- this time taking on the Pentagon's decision to allow military chaplains to perform same-sex marriages. Check it out (from an email received this morning:)

The Pentagon has decided that military chaplains will be allowed to perform same-sex unions on military installations. This is despite the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act which defines marriage for federal purposes as the union of one man and one woman.

This decision clearly violates the spirit of DOMA, since the result will be that federal employees and facilities funded by American taxpayers will be used to perform ceremonies that are prohibited from any kind legal recognition under federal law.

This is just more example of our military leaders caving in to the homosexual agenda. While conservative chaplains aren't being forced to perform same-sex marriages yet, it will only be a matter of time before they are tagged as "intolerant" for refusing to do so and forced to choose between their values and a career in the military.

According to the Constitution, Congress has authority to "make rules" for the military. TAKE ACTION. Urge your congressional delegation today to enact legislation prohibiting chaplains from performing same-sex weddings on military installations.

Seriously. That's what the "American Family Association" thinks Congress should be focused on. Enacting legislation to keep military chaplains from presiding at same-sex weddings. Because the biggest threat to the American Family are CLEARLY the hordes of same-sex military couples who will be beating down the doors of chaplains now that DADT is history.

Never mind our kids don't have healthcare, our schools are falling apart, unemployment is rampant, corporate greed continues to bleed our economy dry and we're about to mark the 10th anniversary of the War in Afghanistan -- yep ... small potatoes for the American Family Association. They're worried about making sure the soldiers who are putting their lives on the line to defend liberty and justice for all don't have the liberty to marry the love of their life or the justice of equal protection for their families.

Attempting to cast chaplains as victims for declining to celebrate same-sex weddings is the same red-herring B***S*** they drag out at every opportunity -- and completely ignores the fact that no Catholic chaplain has ever been compelled to marry a divorced couple against his conscience, no Orthodox rabbi has ever been compelled to preside at an interfaith wedding contrary to their faith and No. Clergy. Person. Ever. Has. To. Marry. Anybody.
So here's what we do with whatever the American Family Association tells us to do.

The. Opposite.

Call your Senator. Write your Representative. Tell them you support the Pentagon's decision allowing chaplains to preside at same-sex marriages. And while you have them tell them to help President Obama put DOMA where he said it belongs ... in the history books with DADT.

Go. Do it. Now.

The Rev. Canon Susan Russell is a Sr. Associate Rector at All Saints Church, Pasadena, CA., a past President and frequent spokesperson for Integrity USA.

Integrity USA Launches Strategic Storytelling Workshops

Integrity New Orleans hosted a day of both conversation and celebration when members met on Saturday, September 24th at Trinity Church. The Right Reverend Morris Thompson, Bishop of Louisiana, celebrated and preached at the morning Eucharist which was followed by a luncheon and afternoon workshop entitled “Telling Our Stories.”

The day was designed to empower participants to become equality opinion leaders in their churches and communities and to teach the power of strategic story-telling. “Our goal today is to equip Integrity members to change hearts and minds through the power of their stories,” said Communication Director Louise Brooks, who was the featured speaker at the afternoon workshop. “We know that the Holy Spirit is working through individuals to move the Church closer to the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments and it’s a privilege to be partners in that process.”

Bishop Thompson, who engaged in informal conversation about issues of LGBT equality with the group over lunch, affirmed the impact of personal witness. “It changed everything for me when I was able to put a face on the issue,” he said. “Learning to tell your stories today is a really good thing.”

“Integrity is calling on individuals and congregations to “believe out loud,” continued Brooks. “And gatherings like this one in New Orleans provide the “how to” by equipping participants to use strategic story-telling to be agents of change for equality and inclusion.”

For more information about the “Telling Your Story” workshop – or to arrange to host one in your congregation or community contact Louise at