What’s Next Integrity-- Are We Done? Are You Kidding?
By: Matt Haines, President
“When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” Jesus of Nazareth (LK 12:48)
We celebrate great gains these past several weeks! We had many great successes at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City. The Sacrament of Marriage is now a reality for same-sex couples in our Church and will be available in most of our dioceses! Our Church has condemned the evil torture of so called “Reparative (Conversion) Therapy”. Transgender Episcopalians have asserted that their names are sacred and are to be recognized as holy within liturgy and church records; the Church concurred overwhelmingly. The Episcopal Church has also voted to show solidarity with LGBTQ people in Africa and will lobby on their behalf. Some might wonder—is Integrity is now finished with its mission. Are we done? Are you kidding me?
· Transgender people are being slaughtered on our streets weekly; suicide kills even more.
· Gender-queer and Trans Christians often find our churches less than welcoming. We must change this together.
· Over 40% of all homeless youth are LGBTQ; most of them rejected by “Christian Homes”.
· Over 70% of lesbians and gays tell the people they love about their orientation; bisexuals 28%. This must improve if we are ever going to live in Integrity. As a church and a movement we can no longer ignore the “B” in LGBTQ.
· All Dioceses must be held to the Gospel of Inclusion proclaimed by this Church. We can no longer allow LGBTQ people, or children raised by LGBTQ couples, to be excluded from Holy Baptism! Access to Holy Eucharist, Confirmation, Unction, Penance, must be available to all the baptized. All who feel called to vocations in Holy Orders and/or Marriage must be taken seriously and be given the opportunity to live those vocations out.
· We must still lead the Anglican Communion and offer special help to LGBTQ people in the many provinces where our people face prison or execution!
· Racism and sexism still plague our nation, church, and our movement. Together we need to engage in understanding how male privilege and institutional racism work against true equality.
We are now ready to begin to work even harder, with God’s help and yours! The Supreme Court has recognized our right to marry and the Episcopal Church recognizes our marriages as sacramental. Rights are nothing if not exercised and sacraments are meant to empower us to serve this broken world in Christ’s name.
Are we in the Promised Land after 40 years in the desert? Maybe—some of us are. If you find yourself there, rejoice and start building up Zion for those still on the way. If you are still in the desert, look for one another and keep an eye out for Jesus. Jesus knows the way! We have been given so much, thus we are required to give even more back in return. Please join in our efforts to live into this gospel call.