Thursday, February 27, 2014

Prayers for the Rev. Gwen Fry, Transgender Priest in Arkansas

Integrity USA and TransEpiscopal are sad to report that the Rev. Gwen Fry, who came out last weekend as a transgender woman, is no longer the Priest in Charge of Grace Episcopal Church in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. We stand behind her leadership, courage, and integrity during this time. We also recognize and applaud the support offered to her and to Grace Church by the Right Rev. Larry Benfield, Bishop of Arkansas.  

For those seeking background information on this situation, we commend you to read the statements both Bishop Benfield and Gwen have shared, which are on the Diocese of Arkansas web site.

The Episcopal Church is committed to the full incorporation and equality of transgender and gender nonconforming people. As Bishop Benfield noted in a local news article, at its 2012 General Convention the Episcopal Church passed resolution D019, which stated "that no one shall be denied rights, status or access to an equal place in the life, worship, and governance of the Episcopal Church" on the basis of gender identity and expression. It also passed resolution D002 which barred discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression in access to the ordination process. As a church we have declared, as our former Presiding Bishop the Most Rev. Edmund Browning once said, that "there will be no outcasts."

In her initial announcement, Gwen  described "an amazing opportunity to learn, to grow, to seek out and find the risen Christ in one another in ways we might never have expected." We hope that the whole church will seize this chance to learn, to be vulnerable, to know one another more authentically, to deepen their membership in Christ’s body.

As our Church continues in the ongoing process of learning and exploring what it means to have transgender people in community and in leadership, Integrity is proud to offer a wide range of educational resources, including the short film Voices of Witness: Out of the Box.

Gwen's commitment to living honestly, to letting her light shine, to growing into her full stature as a member of Christ’s body stands as a beacon of inspiration to all of us as we seek and serve Christ in all people, loving our neighbors as ourselves.

This weekend, Transfiguration Sunday will be observed across The Episcopal Church. We will hear the story of how Jesus walked up a mountain and was gloriously transformed beside Moses and Elijah as three bewildered disciples looked on in amazement.  Only in Matthew’s gospel does Jesus bend down, touch them, and say, "get up, and do not be afraid."

This message could not be more timely today.  As we stand together on God’s holy mountain, may we be strengthened to walk together through the challenges that lie before us, confident that in the process we will be changed into Christ’s likeness "from glory to glory."


A Statement from the Rev. Gwen Fry
I would like to express my sincere and deepest thanks to all of my family, colleagues, and friends who have reached out in support of me, of my family, and of our respective parishes. Not all of life’s journeys are ones we expect to take. They can be both challenging and filled with wonder. On Sunday I began a journey of conversation and education, of vulnerability, of transition. Because gender transition is something with which many are unfamiliar, it is only natural that there are questions. There may be anxiety, and at times we may stumble. But we also have an amazing opportunity to learn, to grow, to seek out and find the risen Christ in one another in ways we might never have expected. To do this well, I would like to engage with a spirit of respect, patience, peace, and prayer. Everyone needs space and time to talk and listen, to make adjustments, to make mistakes and ask forgiveness, to trust in the communal power of our membership in the body of Christ. My prayer is that we actively cultivate trust, patience, and respect, that we might rediscover the peace of Christ. I invite us all to continue prayerfully walking together in faith.
The Rev. Gwen Fry

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

An Open Letter to Gov. Jan Brewer On Senate Bill 1062

Dear Gov. Brewer,

I, like many in this country and across the world, am watching Arizona intently to see whether or not you choose to veto SB1062. This may seem like an issue that impacts only your state, but it truly has a global impact and I feel called to reach out to you.

To let you know where I am coming from, Governor Brewer, here is some background. I am a social
worker working with folks who are trying to get back on their feet and live as responsible and productive citizens. I do this work because, like you, I love this country and believe this country can be a better place. I also do this work because I am a Christian who takes her religious teachings seriously. On Sundays, I teach Church school, and talk with elementary schoolers about what it means to live as followers of Christ. I am in a loving relationship with a wonderful individual, who is working in poverty alleviation because, like you, she believes this country and this world can be better.

I come from a loving Christian family, like many Arizona families. At one point, though, I felt very far from Christ. You see, Governor Brewer, I am a lesbian in a loving relationship with another woman. There was a point where I wanted so much to be who it was God made me to be and I was so afraid that who I was was wrong. I was afraid I was wrong because laws around me said that people like me were threats to religion and Christ who had to be protected against. Because of these laws, I stayed quiet in pain for years. Fortunately, I have come to find a life and a life in Christ that embraces me for who I am and allows me to work on making this country better.

Governor Brewer, SB1062 will not benefit or protect your state. What it will do instead is make children feel that they are bad or wrong for being exactly who they were created to be. It will tell them that they are threats to be feared and legislated against. It will stifle wonderful children who could grow to better your state, this country, and this world. I speak from experience, as one of those children. I urge you to do what is right for Arizona, for kids who will grow up to love someone of the same gender, and for this country by vetoing SB1062.



You too can contact Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and ask her, as a person of faith, to veto anti-LGBTQ bill SB1062. You can contact Governor Brewer through this link:

Marie is an Episcopalian and a social worker from Massachusetts who is constantly being challenged by her faith and career to expand her notions of community. In her spare time, she can be found doing yoga, semi-successfully learning needle point, and dreaming about cat ownership.

Monday, February 24, 2014

PRESS RELEASE: Integrity Condemns New Anti-LGBT Law in Uganda

Integrity is shocked and saddened by the news that President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has signed into law the draconian anti-homosexuality law that introduces long prison sentences for gays and lesbians and makes it a crime to fail to report someone you believe to be gay. This will increase anti-gay hatred and set in place a renewed witch-hunt in which many people will be hurt.

We call upon the Church of Uganda to take seriously its commitment to Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10 in which Anglican Communion bishops committed themselves "to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and… to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptized, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ." Such a commitment in a time like this will surely include providing places of sanctuary for those whose lives are threatened.

Our hearts go out to our LGBTQ sisters and brothers who this morning are living in fear of betrayal by friends, family and neighbors and of long-term imprisonment.

It is unfortunate that Uganda should choose this way, according to a government spokesperson, "to demonstrate Uganda’s independence in the face of Western pressure and provocation." Uganda’s symbolic independence is being won on the backs of one class of citizens and this will provoke fear and confusion among the very people Museveni is elected to serve.

Integrity hopes that President Obama will follow up on his comment that this could complicate US relations with Uganda and will seriously consider the reduction of US aid until Uganda can show a better record of human rights.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Segregation in the Guise of Religious Freedom

It seems to me that at the core of all the major world religions is the principle of compassion. Yet we humans have funny ways of showing that compassion to those with whom we disagree. Fundamentalists of every faith seem to turn away from the fundamental of compassion to its opposite, legalism and judgmentalism.  In this country we are seeing a marriage of both Catholicism and evangelicalism with right-wing politics, an unholy alliance which came into being in the 1970s and continues to be supported by right-wing political organizations fueled by fear of lesbian, gay and transgender inclusion. The newest manifestation of this is the proliferation of “Religious Freedom Restoration Acts” being introduced in state legislatures around the country.

These acts seem to be benign attempts to make sure that everyone has freedom of religion but in fact they are thinly disguised attacks on the LGBT community. The attempt in Kansas was quickly brought up short, but Arizona’s more draconian bill has made it through both House and Senate and will likely be signed into law by the governor in the next week.  This would allow anyone to use religious conscience as a reason to refuse service of any kind to anyone. (I encourage you to sign a petition asking the governor to veto it.)
Since 1976 The Episcopal Church has been committed to fighting discrimination against LGBT people, and we need to continue this work wherever discrimination surfaces.  The Very Rev Troy Mendez of Trinity Cathedral, Phoenix urges us to see this work in the context of Jesus’ call for us to be peacemakers in his statement issued jointly with the Right Rev Kirk Smith, Bishop of the Diocese of Arizona.

We LGBTQ folk, our loved ones, and allies have a right to be angry that these laws are being introduced apparently to promote freedom but actually to introduce a new form of apartheid. We are right to be angry about this concerted backlash against the increasing freedom we are enjoying federally and in some states. But if our anger fuels our hatred against those who are acting out of fear and ignorance, then they have won. If our anger leads us to turn away from involvement in public life, disengaging in disgust from a process that seeks to exclude us, then they have won.

Jesus gave us the supreme example of non-violent resistance. So, as his followers let us be fired by our anger to take action but action which continues to recognize that even those who seek to exclude us are also beloved of God.  Please take note of the bills being introduced to the legislature in your state and start working now to make sure that, as in Kansas, they are defeated by the pressure of public opinion.

Our work is not done until we have created a world where compassion underlies every action.

The Rev. Dr. Caroline Hall is the President of Integrity and author of A Thorn in the Flesh: How Gay Sexuality is Changing the Episcopal Church.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Progress, Diocese of Texas Style (Or How A High Strung Gender Non-conforming Radical Goes To Council)

In the Diocese of Texas, Canon 43 effectively prohibits partnered gay and lesbian priests from working
within our diocese. It does this by setting a "standard of abstinence from sexual relations outside of Holy Matrimony". In the next paragraph, Holy Matrimony is defined as the "physical and spiritual union of a man and a woman...and with intent that it be lifelong".

Photo by S. Wayne Mathis
Progressives have been trying to remove, replace or amend this canon annually for many years. Each attempt is met with strong opposition often ending with very strident floor fights during Diocesan Council.

This year, the more radical elements of the progressive wing of our diocese tried a different approach. A core group of dedicated folks (including many of the Integrity Houston Board), put together a grassroots movement to amend the canon. With the help of lawyers and theologians and with months of rewrites, we came up with a proposed amendment. We worked hard at tempering our language to achieve a very sane and rational amendment, surprising both our supporters and opponents alike. With a deadline looming, we gathered 103 cosponsors in about 10 days. Of this number, 98 were laity and 5 were clergy (2 active and 3 retired). After meeting the Canons and Constitutions Committee deadline, we continued to gather support for the amendment. A careful strategy was in place heading into council. The radicals (myself in particular) were to remain in the background and we would move forward in a calculated approach putting forth our best team players.

In a bold move, Bishop Andy Doyle addressed the issue of Canon 43 within the opening Bishop's address. In his address (which can be found at, he directly asked the sponsors that the amendment not be brought to the floor of council. He asked for the opportunity to address Canon 43 in a way similar to the way "Unity in Mission" (a program for same-sex blessings of lay LGBT couples) had been introduced. Under these circumstances, we decided that we simply must withdraw the amendment, honor his request, and allow him the opportunity he so clearly asked for. We felt to have done otherwise would have harmed our position. The withdrawal and its timing gained us favor throughout the diocese. We were able to keep our dignity and to establish the fact of being able and willing to work with the bishop's office.

While monitoring the progress of this issue, we stand ready to assist in educational efforts. At the same time, we are poised to take action again at the next diocesan council if we are needed.

Having always been part of the core of the amendment to 43 movement and ultimately the spokesperson at council, I would like to share my personal feelings.

1. This was grassroots at its finest. We would not take a "wait and see" approach, our traditional sources of support did not immediately back us up, and yet we kept marching forward. As council approached and the amendment gathered momentum, our long time allies again stood with us. Lines of communication with the Bishop were evident throughout the final days so that our efforts, our opponents' efforts, and even the Bishop's intentions did not come as a surprise to anyone. Transparency was our motto.

2. We were fighting for those who have no voice. In this and in many other dioceses, gay and lesbian clergy cannot fight for their own equality. If we do not speak up, then who will?

3. Even though the amendment was withdrawn, OUR efforts brought the issue to the table. It can now be addressed in a peaceful non-combative manner.

4. This was a TEAM effort, each of us had a role to play and none of us felt ALONE. Some folks worked on the legal aspects, others worked on the theological aspects. My role was to manage the final amendment, keep track of sponsors, and to co-lead the efforts at council. The team always had my back.

Photo by S. Wayne Mathis
5. At council (in my purple shoes of course), I found myself in the unique position of holding our "team" together. I felt honored and privileged to speak and to act on behalf of our side. I was treated with the utmost respect by Bishop Doyle, by Maria Boyce the chair of the Canons and Constitutional Committee, and also by the Chancellor David Harvin. Throughout the two day council, I was greeted with words of support and encouragement from longtime friends as well as dozens of folks that simply knew of me and the work that I was trying to accomplish.

6. I believe that I gained greater respect and acceptance as a leader within my own parish delegation as a result of being able to work directly with the bishop while holding fast to my core values. I instinctively knew when to push hard, when to hold back and when to compromise.

7. My LGBT activism within the church has often been an uphill battle with no end in sight. There were times, that I felt very isolated and without hope. Every time that I would want to give up and leave the church, God would always send someone or something that would hold me back and provide me strength to not give up. Integrity at all levels has often been that sustaining force. The local chapter allows me the opportunity to lead and to their credit they never cringe when I show up in drag for the pride parade or when I stand before them asking them for donations for a cause. National Integrity has also welcomed me into their fold first as a volunteer at General Convention and now as Provincial Coordinator and also as a member of the Stakeholders. I have met so many great people along the way and I hold each of you in my heart and you travel with me every step of the way. Likewise, my mama taught me to care about justice and equality long before I ever realized that I was gay. She too travels in my heart.

8. I hope that I can give back to the LGBT (and allies) community even a fraction of the love that I have received.

9. I thank God for allowing me the tenacity to carry on because I have seen the Light of Hope. If God can use a high strung gender non-conforming radical from a small parish of a small town in a very conservative state, then God can use anyone. I stand as a symbol of HOPE. Never give up on yourself or each other. There is LIGHT and there is HOPE.

Mr. S Wayne Mathis serves as the Provincial Coordinator of Province VII.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Church of England Takes Another Backwards Step

Archbishop Justin Welby

Archbishop Justin Welby
The Church of England has an interesting system of alternating evangelicals and Catholics when appointing the Archbishop of Canterbury. It seems that they are adopting a similar system for the control of their (possibly) unruly LGBT members. The Pilling Report published at Thanksgiving offered some (small) hope that attitudes were shifting, with its recommendation that clergy could be allowed to offer a service to mark same-gender unions. This pleased liberals and annoyed conservatives. But just a day after St. Valentine’s Day, the Church of England House of Bishops made it quite clear that that’s not going to happen any time soon.

Responding to the fact that same-gender marriages will happen in the UK starting next month, they issued a pastoral statement saying once again that marriage is only for a man and a woman. Consequently, CofE clergy, already banned from performing such weddings, may not offer a service of any kind – merely "informal prayers." Not surprisingly, this is annoying liberals and pleasing conservatives.

It wouldn't all be quite so baffling if the same House of Bishops hadn't stated just last month, "We are united in welcoming and affirming the presence and ministry within the Church of gay and lesbian people, both lay and ordained. We are united in acknowledging the need for the Church to repent for the homophobic attitudes it has sometimes failed to rebuke and affirming the need to stand firmly against homophobia wherever and whenever it is to be found."

Why then, do this pastoral statement and its accompanying guidelines make it very clear that gay Anglican clergy may not marry and married gay people need not apply to become clergy?

"Marriage" is socially defined. A quick survey of the history of marriage shows that it has meant different things at different times and in different places. The only difference the CofE seems to make between civil partnerships (which it allows for gay clergy) and marriage (which is reserved for heterosexuals) is gender. Is banning people from being able to live their lives fully and joyfully just because of gender "standing firmly against homophobia?” I don’t think so.

The fact that the statement was sent to bishops and archbishops throughout the Anglican Communion makes it seem as though this statement had a particular audience. Whereas the Pilling Report, which seemed to open the door of equality just a chink, was directed at the Church of England, this missive was directed at the Anglican Communion. Just as the Most Rev. Rowan Williams found it politically necessary shortly after his appointment to declare Lambeth 1.10 the "standard of teaching” of the Anglican Communion, thus promulgating the notion that homosexual activity is incompatible with Scripture, so now the Most Rev. Justin Welby may be finding it necessary to show that he’s not going "soft” on gay marriage.

The day before the statement was published, he told the General Synod of the CofE "There is great fear among some, here and round the world, that [special services for gay couples] will lead to the betrayal of our traditions, to the denial of the authority of scripture, to apostasy, not to use too strong a word,”… "And there is also a great fear that our decisions will lead us to the rejection of LGBT people, to irrelevance in a changing society, to behaviour that many see akin to racism."

It seems that once again the Archbishop of Canterbury is choosing to bow to those Anglicans who insist on a traditionalist view of Christian teaching rather than daring to boldly re-interpreting God’s grace for contemporary times.

My heart goes out to those in England who will pay the price.

The Rev. Dr. Caroline Hall is the President of Integrity and author of A Thorn in the Flesh: How Gay Sexuality is Changing the Episcopal Church.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

On Valentine's Day, Not Everybody's Dancing

LGBT Christians have had much to celebrate recently... the number of states providing legal marriage quality has pretty much doubled, and other countries have followed suit.  About two-thirds of the domestic dioceses of our church are using -- in some fashion -- the official rite for blessing same-gender relationships that was adopted by resolution at the 2012 General Convention.

"Looking for Love" by Alan Cleaver
Used under Creative Commons License
But as our culture holds up all things romantic and our welcoming congregations greet happy LGBT couples with open arms, it is important to remember that not everybody has a partner, and not everybody is celebrating. Single LGBT people have their own pastoral needs, particularly because their secular lives can be a bit of a battleground.

I wrote recently in my personal blog about how smart-phone apps have turned gay male dating into a GPS-powered scavenger hunt where a stamp-sized photo and the right set of acronyms are your only tools. Those who don't resemble the airbrushed images that saturate gay-targeted media find themselves at a disadvantage where the self-appointed top of the hierarchy are young, muscular, Caucasian and (distressingly) "straight-acting". Among the rest of us is a self-defeating tendency to idolize that which we are not, and our desirability is dependent on the degree to which we can "pass".

For a whole lot of reasons, our folks are statistically more likely to be unemployed, homeless, addicted and depressed, not because there is something inherently wrong with them; we just frequently have a tougher row to hoe, and it takes a toll.  As we know, the church traditionally bears some responsibility for this collateral damage, and thus we need to have a role in healing as well.  Even those who are coping nicely, thank you, would appreciate to be intentionally and specifically included in your programs and prayers.

As your congregation reviews its wedding customary to include same-gender couples and makes plans to observe Pride, please be mindful to include the whole LGBT community, not just those with shiny new rings.

Christian Paolino is the Chair of Integrity's Stakeholders' Council and Diocesan Organizer for Newark.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Federal Rulings on Marriage in Kentucky, Virginia

LGBT Virginians woke up to some positive news this Valentine's Day. A federal judge ruled on Thursday that the commonwealth's constitutional amendment banning same-gender marriage is at odds with the U.S. constitution, and that Virginia must recognize such marriages conducted in other states.  The decision by the Hon. Arenda L. Wright Allen of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, in Norfolk, was immediately appealed by marriage equality opponents, and Judge Allen stayed her ruling while the case is heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond.  By advancing the case to a higher court, the stakes are also raised: a Fourth Circuit ruling could also affect similar bans in the Carolinas and West Virginia.  Maryland and Washington DC, which are also part of the Fourth Circuit, already have marriage equality.

"Our Constitution declares that 'all men' are created equal," wrote Judge Allen in her decision. "Surely this means all of us."

Susan Pederson
Integrity Province III Coordinator
The news was welcomed by Integrity's Province III Coordinator Susan Pederson, who lives in the Norfolk area.  "I am guardedly optimistic that eventually equal rights will soon prevail in Virginia. While the ban on same sex marriages has been declared unconstitutional, the judge also stayed her decision while the Appeals process plays out. Tradition is not sufficient to deny a group of people equal rights protected under the 14th amendment. Just as it was unconstitutional to deny the plaintiffs in Loving v. Virginia the right to marry based solely on the colors of their skin, I believe that Virginia's ban on same sex marriage will also fall and we can finally say Virginia is for ALL lovers."

Earlier this week in Kentucky, another federal judge ruled that that state must recognize same-gender marriages legally performed in other states.  That decision, by the Hon. John G. Heyburn II, extended the legal benefits of marriage to same-gender couples married elsewhere, but did not address the existing ban on such unions within the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  He wrote that "For years, many states had a tradition of segregation and even articulated reasons why it created a better, more stable society. In time, even the most strident supporters of these views understood that they could not enforce their particular moral views to the detriment of another’s constitutional rights. Here as well, sometime in the not too distant future, the same understanding will come to pass."

New challenges to existing bans on marriage quality were also filed in Missouri and Louisiana, and a federal judge in Texas conducted a hearing as part of an ongoing suit.

Kansas Steps Backward, Bishops Cry Foul

As LGBT rights inch forwards around the country and many same-gender couples are finally able to dance at their own weddings, Kansas's step of choice for Valentine's Day week was a regressive moon-walk:

Kansas State Capitol
By Jim Emerson
Used by Creative Commons License

By a vote of 72-49, the Kansas House of Representatives empowered individuals, businesses and religious groups to refuse service to same-gender couples with impunity, if doing so would be "contrary to the sincerely held religious beliefs of the individual or religious entity regarding sex or gender."  The bill, which now moves to the senate, mentions not only retail business, but services such as adoption and counseling, as well as employment.  State employees are specifically protected by its language.

Interestingly, the measure does not specify whether one's objections need be "pro"or "con": theoretically, one can now choose to only employ or wait on LGBT people if called to do by one's faith.  It also does not specify by what means one is to determine the sexual orientation or gender identity of those against which one proposes to discriminate.

Kansas's two diocesan bishops issued a strongly-worded statement Friday that was sent to every member of the state Senate:

"This proposed legislation is reminiscent of the worst laws that permitted discrimination against people on the basis of color, sex or nation of origin. The intent of this bill is an affront to the beliefs of all Kansans who support equal treatment under the law for every human being," wrote the Right Rev. Dean E. Wolfe, Bishop of Kansas, and the Right Rev. Michael P. Milliken, Bishop of Western Kansas. "Kansas history is filled with examples of standing up for the expansion of rights – in our abolitionist, free state roots; as the first state in the country to elect a woman to a political office; and as a place identified with contributing to the end of school desegregation. We have a high calling to provide equality and equal opportunity to everyone."

 The bishops were quick to emphasize how their stance is in line with our church's core values:  "For Episcopalians, our faith is unequivocal. Our Baptismal Covenant asks, 'Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? Will you strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being?' Promising to strive for justice and peace among all people and to respect the dignity of every human being requires us to be adamantly opposed to legislation that does none of these things," they wrote.  "Our biblically-based faith calls us to live out the command of Jesus Christ to love one another. You cannot love your fellow Kansans and deny them the rights that belong to everyone else."

Integrity's Kansas City chapter members were grateful for the support of their bishops.  "The acts of the Kansas legislature do not reflect the state of the Episcopal Church in Kansas. We will continue to stand for the dignity of every human being," stated Larry Bingham. "Eventually, 'we shall overcome'. Reason will prevail and recent advances in LGBT acceptance in the U. S. secular culture give me hope that the political value of this kind of hatred will be short-lived."

And, in the wake of widespread criticism of the bill, the Senate president Susan Wagle told the press that the majority of her colleagues will not vote for the bill. 

"Seeing a response such as our bishops gave is truly beautiful, a lift to the spirits of LGBT persons and our straight allies," said chapter convener Scott Schaefer.  "The fact that this bill gained any traction at all has refueled my purpose however, and hopefully motivated our spirits to remain active in sharing God's love to LGBT persons living in Kansas... to all people. 

"With the leadership of these bishops, we surely hear a call to ministry: sharing theology in a way that motivates love and diminishes fear, encourages a brave faith instead of exclusionary practices."

Christian Paolino is the Chair of Integrity's Stakeholders' Council and the Diocesan Organizer for Newark

Ann Turner Named Diocesan Organizer for Southern Virginia

Ann Turner

Integrity is pleased to announce the appointment of Ann Turner as Diocesan Organizer for the Diocese of Southern Virginia.

Ann is a life-long Episcopalian and serves as the Communications Officer for the Diocese of Southern Virginia, a position to which she was called by her bishop in 2010. Prior to that, she served as the Communications Director at Eastern Shore Chapel Episcopal Church in Virginia Beach for ten years.

"Ann is one of the hardest working folks I know," enthused Susan Pederson, Integrity's Province III Coordinator. "She has her fingers on the pulse of the Diocese and I am honored to welcome her and work alongside her! She has been instrumental in the success of the Integrity Virginia Beach Chapter." Province III of the Episcopal Church consists of thirteen dioceses in mid-Atlantic states from Virginia to Pennsylvania.

While at Eastern Shore Chapel, Ann co-founded the Integrity Virginia Beach Chapter. She has a degree in English from the College of William & Mary and has spent most of her career in the non-profit sector, working for a variety of agencies, including welfare-to-work, environmental education, and healthcare. Ann lives in Virginia Beach, is an avid runner, and enjoys hiking with her two dogs.

"We are blessed to have someone with Ann's vast experience taking on this important leadership ministry," said Matt Haines, Integrity's Vice President for Local Affairs, who supports the team of provincial and diocesan leaders.  "She has already been part of a dynamic chapter in Southern Virginia and will be part of a great team in Province III." 

Integrity Diocesan Organizers serve as a liaison between bishops and their staffs and the Integrity leadership, and also work to encourage congregations and individuals to get involved with our programs.  Together with our eight Provincial Coordinators, they plan workshops and other educational opportunities around the country.  We are actively seeking candidates to fill this important role in more areas.  Please contact us for more information.