Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Case for Marriage - a Study Guide for General Convention 2015

Claiming the Blessing (CTB) was convened in 2002 as "an intentional collaborative of organizations and individuals within the Episcopal Church advocating for full inclusion of all the baptized in all sacraments of the church."

In 2002 a CTB Theology Statement was distributed to all bishops and deputies prior to General Convention in 2003 making the case for the blessing of same-sex relationships. That resource remains available online here

As we head toward #GC78 CTB has created "Claiming the Blessing 2015: The Case for Marriage" - which is available online here and will be available in print onsite at General Convention in Salt Lake City.

The content includes:
* Introduction to the Marriage Task Force Blue Book Report
* Q&A re: the Marriage Task Force Report
* Summary of SCLM liturgical proposals
* Legislative history timeline
* Michael Hopkins' essay "Recognized Holiness" making the case for marriage.

I just have to add what a deep delight it was to receive the outpouring of response to our request for photos from weddings of same-sex couples around the church. The avalanche of joyful pictures representing just the tip of the iceberg of the couples in this church in in this country longing to make that profound commitment to love, honor and cherish the love of their life as long as they both shall live was a reminder to me of the tremendous impact our work together in Salt Lake City will have on the lives of those we will never know.

Will we be a church that continues to travel forward on that arc of history that bends toward inclusion? Or will we reduce these precious lives, loves and relationships to "an issue" we continue to study and argue about?

With tremendous gratitude for all who have brought us thus far on the way -- and with thanks for the privilege of continuing the work -- it is time to let our "yes be yes." (Matthew 5:37) It is time to Reimagine the Episcopal Church with Marriage Equality.

The Rev. Canon Susan Russell has served as Integrity's President and is currently the convener of Claiming the Blessing, a national collaborative ministry focused on the full inclusion of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender baptized into the Episcopal Church. A senior associate at All Saints Church in Pasadena CA, she is also a founding member of the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion Council and a regular contributor to the Huffington Post's religion forum. Her personal blog may be found at An Inch at a Time.

Friday, May 8, 2015

MAY 15 DEADLINE TO SUBMIT NOMINATIONS for Integrity Board and Provincial Coordinators

MAY 15 DEADLINE TO SUBMIT NOMINATIONS for Integrity Board and Provincial Coordinators—the team who will lead Integrity through the next Triennium, 2015 – 2018

As stipulated in the bylaws, all positions are open every three years. We aim for diversity of race, gender, age, ethnicity, section of the country, sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.

Do you resonate with Integrity’s mission? “To inspire and equip the Episcopal Church, its dioceses, congregations, and members to proclaim and embody God’s all-inclusive love for LGBTQ persons and those who love them.”
Do you feel God’s call to lead us in these tasks? Do you know someone else who might be so called? (Job descriptions and more information is below.)

All offices are open every three years: President; Vice-President for National Affairs; Vice-President for Local Affairs; Treasurer; Secretary; and Chair of Stakeholders’ Council. In addition we’ll elect Provincial Coordinators for all eight domestic provinces.

The only requirement to run or to vote is that you are a member of Integrity. So please make sure your membership is up to date! If you’re not a member and feel called, join now and submit your application.

Here is the Nominating Committee: Chair: S Wayne Mathis. Contact him or any of the committee members below (regardless of province) for further information or to submit applications. You may submit application to any committee member or to

Dante Tavolaro   
Rev. Kerlin Richter
Province 2
The Rev. Scott Allen
Province 3
Nancy Mott
David Fleer
Province 5 
Bill Oliver
Province 6 
S Wayne Mathis
Shireen Miles
Email applications may be submitted to any of the committee or to Your email application must be submitted by May 15 and include the following information:

  1. Name, address, phone and email
  2. The position you want to run for.
  3. 2-3 paragraphs about yourself 
    • your diocese and your experience with Integrity
    • the skills/experience you will bring to this position
    • why you think God may be calling you to this position
You are welcome also to contact Matt Haines ( or other current Board members if you want to know more about what’s involved.

Contact Marie Alford-Harkey ( Vice-President for Local Affairs, to talk about the role of the Provincial Coordinators.

Once nominations are closed, current members will be sent a ballot by either US Mail or a secure electronic voting system. All ballots will need to be returned by June 15, 2015. Results will be announced on the last day of General Convention.

Please join us in praying that God will raise up leaders among us who can joyfully take on the responsibilities of this organization so that we may further God’s kingdom together!

Here are Board Responsibilities: From Integrity Bylaws

Chapter 2. Board of Directors  
 Article 2. Responsibilities      
 Section 1. General The Board shall be responsible for the programs, development, and administration of Integrity in accordance with the organization’s goals and purposes and its Articles of Incorporation…
 Section 2. Financial The Board shall annually adopt a national budget which shall be published to the membership and shall cause a “review” if not an “audit” of the financial records to be performed according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles by a Certified Public Accountant biennially.
 Article 5. Duties of Officers       
 Section 1. President         
A. If and when there is no Executive Director, the President shall be the principal spokesperson for the organization and shall be the chief representative of Integrity to the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, and [all] other organizations….
B. The President shall chair meetings of the Board.        
C. The President shall have charge of, and may with the concurrence of the Board, appoint committees and individuals to assist in carrying out the programs and obligations of the organization; shall be a member ex-officio of all committees and task forces; and shall make regular reports to the membership of Integrity.       
 Section 2. Secretary         
A. The Secretary shall record and maintain the minutes of meetings of the Board; shall conduct the legal correspondence of the organization; and shall be the custodian of the official business records of Integrity.           
B. The Secretary or his/her designee shall maintain Chapter status records for purposes of certification and shall confirm in-formation status and authorize the use of the name “Integrity” by Chapters-in-formation.          
C. The Secretary shall also function as Director of Communications.       
 Section 3. Treasurer          
A. The Treasurer shall be bonded and shall be responsible for the receipt and disbursement of all funds of Integrity, and for the maintenance of accurate financial records with a regular accounting to the Board and an annual accounting to the membership, shall prepare and file such fiscal reports as may be required by governmental entities, shall prepare an annual budget for approval by the Board, and shall, with the concurrence of the Board, arrange for a “review” or an “audit” of the books as specified in Article 7. Section 2.         
 B. The Treasurer or her/his designee shall maintain the current membership rolls and bill members for the annual dues.       

Section 4. Vice-Presidents          
A. The Vice President for National Affairs, in concert with the Executive Director (if there be one) and the President, shall be responsible for planning, implementing, and evaluating Integrity’s programming, development, and administrative work at the national level.         
B. The Vice President for Local Affairs, in concert with the Executive Director (if there be one) and the President, shall be responsible for planning, implementing, and evaluating Integrity’s programming, development, and administrative work at the provincial, diocesan, and congregational levels. This officer shall act as mentor to the Provincial Coordinators and serve as the primary liaison between them and the Board. 

Article 1. Section 1  Members  There shall be a Stakeholders’ Council (hereinafter “Council”), which shall consist of the following: •
MEMBERS WITH SEAT, VOICE, AND VOTE: Chapter Conveners, Diocesan Network Coordinators, Congregational Circle Moderators, Partner Representatives, and Lifetime Members •
MEMBERS WITH SEAT AND VOICE: Provincial Coordinators, Past Presidents, members of the Board, representatives of organizations designated by the Board as “allied organizations,” and the Executive Director if there be one.
Section 2. Officers There shall be a Chair and a Vice Chair of the Council, elected by the members of the Council as provided in these bylaws.   
 Article 2. Responsibilities  The Council shall offer advice and counsel to the Board concerning the mission and ministry of Integrity, the organization’s programs, resource development, leadership development, organizational alliances and collaborations, and on any other matters which the Board may, from time to time, bring to the Council for its consideration.    
Article 3. Meetings  The Council shall meet at least once each calendar year at a time and place established by the Board.    
Article 4. Resolutions Resolutions shall require a vote of the majority of those present for adoption.

The full bylaws can be found at IntegrityUSA’s website.