Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New website and survey

Greetings of about-to-be-Christmas, all!

I am writing to let you know that thanks to the hard work of the talented Christian Paolino of the Newark Diocese, we have a new website:

Please go to the survey and take a couple of minutes to fill it out--we want to know what you think.


Mary O'Shaughnessy

Friday, December 3, 2010

Meet Bishop Christopher Senyonjo - December 19th - The Church of St. Luke in the Fields, New York

Join the members of St. Luke in the Fields and Integrity NYC Metro as we listen to Bishop Christopher tell his story.

Bishop Senyonjo is the retired bishop of Western Buganda and the chaplain to Integrity, Uganda. He is back in the U.S. to update his supporters on his efforts to create a more inclusive community in his homeland, which is torn apart by a controversial “kill the gays” bill in Parliament and by a tabloid paper’s campaign urging the hanging of homosexuals and their supporters, including Bishop Christopher.

His visit earlier in the year allowed Bishop Christopher to open the St. Paul's Centre for Reconciliation and Equality, hire an office manager and a women's development specialist. The center works with, among other groups, LGBT people, victims of domestic violence and people living with HIV / Aids. He is creating a very impressive “gay/straight alliance” through self help projects and an inclusive faith community. He needs additional funding to keep the center going.

Please come and hear his story. If you cannot attend but would like to contribute, you may send contributions to the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, 487 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014. Please mark any checks with Bishop Christopher in the memo field.

The Church of St. Luke in the Fields is located at 487 Hudson Street, just south of Christopher Street, in Manhattan.

The event will take place in Laughlin Hall, through the gate just to the right of the church.

Refreshments will be served beginning at 1:30. The Bishop will begin speaking at 2:00pm.

Bishop Senyonjo will also be the guest preacher at both the 9:15 and 11:15 services that day. At the 11:15 service there will also be the dedication of a new icon to the Theotokos.

Please feel free to pass this invitation on.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

World AIDS Day Observances


On Wednesday, December 1st, the chapter will participate in World AIDS Day observances on both sides of the Hudson.

New York

At 6:15 p.m. we will join Episcopal Response to AIDS at St. Luke in-the-Fields, 487 Hudson Street, for their annual World AIDS Day Eucharist. The Rev. Hugh M. Grant will celebrate the Eucharist, and The Rev. Mary Foulke will preach.

ERA’s 2011 Grant Awards will be announced at the reception following immediately after the service. Please join us! Everyone is welcome to our table

To submit names of the departed, infected and affected for inclusion in the Prayers of the People and/or to RSVP, please email If you are unable to attend the event but would like to support the work of ERA, please visit to make a secure on-line donation, or mail a check made payable to “Episcopal Response to AIDS” to:

1047 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10025

Thank you!


33 STChristopher Street Station
Christopher St./Sheridan Square
M08 - West St. Crosstown Christopher & Greenwich Sts.

New Jersey

World AIDS Day: A Service of Remembrance and Healing

At 7:30 p.m., we will join The OASIS and Positive Connections, a support group for people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS, in an observance of World AIDS Day at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, 380 Clifton Avenue, Clifton. The Rev. Peter DeFranco, Rector of St. Peter's, will officiate and Gary Paul Wright, a leader in the state's response to HIV/AIDS, will be the guest speaker.

A panel from the AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display, with thanks to The Names Project of North Jersey. During the Remembrance of the Dead, candles will be lighted by members of the congregation in memory of people who have died of AIDS. A social will follow the service. All are welcome.


74 Paterson - Newark
190 Paterson - NYC
705 Passaic Bus Term
Main Ave. & Clifton Ave.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

November Round-Up

Integrity Participation at the 234th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of New York

Integrity NYC Metro leadership attended the 234th Convention of the Diocese of New York, held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on November 13th, 2010. Paul Lane, the Diocesan Organizer for New York coordinated a table partnership between the Chapter and the LGBT Concerns Committee of the Diocese. Chap Day (Provincial Coordinator, Province II) and Esteban Giron (outgoing Acting Convener) helped staff the table. We had information about Believe Out Loud (brochures and buttons), as well as Integrity membership brochures. A good 50 of each were taken, if not more! We had very positive feedback. Additionally, Bishop Sisk announced a special convention for the election of a Bishop Co-Adjutor, to be held on October 29th, 2011. Bishop Sisk made it clear that although the diocese will be choosing a Bishop Co-Adjutor, to serve as the 16th Bishop of New York upon Bishop Sisk's retirement. Bishop Sisk made it clear that he is not going to be going anywhere in the near future. Bishop Roskam announced her retirement effective January 1st, 2012. Additionally,

The Rt. Rev. Mark Sisk

Trans Day of Remembrance Participation
On Friday, November 19th, Paul Lane, Chap Day, Mary O'Shaughnessy, Michale Mallon and Tina Cioffi (all Integrity NYC Metro board members) attended the Trans Day of Remembrance hosted at the New York LGBT Center. The event was co-sponsored by Gender Identity Project, Human Rights Campaign, and the Church of St. Luke in the Fields. The Rev. Mary Foulke (of St. Luke's) offered an invocation. Integrity NYC members were honored to attend and stand in solidarity with the Trans community.

Welcoming Congregation Workshop Participation

Chap Day, Rev. Susan Copley, Rev. Br. Tobias Haller, BSG

On Saturday, the 20th of November, the Committe on LGBT Concerns of the Diocese of New York sponsored a Welcoming Congregation workshop at St. Ann's Church Morrisania in the Bronx. Integrity NYC Metro Board Members Christian Paolino, Paul Lane, Br. Millard Cook, n/BSG, Mary O'Shaughnessy, Michael Cudney, and Chap Day attended. Paul and Michel, serving in their dual roles as members of the LGBT Concerns Committee helped organize the event. Mary and Chap served as speakers. The Rev. Susan Copley from Christ Church Tarrytown told her own story of moving to full inclusion. The Rev. Tobias Haller, BSG offered a moving reflection on LGBT inclusion that is reproduced on his blog In a Godward Direction.


Mary O'Shaughnessy

Chap Day (Provincial Coordinator, Province II), Paul Lane (Diocesan Organizer, New York), and Christian Paolino (Diocesan Organizer, Newark) are proud to announce the Board election of Mary O'Shaughnessy as the chapter's new Convener. As you may know, Esteban Giron has served as the acting convener after the resignation of David Casey. Chap, Paul, and Christian thank Esteban for taking up the mantle of David for the interim period. Mary will chair her first board meeting on the 28th.

If anyone is interested in joining the Board of New York, please contact Chap, Paul, or Christian. The Board is asked to be dues-paying members of Integrity USA, and to participate in the planning and implementing of activities related to Integrity NYC Metro. Chap can be reached at; Paul and Christian can be reached at and, respectively.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bishop Christopher, Under Threat, Returns to the USA

Below is a message from Albert Ogle, VP of National Affairs for Integrity USA as posted this evening on Walking With Integrity. As you may know, Bishop Senyonjo visited the New York area this past June, speaking at St. Luke in the Fields and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. This article is also of additional interest, as Bishop Sisk of New York has addressed concerns related to Bishop Senyonjo's safety to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

When Bishop Christopher Senyonjo’s picture showed up on the front page of a Ugandan paper under the headline, “100 Top Homos - hang them,” Integrity supporters of the bishop and his work became ever more concerned about the growing climate of homophobia in Uganda.

Other LGBT leaders were also targeted and Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) has been providing emergency counseling and shelter for some of the victims of this latest wave of public violence.

The inflammatory story in “Rolling Stone” (no connection to the USA version) was published just as I returned from a visit to Uganda with Pastor Joseph Tolton of The Fellowship in New York. I quickly made contact with the bishop and his staff. So far, they are all safe and are asking for our prayers. I now try to communicate with him on a daily basis.

Our trip to Uganda was very productive and informative. Organizers in Uganda, including Integrity Uganda, have formed a Civil Society Coalition of 34 partner organizations.. This coalition successfully challenged the “Rolling Stone” in Ugandan courts and it was mandated to close its doors. The coalition will also consider additional legal strategies and will make all legal resources available to stop this latest phase of the anti-gay witch hunt which appears to have support from some American based churches.

Earlier this week the Rt. Rev, Mark Sisk, Bishop of New York, wrote a private letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury expressing his concern that Bishop Senyonjo had been so publically targeted in the newspaper. Sadly, the Archbishop has remained silent on this. Instead, he voiced his concern about the election and consecration of Mary Douglas Glasspool as Bishop Suffragan in the Diocese of Los Angeles. Here's what he had to say:

“The decision of the American Church to go forward, as it has, with the ordination of a lesbian bishop has, I think, set us back. At the moment I'm not certain how we will approach the next primates' meeting, but regrettably some of the progress that I believe we had made has not remained steady. Alongside that, and I think this is important, while the institutions of the Communion struggle, in many ways the mutual life of the Communion, the life of exchange and co-operation between different parts of our Anglican family, is quite strong and perhaps getting stronger. It's a paradox”.

Yes, well, here's what I find as a paradox: that a photograph of heterosexual bishop of the Anglican Church of Uganda appears on the front cover of a magazine with the headline: "Hang Them" without any outrage from his fellow bishops. This story made international news, was reported on CNN, in the UK and in the Washington Post, yet, no-one within Anglican Church leadership circles rose to his defense, except Bishop Sisk.

Regardless of his lack of church support, Bishop Christopher continues to preach an inclusive gospel of a loving God to everyone, including his enemies. Please keep him and his persecuted community in your prayers. Write to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Let him know of your support for Bishop Christopher and ask him to join all of us in respecting the dignity of every human being.

You will also have another opportunity to support the brave bishop and his work. Bishop Christopher will soon return to the United States along with his wife Mary (an equally brave and courageous leader who has watched their beloved Church of Uganda’s behavior towards her family). They will arrive in California on November 14th and will be visiting New Orleans (December 5th at St. Anne’s) Atlanta (St. Bartholomew’s on December 12th) and will have two consultative meetings in New York and Washington DC around immigration and asylum issues for the USA around LGBT people. For more information on his visit and an update on the difficult legal situation he and his friends are facing, stay posted or join his Facebook page.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rev. John Makokha, UMC Pastor and LGBT Rights Activist in Kenya to Speak in New York

On Tuesday, the 26th of October 2010, at 7:00 p.m., the Rev. John Makokha, will speak at the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew (UMC) located at 263 West 86th Street (West End Avenue).

Rev. Makokha is in the United States to meet in Ohio with the Reconciling Ministries Network of the United Methodist Church and is in New York at the invitation of the Rev. Steve Parelli, Executive Director of Other Sheep, a cross denominational Christian ministry to LGBT persons, mostly in Africa, Asia and Latin America. You can find out more about Other Sheep at:

This would be a great occasion for Integrity to learn about what is happening in Kenya and to support our fellow Christians as we all Believe Out Loud together.

The following article was submitted by Anne Baraza (John’s wife) and edited by Rev. Steve Parelli, Bronx, NY, Oct. 15, 2010.

"The Rev. John Makokha is senior pastor of Riruta UMC in Nairobi, Kenya. He is the African correspondent for Reconciling Ministries Network and the Country Coordinator of Other Sheep Kenya Trust, a faith-based LGBTI organization.

"John earned his B.Ed. Degree at the University of Nairobi and has served as graduate teacher in various high schools in Kenya. He was ordained a minister in the Triumphant Pentecostal Church and served as a pastor in a Free Methodist Church. After earning an M.A. degree in Missions at Nairobi Evangelical School of Theology, he started Riruta United Methodist Church, the only Reconciling Ministry (RMN) in Africa. Anne Baraza, his wife, also a graduate of Nairobi Evangelical School of Theology, is the Counselor for Other Sheep Kenya and the CEO of Riruta United Women Empowerment Programme.

"As Coordinator for Other Sheep Kenya, John passionately organizes and leads educational awareness seminars on human sexuality and gender identity throughout Kenya. Other Sheep Kenya addresses religious homophobia, transphobia, social justice, and HIV/AIDS in Kenya through capacity building and advocacy programs for LGBTI people and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). Other Sheep Kenya engages in (1) promoting the recognition and solidarity of LGBT people through recruitment into the organization, counseling/information sharing, and networking; (2) participation in LGBTI activities in the country; (3) sharing information and experience between LGBT and PFLAG groups; (4) promoting the human rights of LGBTI through advocacy and campaigns; (5) training and mobilizing religious allies to win the war on homophobia and transphobia; (6) providing education, training and information on HIV/AIDS, care and treatment to the LGBTI community; (7) promoting reproductive health education; and (8) mitigating against gender based sexual violence and substance and drug abuse within the LGBTI community.

"Rev. Michael Kimindu, anglican priest, colleague and co-laborer with John and Anne in Kenya, is Other Sheep Coordinator for East Africa. Other Sheep has ministries in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda. Other Sheep Kenya came into existence during the 2007 Kenya summer ministry program of Rev. Stephen Parelli and Jose Ortiz, Other Sheep Executive Director and Other Sheep Coordinator for Africa, respectively.

"If you are in NYC, or have friends who live here, we hope you will avail yourself of this unique opportunity - or tell your friends to do so - and come and learn about the wonderful work that is being accomplished in Kenya for sexual minorities in a faith-based context."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Long Island, Newark, New Jersey and New York Bishops offer Statements on the Recent Suicides, Bullying, and Anti-Gay Violence

The Presiding Bishop joined with religious leaders across America in a statement of solidarity against bullying and a call for action and time of healing in the wake of the recent gay suicides anti-gay violence.  If you have not read about this, Walking With Integrity has the Press Release.

Many have also seen the "It Gets Better" video with Bishop Robinson.  If you have not, you can find it here: It Gets Better: Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire.

The bishops who serve Long Island, Newark, New Jersey and New York have also released statements that are well worth a read, and have been reproduced below.

Diocese of Long Island, 18 Oct 2010:
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
October 20th has been designated as a day of solidarity, witness and prayer for those who have died and those who have been injured and victimized by hate crimes directed against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. We have been asked to wear the color purple as a sign of that solidarity and witness, and so I encourage you to wear purple on the 20th as we stand together against the sinfulness of hatred and bigotry that has taken hold in our country and as an expression of our mourning for those who have been injured or died.
Beyond our participation of the events and symbolism of October 20, 2010, I am asking you to change the world. My pastoral request is that each of you commits your heart, mind and body to living in the midst of our neighborhoods and communities as people who are committed to the message of Jesus Christ. If we seriously live the gospel life, keep the promises of the Baptismal Covenant and make a commitment to turn our hearts to God, in fact we can change the world, begin to alleviate fear of others and create an atmosphere in society in which, by following our lived example, people will begin to respect the dignity of every human being.
I believe the church must lead this effort in a way that calls upon religious people and religious leaders, to live the message of faith that each teaches. The world can be changed by our living. Our words alone, our disdain, our anger, our expressions of disbelief at the actions of other, cannot and will not, serve to change the world. Our society has become accustomed to statements made following such horrible events. The words all begin to sound similar in a chorus of heart-felt feelings that almost seem to anticipate the next series of atrocities.
I am calling less for words and more for action to counter violence and degradation with faithful living, unconditional loving and the Christ-like acceptance of all God's people.
This effort must begin in our homes, our schools, our workplaces and our churches. This effort must be lived person to person. We must remove the hypocrisy of focusing on the inhumanity in the wider world while ignoring the inhumanity and lack of Christian concern in our midst. At the very least, there must be an end to the use of the gospels to dishonor, and victimize other children of God.

It is time to change the world by seriously living the Christian life in its fullness and setting aside the propensity to use the faith to win arguments, win votes or divide and conquer.
We can change the world by being Christian, always in all places and with all people. We can address violence, with love, hatred with acceptance, and death with faith in a living God, in Jesus Christ.
Let us endeavor to change the world on behalf of all those who have suffered and died because of who they were and how they lived in the image of God. Let us endeavor to change the world for the sake of all those who seek a relationship with Jesus Christ and long to see that relationship lived in the midst of God's people. Let us endeavor to change the world for the sake of all God's people. Let us truly be the church together for the world.

Faithfully, In Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano, Bishop of Long Island
Diocese of Newark and New Jersey, Joint Statement, 8 Oct 2010:
We write as Christian pastors who are privileged to serve as bishops of The Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Newark and in the Diocese of New Jersey in order to express our grief, alarm, compassion and outrage over the suicide of Tyler Clementi. We join our voices with the voices of all those concerned in Ridgewood, where Tyler grew up, at Rutgers University, where he was a freshman and across our nation. Another gay young person has died by suicide. This tragic loss of a promising life would appear to be directly related to an invasion of Tyler’s privacy and a violation of his personal life. Much remains to be considered by law enforcement authorities and the courts in order to determine whether this is also a case of bullying, a felony or a hate crime – or a combination of the three. Whatever that legal determination may be, we join with other Christian and religious leaders, with the LGBT community and with all people of good will who take their stand against hatred, bigotry and bullying; against every expression of physical and verbal violence; and against any violation of the dignity of LGBT persons. When the rights of any – especially the members of vulnerable groups who have so often been scapegoated – are threatened, the rights of all are endangered.

We want to call attention to another, potentially deeper, issue here. It is the invasion of intimacy. Intimacy is a holy place within every human being; an innermost sanctuary where we develop our ultimate beliefs and values, nurture our closest relationships and maintain our deepest commitments. No one has the right to disclose that intimacy for someone else without consent. Such a violation is tantamount to the desecration of a sacred space. It is, in fact, a sacred space. It is the territory of the soul.

Technology, however, now provides tools to record, seize and disclose the most intimate matters of our lives without our consent. Identities can be stolen, hearts broken and lives shattered. Technology has placed powerful tools in human hands. Will they be used for building-up or for breaking down our neighbor? Tyler Clementi’s death certainly poses some important legal issues, but it also raises some critical moral concerns. Hubris has outstripped humility. And that is a serious problem. We can do better. We must do better, with God’s help.

In our Episcopal tradition, whenever we reaffirm our faith in worship, we are given a challenging question: “will you respect the dignity of every human being?” And we answer, “I will, with God’s help.” It is an important commitment. Whatever our religious tradition, we can agree on the need to respect one another’s dignity. With God’s help, we can stand together and stand up against bullies who would damage and destroy the lives of LGBT persons, their partners and families and friends. With God’s help, we can offer safety, support and sanctuary to all LGBT persons who are at risk. With God’s help, we can remind our society that every LGBT person is made in the image of God. The world needs our witness.

The Rt. Rev. Mark M. Beckwith, Bishop of Newark
The Rt. Rev. George E. Councell, Bishop of New Jersey

Diocese of New York, 8 Oct 2010:
Dear Sisters and Brothers in the Diocese of New York

No doubt you are aware of the recent widely reported incidences of bullying and invasion of privacy that resulted in the suicides of five young people in California, Indiana, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Texas. The tragic story of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University student who jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge last week, may have struck closest to home. But each of these deaths strikes at the body of Christ, and calls us as Christ’s disciples to answer cruelty and intolerance with loving compassion.

The Episcopal Church has long affirmed the dignity, equality and inclusion of all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. That these latest deaths should occur so near to the anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s murder in Wyoming 12 years ago (Oct. 12, 1998) reminds us that there is much work yet to do to instill these values in the communities we serve.

Last month, New York Gov. David Paterson signed the Dignity for All Students Act, which bans harassment and discrimination against students based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, religion, disability and other characteristics, and requires the state’s school districts to adopt anti-bullying policies.

I urge all institutions to be responsive to calls for help and relief by any and all who are threatened and treated with contempt.

Our faith communities must also do our part to uphold our young people, particularly those most vulnerable to intimidation and threats of violence in their schools and neighborhoods. We can begin by condemning the attitudes of intolerance and acts of aggression that deliver too many youth into despair.

I urge you to remember lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth in your prayers. May Christ comfort and heal the hearts of those most affected by these recent tragedies. And may their memories inspire us to more vocal expressions of justice, compassion and love.

The Rt. Rev. Mark S. Sisk, Bishop of New York

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Message from Integrity NYC Metro on the Anniversary of the Death of Matthew Shepard

The Passion of Matthew Shepard
by Father William Hart McNichols
We address this message to you on the anniversary Matthew Shepard’s death The brutal murder of this young gay man (coincidentally an Episcopalian) in 1998 sparked a conversation with mainstream America about violence against LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) people.

This past weekend, members of your Integrity NYC Metro Leadership Team had the privilege of meeting with over 300 Christians from more than 12 denominations at the Believe Out Loud Power Summit in Orlando, Florida. This extraordinary opportunity for worship, witness and networking is just part of an historic nationwide ecumenical inclusive church movement that is still unfolding. It was the birthplace of numerous local and regional initiatives about which you will be hearing in the next few months.

Our collective and individual joy was tempered by the continuing barrage of news stories about violence and prejudice towards LGBTQ persons, much of it in our own area. In just the past few weeks we have seen a number of suicides, three separate acts of anti-LGBTQ violence, and a string of hateful rhetoric by a high-profile political candidate.

None of these are new phenomena. LGBTQ people of all ages (and those perceived to be “queer” simply by the way they present themselves) are far more likely to commit suicide than other populations. Violence against our communities persists, in part, because it is still considered “okay” by many in our society to make hurtful and biased statements about us, and in many cases they do so without censure.

Much progress has occurred in the years since Matthew’s murder. Some feel the burst of violence we are witnessing be may be a reaction to that progress. Much remains to be done. To that end, Integrity, the leading voice for full inclusion within the Episcopal Church, has joined with its ecumenical partners in adopting the Believe Out Loud program to create visible and intentional congregational welcome. An Integrity representative will be contacting your congregation in the coming months to discuss this program and encourage you to consider taking part. We hope you will see this -- as we do -- as a witness of our baptismal promise to respect the dignity of every human being.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hudson - Jersey City Pride - Saturday, 28th Aug, 11:00am to 9:00pm

Integrity NYC Metro and Oasis will have an informational table at this year's Jersey City Pride Festival, to be held on Saturday, 28th August.

We definitely need persons to staff the table. If you are free on that day we could really use the help from about 11:00am to about 7;00pm or so.  The first ever Jersey City Pride Parade kicks off at noon and we need to be set up before then. The parade will go directly past our booth.

For those coming from New York, the PATH trains run differently on the week-ends than during the week. My suggestion would be to get the PATH at the World Trade Centre, take it one stop to Exchange Place. The Exchange Place station is right in the middle of the Pride Festival Grounds. Then just walk up Montgomery Street until you find us.

Let us know if you can help out.

General information about the day can be found at:

Paul J. Lane
Diocesan Organizer
Integrity USA - Diocese of New York

Christian Paolino
Diocesan Organizer
Integrity USA - Diocese of Newark

Friday, July 2, 2010

Believe Out Loud Workshop - Province I & II, Danbury CT, 23-24 Jul

About Believe Out Loud:
Many unchurched lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender [LGBT] people in your community are spiritually searching. They are looking for a faith community where they will be welcomed and affirmed as beloved children of God. You can encourage them to visit and join your parish by becoming a Believe Out Loud Episcopal Congregation.

A Believe Out Loud Episcopal Congregation is a mission or parish of our denomination that publicly welcomes and affirms LGBT people and that has completed a simple, three-phase process. If your parish qualifies, I invite you to register as a Believe Out Loud Episcopal Congregation

Believe Out Loud is a "franchise" being utilized by Integrity USA and endorsed by OASIS, TransEpiscopal, and various diocesan level LGBT committees and ministries to designate Episcopal Parishes that are welcoming, inclusive, and celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people - people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Believe Out Loud is being utilized by multiple denominations as a standard for identifying and gauging inclusive churches. PCUSA, ELCA, UMC, UCC, Disciples of Christ, and some American Baptists have already begun utilizing this process, though they may call it by different names.

The Workshop:
Start Time: Friday, July 23, 2010 at 12:00pm
End Time: Saturday, July 24, 2010 at 5:00pm
Location: St. James Episcopal Church
Street: 25 West St
City/Town: Danbury, CT

Who Should Attend?
Any Episcopalian who wants to learn how he or she can help make their parish and diocese become more welcoming and affirming of LGBT folk. Current and prospective chapter leaders and diocesan organizers are especially encouraged to register. Although this event is primarily for those who live in Province 1 and 2, participants from other states are welcome.

The workshop will be facilitated by:
Neil Houghton, Vice President for Local Affairs
John-Albert Moseley, Province 1 Coordinator
Chap James Day, Province 2 Coordinator

You are responsible for making your own hotel reservations. A courtesy block of 16 rooms has been reserved for July 23rd at the following hotel. The rate is $109 single or double. Mention "Integrity" when making your reservation. Reservations must be made by June 25th to receive the quoted rate.
The Ethan Allen Hotel
21 Lake Avenue Extension
Danbury, Connecticut 06811-9956800-742-1776 toll free
203-744-1776 local
A few local Integrity members may be willing to host guests in their homes at no cost. If you would like to take advantage of this offer, please indicate this when you register.

There is no registration fee for this workshop. However, you are responsible for your own travel, lodging, and meal expenses unless otherwise stated.

A limited number of $150 scholarships are available to help defray participant's travel and lodging costs. If you would like to take advantage of this offer, please indicate this when you register.

Meals Included:
The following meals will be provided:
Buffet Dinner on Friday, July 23rd
Continental Breakfast on Saturday, July 24th
Boxed Luncheon on Saturday, July 24th

If you have special dietary needs or preference, please indicate this when you register.

The meeting venue is wheelchair accessible. If you require other accommodation [such as an ASL interpreter, please indicate this when you register.

Air Travel & Ground Transportation:
The Westchester County Airport [HPN] is the closest to Danbury. Several budget airlines serve this location.

Danbury is approximately 45 minutes by car from the airport.

Danbury is accessible from Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Take Metro-North's New Haven Line (red) to Stamford, CT and transfer to the Danbury connector. The trip is estimated at a little over 2 hours. The Danbury Station is walking distance to St. James Church.

For fares and schedule, consult the MTA website.

Click here - > Registration

If you any questions, please contact...

John-Albert Moseley, Province 1 Coordinator

Chap James Day, Province 2 Coordinator
(347) 840-1700

Pride March Thank You

A message from Paul Lane:

As the organizer of the Pride March contingent for the Committee on LGBT Concerns of the Diocese of New York, I would like to thank everyone who helped make this year's LGBT Pride March such a success.

The marchers, who came from at least four diocese and made us one of the larger groups in the March. The benefactors, parishes, organization and individuals, who came through to fund the float. The folks at Integrity NYC Metro and Oasis Newark who were instrumental in getting the word out. Our wonderful DJ Brett. Our group marshals: Stephen, Erlinda, Lou and Mark. The Church of the Transfiguration, who made our out of town marchers feel welcome at their 11:00 a.m. Eucharist. The churches along the way who provided water for all the marchers, Marble Collegiate, First Presbyterian, especially the Episcopal Church of the Ascension (who added just a twist of lemon) and the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, who welcomed us at the end of the March both spiritually at Evensong and physically at the reception that followed.

Our visibility is very important. Our presence in the March is a wonderful way to reach out to the LGBT community, many of whom have had very negative experiences with "church" in the past, letting them know that is a church (among others) that welcomes them and is dedicated to "respecting the dignity of every human being".

Planning for next year's March will start in September. Anyone interested in helping can contact us at

Again, many thanks to all.

Paul J. Lane
Pride March Organizer
Committee on LGBT Concerns
The Episcopal Diocese of New York

Diocesan Organizer of New York
Integrity USA

Steering Committee Member
Integrity NYC Metro

To see some photos of the 2 block contingent, please see these two Albums:

Pride March 06-27-10 by Millard Cook
Heritage of Pride 2010 by Christian Paolino

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Trans Day of Action - 25 Jun 2010, 4pm at City Hall Park

Co-Sponsored Event:
Where: City Hall Park
When: 25 Jun, 4pm-7pm

The 6th Annual NYC Trans Day of Action for Social and Economic Justice Points of Unity
Initiated by TransJustice of the Audre Lorde Project, a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two-Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming People of Color Center for Community Organizing.
June 25, 2010
We call on our Trans and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) community and on all of our allies from many movements to join us for the 6th Annual Trans Day of Action for Social and Economic Justice. We as TGNC People of Color (POC) recognize the importance of working together alongside other movements to change the world we want to see. We live in a time when oppressed peoples including communities such as people of color, immigrants, youth and elders, people with disabilities, women and TGNC people, and poor people are disproportionately underserved, face higher levels of discrimination, heightened surveillance and experience increased violence at the hands of the state. We are in solidarity with communities in Arizona organizing to fight the ongoing policing of our identities as they resist and oppose SB-1070 that legalizes unchecked racial profiling by police of anyone they “suspect” is undocumented.

It is critical that we unite and work together towards dismantling the transphobia, racism, classism, sexism, ageism, ableism, homophobia and xenophobia that permeates throughout our movements for social justice. Let’s come together to let the world know that TGNC rights will not be undermined and together we will not be silenced! These are the points of unity, which hold together the purpose of this important march:

  • We demand that TGNC people have equal access to employment and education opportunities. We are outraged by the high numbers of TGNC people who are unemployed. Many TGNC people continue to face blatant discrimination and harassment from employers due to systemic transphobia. Few TGNC people have access to opportunities for learning in a safe school environment. TGNC people demand that all employers and educational institutions implement non-discrimination policies that respect the rights of all workers and students and that they comply with the NYC Human Rights Law that prohibits discrimination against gender identity and expression.
  • We demand that all people receiving public assistance entitlements including TGNC People of Color, be treated with respect and dignity. We are in solidarity with all people living on public assistance. The NYC agency responsible for the administration of public welfare, the Human Resources Administration (HRA), finally passed the procedure for Serving Trans and Gender Non Conforming clients, but this is not enough! We demand full implementation of the procedure including culturally competent trainings for all employees.
  • We demand the full legalization of all immigrants. TGNC people deserve the right to access competent and respectful immigration services. We demand that the consulates of all countries respect and honor our identities and issue passports and other documentation that accurately reflects who we are. We oppose the guest worker program, the Real ID Act, enforcement provisions to build more walls and give greater powers to the Department of Homeland Security, increased barriers for asylum seekers, and other anti-immigrant policies that continue to divide our communities. We stand in solidarity with Indigenous-identified Two-Spirit people and the sovereignty of the First Nations, on whose land we now see the US attempt to enforce arbitrary boarders.
  • We are in solidarity with all prisoners, especially the many TGNC people behind the walls who are often invisible even within prisoner’s rights movements. We call attention to the under-reported accounts of severe violence and rape that our community faces at the hands of correction officers and other prisoners, in psychiatric facilities, and group homes. We demand an end to the torture and high level of discrimination TGNC prisoners face. We demand that all TGNC prisoners receive competent and respectful healthcare. We oppose the continued growth of the prison industrial complex that continues to target our communities, yet we recognize that TGNC people need access to services and facilities that lessen our vulnerability to violence within the present jails and prisons. We are opposed to the closing of the “gay and Trans housing” unit on Rikers. We call attention to the criminal injustice system that increasingly puts POC, immigrants, people with disabilities, TGNC people and poor people behind bars - further criminalizing our communities and our lives.
  • We demand that TGNC people have access to respectful and safe living spaces and community spaces. Many TGNC people face severe discrimination from landlords and housing administrators displacing us from our homes due to gender identity or expression. A disproportionate number of TGNC people have been or are currently homeless. However, many homeless TGNC people continue to face discrimination and violence when trying to access shelters and other assisted living programs. NYC law and the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) state that people will be placed in shelters according to that person’s gender identity and that discrimination based on gender identity will not be tolerated. We support Queers for Economic Justice in their demand that all DHS shelter administrators provide adequate Trans sensitivity trainings for all personnel and enforce clear non-discrimination policies that respect the dignity and safety of all homeless people. We oppose the ongoing profit driven development of our neighborhoods. We support FIERCE’s campaign to counter the displacement and criminalization of LGBTQ youth of color at the Christopher Street Pier and in Manhattan's West Village.
  • We oppose the US “War on Terrorism” as an excuse to legitimize the expansion of the U.S. as an imperial super power and to justify a national security strategy that is really meant to militarize our boarders and heighten surveillance and control over people living in the U.S., separating our communities by fostering feelings of hate, xenophobia, and violence. Every day we see more and more of our basic human rights like jobs, education, housing, privacy, self-determination and the right of dissent slipping away from all of us. We must demand the immediate removal of all U.S. troops from all countries under occupation and demand an end of use of U.S. dollars to cultivate and sponsor wars against people in the U.S. and abroad.
  • We demand justice for the many TGNC people who have been beaten, assaulted, raped, and murdered yet these incidents continue to be silenced, misclassified or blamed on the victim. The police and the media continue to criminalize us even when we try to defend ourselves. Hate crime laws will not solve the problem but will give increased power to the state to put more people in jail. Instead we call for a unified effort for all of us to look deeper into the root causes of why these incidents happen. As a society that seeks social justice we seek to find ways of holding people accountable and coming to a joint understanding of how we can make our communities safer for all of us. Like many other oppressed communities such as POC, immigrants, people with disabilities and poor people, TGNC people are targeted, profiled and brutalized by the police. We demand an end to the profiling, harassment, brutality and murder that occurs at the hands of the police! These incidents of violence do not occur in isolation, and are aggravated by racism, sexism, classism, ableism, xenophobia, misogyny, ageism and homophobia.
We are in solidarity with the family of Sean Bell, who are still tirelessly working towards justice after the police were acquitted of charges. We are in solidarity with the Jersey 4, 4 Lesbian women arrested in the West Village for defending themselves from a man that assaulted them. We are in solidarity with Miriam, a transgender woman who was pushed out the window of her 4th floor apt and left for dead. We commemorate the memory of Amanda Milan, Sakia Gunn, Ruby Ordeñana, Gwen Araujo, Erika Keels, Victoria Arellano, Lawrence King, Saneesha Stewart, Ashley Santiago, Amanda Gonzalez-Andujar, April Green and the many other brave souls we have lost, who struggled and lived their lives fearlessly day in and day out, being true to who they were. They keep the fire of struggle burning within all of us.

On June 25, 2010, TGNC People of Color and allies will take on the streets of New York City once again and demand justice to let the world know that the Stonewall rebellion is not over and we will continue fighting for social and economic justice, raising our voices until we are heard. We call on all social justice activists from communities of color, the LGBT movement, immigrant rights movement, the anti-war movement, the reproductive justice movement, disability justice movements, youth and student groups, trade unions and worker organizations, religious communities and HIV/AIDS and social service agencies, both local and organizations around the country to endorse this call to action and to build contingents to march in solidarity together on June 25, 2010.
Endorsed by the following Organizations:
2-Spirit First Nations Collective, African Ancestral Lesbians United for Societal Change (AALUSC), Ali Forney Center, ALLGO, Anti-Violence Project, Astraea Foundation, Axios Eastern Orthodox LGBT Christians, Barangay NY, BiNET USA, Brooklyn Community Pride Center, Butch Voices, CAAAV, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, casa atabex ache'- the house of womyn's power, Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP), Community Kinship Life (CKlife), Community United Against Violence (CUAV), Congregation Beth Simchat Torah (CBST), Day One, DC Trans Coalition, El/La Para TransLatinas, Femme Menace Action Club, Femme Sharks, FIERCE!, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FIRE), FIST, Freedom Train Productions, GAPIMNY, GATE - Global Action for Trans* Equality, Girls for Gender Equity, GLAAD, GLOBE, GRIOT Circle, Hetrick-Martin Institute, Human Right Campaign, Idriss Stelley Foundation, Inner Child Experience, Integrity NYC Metro, Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality (ICTE), Jews For Racial and Economic Justice, Jim Collins Foundation, Justice Committee, Justice League Activate!, Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives, Lambda Legal, Latinos/as Unidos de New York(LUNY), LGBT Center N.Y.C., MCCNY, Movement Support Project, Ms. Foundation, National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, National INCITE! Coalition, New York City Anti-Violence Project, New York Transgender Rights Organization (NYTRO), Nodutdol for Korean Community Development, OUTmedia, Peter Cicchino Project, Poly Patao Productions (P3), Pride Goes East, PRYDE, Queer Black Cinema International Film Festival, Queer People Of Color Action/Working Class Queer People, Queers for Economic Justice, Q-Wave, Radical Women, Rev. Janyce L. Jackson, Liberation In Truth Unity Fellowship Church, Riot Grrrl Ink, SAGE, SALGA N.Y.C, Sanctuary Collective, SF Education Not Incarceration, SF TAPA (Transgenders Against Police Abuse), Soulforce, SWANK (Sex Workers Action New York), SWOP-NYC (Sex Workers Outreach Project-NYC), Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Texas GSA Network, The Transgender Law Center, TransCEND Boston, Transgender Health Empowerment,Transgender, Gender Variant and Intersex Justice Project, Washington Heights Corner Project

Upcoming Pride Celebrations

A Message from Paul Lane
The Committee on LGBT Concerns of the Diocese of New York, along with Integrity NYC Metro and Oasis Newark invite everyone to join us in the 2010 LGBT Pride March on Sunday, June 27th 2010. This year we have a float with music. The float is very basic. Our people will add the color, so dress accordingly and don’t forget the sunscreen. Please bring your parish banner or a sign identifying your parish.

Our meeting place is on East 38th Street, between Madison and Park Avenues. Everyone should be there and ready to go at 12:30 p.m. The March NYC Pride will do their best to get us moving shortly thereafter. Due to security regulations, you may not join the March en route.

If you will be unable to attend your local Sunday service you are warmly invited to join with Integrity NYC Metro and Oasis Newark in worship at the Church of the Transfiguration, One East 29th Street for their 11:00 a.m. Eucharist. Meet Chap Day in front of the church after the service and walk the 9 short blocks to the March staging area together. (about 10 minute walk). Bishop Andrew St. John and the folks at Transfiguration are excited to have us for this service!

We will be looking for folks to help carry an Episcopal banner, the OASIS banner, and the Integrity banner in shifts, and want all of our parishes to be represented.

After the March, please join with your fellow marchers at a Festive Choral Evensong at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, Hudson Street south of Christopher, at 6:30 p.m. The Rt. Rev. Herbert A. Donovan will preside. Rev. Altagracia Perez will preach. Refreshments will follow on the grounds.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Paul Lane at

Paul J. Lane

Pride March Coordinator, Episcopal Diocese of New York Committee on LGBT Concerns
New York Diocesan Organizer, Integrity USA
Board Member, Integrity NYC-Metro

Integrity Eucharist at Transfiguration
Where: 29th St between 5th Ave and Madison Ave
When: 11am - 27 Jun 2010

Episcopal Contingency at Heritage of Pride (Mustering Spot)
Where: 38th St between Madison Ave and Park Ave
When: 12:30pm - 27 Jun 2010

Annual Gay Pride Evensong at St Luke in the Fields
Where: Hudson St at Grove St (South of Christopher St)
When: 6:30pm - 27 Jun 2010 (get there at 6 for a good seat)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Visit by Bishop Christopher Senyonjo

The story below was provided by Paul J. Lane, Diocesan Organizer for Integrity in the Diocese of New York. The photo shows Paul on the left, Bishop Christopher in the center, and Chap James Day [Integrity's Province 2 Coordinator] on the right.

The aroma of the incense hung heavily in the hot, humid air as the Ugandan prelate mounted the steps of the pulpit in the old village church, St. Luke in the Fields, in New York’s Greenwich Village last Sunday [June 6, 2010].

The Right Reverend Christopher Senyonjo, the retired Bishop of the Diocese of West Buganda, Uganda, took as his subject the second reading of the day: Galatians 1:11-24; Paul discussing his conversion from his former life as a persecutor of Christians. The congregation listened in rapt attention as the bishop spoke of his own "conversion" and how, by listening to the stories of LGBT people, he came to believe that LGBT Christians are full members of the body of Christ. He told of how he also has been persecuted and how, if a new bill proposed in the Ugandan Parliament becomes law, he himself may be jailed for his inclusive stance. He also spoke of how, in Uganda, openly LGBT persons are not able to receive any treatment for HIV/AIDS.

The Rev. Mary Foulke, Senior Associate for Pastoral Care and Outreach at St. Luke’s "was delighted to welcome Bp. Christopher to St. Luke’s and to make this connection with those around the world who embrace a critical Biblical theology in support of liberative practices of welcoming and standing up with those on the margins. Bp. Christopher is a wonderful example of many grassroots priests, bishops and lay leaders in the Southern Hemisphere that are doing great work and who don’t get the press or attention that others with more conservative American support seem to attract."

Paul J. Lane, the Chair of the parish’s LGBT Life @ St. Luke’s Committee and Diocesan Organizer for Integrity for the Diocese of New York says that "as a parish, this is only the beginning of our relationship with Bp. Christopher and Integrity Uganda. Our goal is to be able to raise $1000.00 for Bp. Christopher’s ministry and we began that journey today. The stories of our LGBT brothers and sisters around the world must be brought to the attention of those of us who live in more accepting societies." St. Luke’s history as been one of full inclusion as well as support of such organizations such as Integrity USA and Changing Attitude Nigeria, having in the past hosted Mr. Davis Mac-Iyalla, the exiled leader of CA Nigeria.

After the service, Bp. Christopher was an honored guest at the annual parish picnic, where he was able to speak directly to many parish members, including a group of seminarians from his own alma mater, Union Theological Seminary.

Integrity USA, a 35-year-old LGBT advocacy group within The Episcopal Church, is the sponsor of Bishop Christopher visit.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Rally To Protect Homeless LGBT Youth - 14 Jun, 6:30 pm at Union Sq

Co-Sponsored Event
Where: Union Square
When: 6:30pm, 14 Jun

On Monday, June 14th at 6:30PM, numerous prominent LGBT and progressive leaders and organizations will come together at a highly anticipated rally at Union Square in support of the LGBT Homeless Youth community. Comedian, singer, actress, author and out lesbian Sandra Bernhard will speak along with Iraq Combat Veteran and gay rights activist Dan Choi, as well as youth representatives from various organizations serving young LGBT people.

As LGBT youth find the courage to come out of the closet at younger ages, thousands are being rejected by their families and forced out of their homes. Most homeless LGBT youth describe having suffered violence and harassment in their homes due to their sexual orientations and gender identities. As many as 40% of the homeless youth in the United States are LGBT. Homeless LGBT youth are subjected to violence and harassment on the streets and in mainstream youth shelters. They face tremendous risk of HIV infection, drug addiction, and criminalization.

This phenomenon of thousands of LGBT youth being forced from their homes due to homophobia, stripped of economic support, and made to endure homelessness represents the most terrible cruelty and intolerance currently directed at the LGBT community. “Any community has an obligation to protect its youth when they are being hurt and attacked,” says Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of Ali Forney Center, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to homeless LGBT youth. “We call on the LGBT Community to stand up for our youth suffering on the streets, and advocate that they receive the protection and care that all young people need and deserve.”

We call on the members of the LGBT Community, our straight allies, and on all decent people who believe that youths should not be thrown to the streets for being LGBT, to rally in support of the following goals:
  • To show solidarity with homeless LGBT youth, to demonstrate outrage that so many young members of our community face family rejection, violence, and homelessness, and to call on the adult members of the LGBT and allied community to demonstrate increased concern, support and advocacy for our youth.
  • To advocate that local, state, and federal government funding be made available to provide the housing and supportive services needed by homeless LGBT youth so they can escape the streets, and that efforts be funded to prevent LGBT youth from being subjected to violence and rejection in their homes.
  • To advocate that protecting our youth from abuse, rejection, and homelessness be recognized as a major priority in our local and national LGBT advocacy agendas.

The rally is endorsed by many significant local and national community organizations, including: Ali Forney Center, Anyone But Me, Broadway Impact, Broadway Speaks Out, Bronx Community Pride Center, The Brooklyn Community Pride Center, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, Center for American Progress, The Center for Anti-violence Education, Chris Ryan NYC, CitizeNYC, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, Covenant House New York, Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Fund/Give a Damn Campaign, Deconstructive Theatre Project, The Door, Empire State Coalition of Youth and Family Services, FIERCE, Gay & Lesbian Independent Democrats (GLID), Gay Men of African Descent, GLSEN, GMHC, GetEQUAL, Green Chimneys Children's Services, Hetrick Martin Institute, Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, Integrity NYC, The LGBT Community Center, Make The Road New York, Manhattan Young Democrats, National Youth Advocacy Coalition, New York AIDS Coalition (NYAC), New York City Anti-Violence Project, The NYC Association of Homeless and Street-Involved Youth Organizations, Out Astoria, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays National, Queers for Economic Justice, Safe Space NYC, Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, Take Back Pride,, True Colors Residence and West End Intergenerational Residence.

Additionally, the rally is endorsed by many prominent community leaders, including: US Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand D-NY, Carl Siciliano, Sandra Bernhard, Lt. Dan Choi, Joe Jervis, Frankie Grande (Mr. Broadway 2007), Brendan Fay, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, NYC Council Member Lewis Fidler, Ryan J. Davis, Ally Sheedy, Cathy Renna, Marti Thomas (Mr. Broadway 2008), Reverend Irene Monroe, Peter Staley, David Mixner, NYS Assemblymember Micah Kellner, U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-08), David Badash, Anthony Hallock (Mr. Broadway 2009), Kai Wright, Rod McCullom, Sassafras Lowrey (Editor of "Kicked Out), NYS Senator Tom Duane, NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm, Charlie Williams (current Mr. Broadway), and NYC Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer.

Friday, May 28, 2010

IntegrityNYC-Metro - News Update

Just a few announcements as we head into Pride Month.

1. It is with great sadness that we announce the departure of David Casey.  David was instrumental in the resurrection of the Integrity Chapter in New York City, and has served as our Convener since its inception.  He is pursuing other opportunities in Southeast Florida, and we wish him the best of luck.

2. Integrity NYC board has officially voted to change the name to Integrity NYC Metro.  This was done to reflect the geographic diversity present in our chapter, especially those who attend from outside the 5 boroughs of New York.  This is an intentional name change to celebrate our diversity.

3. Integrity NYC Metro welcomes the following members to the Board: Millard Cook, Paul Lane, and Christian Paolino.  Paul Lane also serves as the Integrity USA Diocesan Organizer for New York, as well as serves independently on the Diocese of New York's LGBT Concerns Committee.  Christian Paolino is also serving as the acting Diocesan Organizer for Newark, and serves in OASIS Newark.  We will be looking forward to adding more people to the board, and are beginning a search for a new Convener.

4. Integrity NYC Metro will be participating with OASIS Newark, and the LGBT Concerns Committee of New York in the 41st Annual Pride March on the 27th of June.  Stay tuned for details.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Diocese of NY's Welcoming Church Workshop at Christ Church, Tarrytown

A Message from Integrity NYC-Metro's newest Board Member Millard Cook:
Dear Friends and Family,
I spent the first part of the day yesterday in Tarrytown attending the "Welcoming Church" workshop at Christ Church. I had a lovely train ride up (and back) with amazing views of the Hudson River and of New Jersey across the way. And I do not think I had ever seen most of Tarrytown previously--certainly I had never been to Christ Church before.
I really enjoyed the workshop and find it to be challenging and thought-provoking. I discovered many resources that I had not known of previously and plan to spend some time exploring them. The three things that touched me most were the stories of individuals to find a real church home, the stories of congregations to become really inclusive and finally some new insight into the status of the struggle-on a diocesan, national, and Anglican Communion level.
Many (I would like to think most) of our parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of New York are welcoming. That is a big step forward and must certainly be acknowledged. And yet, there is a gap. Not all are really inclusive. And there is a difference! It is one thing to say that "anyone is welcome to attend" and entirely another to say that the gifts, talents, and resources of every person are wanted and needed. It takes courage to invite "others" to become active, and ultimately even to become involved in leadership of a parish. The question of to what degree the "other" is fully integrated into the parish is not always an easy one to answer.
The other question, and a far-more challenging one for me, is the degree to which the parish publicly indicates that it really is both welcoming and inclusive. What language is used? What symbols are displayed? How is the message effectively communicated?
I attended this workshop because I have been asked to serve on the Steering Committee of the New York Chapter of Integrity. And so I was very pleased to learn more about the amazing work that has already been accomplished in the EDNY--I could not say enough good things about the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns Committee. And, I was really astonished by Christ Church--clearly there are some wonderful things happening there.
On a final note, although this was a workshop to explore the degree to which LGBTQ people are welcomed into congregations and then are included in the life of the community, I constantly found myself thinking that the very same methodology could be used for any group. The same issues exist for any group of person who is perceived (at least by some) as "different" or "other." And if the goal is for parishes to be truly diverse, welcoming and inclusive--that takes a lot of intentional, difficult, and perhaps even painful work. One of the Integrity slogans that I like most is "All the Sacraments for All the Baptized." What a wonderful goal.
With Much Love,

A native of the Beech Mountain Community of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, Millard came to St. Bartholomew's after a varied and colorful past in which he served in ministry, as an educator, and as a technical support trainer and technician for relational databases. Along the way he earned a B.A. in history (Appalachian State University) two masters degrees in theology (M.A. in Systematic Theology and the M.Div. from St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, PA) and two masters degrees in history (M.A. and M.Phil. in Early Modern European history from Fordham University). For 15 years Millard was a Benedictine monk of St, Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe (the oldest Benedictine monastery in the US) and served for 12 years as a Roman Catholic priest (mostly in the Archdiocese of New York). A dedicated student of Romance languages, he earned minors in French and Spanish and after high school lived for a semester in France. He was worked hard to maintain his fluency in conversational French and Spanish. Millard has been a parishioner of St. Bart's for almost three years and describes the day that he was received by Bishop Catherine Roskam as one of the most meaningful experiences of his adult life. Millard is the son of Janice Storie Davis and the younger brother of Jackie Miller and Debbie Nobles-all of NC. He is a proud uncle of three nephews and of six great-nephews and nieces and an avid amateur photographer, reader, and music lover (everything from Southern Gospel to Pop Latino). In 2009, Millard was accepted as a postulant in the Brotherhood of St. Gregory. 
This May Millard has joined the Steering Committee of Integrity NYC-Metro.

Integrity USA will be hosting intensive workshops focusing on building more Inclusive and Welcoming Churches over the next few months, called Believe Out Loud. The Province II workshop will be hosted in Danbury, CT and co-run with Province I.  This workshop is for congregations that wish to start or continue their Welcome program with resources from a national Episcopal program.  Click here for Registration Details.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pride and Shame in the Anglican Communion

A personal reflection from Integrity Province II Coordinator Chap James Day:
I remember when Bishop Robinson received the consent to be bishop at General Convention. I was studying abroad with about two dozen or so students from my college at Corpus Christi College in Oxford. I had followed the newsfeeds through the whole debate at convention, sharing the news with the others, most of whom were Presbyterian (PCUSA) and though sympathetic to my hopes, did not have a dog in the fight. Still they joined me for a pint at one of the pubs to toast what would be one of the first pivotal moments for GLBT Christians in the 21st century. After the pint, we went to evensong at Christ Church Cathedral, and later spoke with some of the clergy who told us how proud they were for the Anglican Church, especially in light of what had happened with Jeffery John just months before. It was a day to be proud to be an Episcopalian and an Anglican, and a newbie openly gay person.

I had heard that this would cause the Church to split—that the Communion would crumble, and I watched for the signs of it. I read of the grumblings of more traditional Anglicans—many of which joined voices with other splinter groups that had left well before Robinson was called to be bishop. I also heard the positive voices and Alleluias from the progressive Anglicans who were taking ownership of this time for the achievement that it was in reclaiming our place at the Table.

As the consecration played out, and the Lambeth Commission was called to review what had happened in the Church, we saw people coming in who had felt disenfranchised and unwanted. We also saw many so obsessed with this one issue leave, and the start of many more battles over property and the very soul of the Church. I was blessed to meet the members of the Lambeth Commission while working at Kanuga. I overheard their conversations as I served them food and drink while they stayed there, and I observed their devotion as they prayed at the Chapel of the Transfiguration each day. I also remember the results of their recommendation in the form of the Windsor Report.

I read the report, and many commentaries trying to explain what it meant, and what the implications of the report were for the GLBT members in the Anglican Communion as well as those traditionalists that felt disenfranchised. I felt shame. The GLBT clergy had begun to “come out” and the greater Communion family just did not want to hear it—they did not want to accept that there was a Gay Son among the Bishops, and they sure as hell did not want any more.

Just like a family, some shunned our new bishop, some accepted, some disowned, and some celebrated. More importantly, some tried to reconcile and to educate on why the family needs to accept. There were family members like those involved in Integrity and CFLAG that knew that our Communion-wide need to accept it’s GLBT sons and daughters was important beyond pious notions of what is a sin or not a sin. It was about restoring life to the outcast and unwanted—saving lives and restoring lives—healing the broken hearted—and strengthening the strained “bonds of affection”.

In Columbus we saw the election of the first female Primate in the Anglican Communion—proof of how the need and push for acceptance and equality shows progress in momentous achievements like that. We also saw one of the more ghastly calls for restraint that made no one happy with regards to the still outcast GLBT members of the Church. It is hard to celebrate the achievements of an oppressed sexual minority with the shadow of continued oppression of another minority.

It was at that point that I joined Integrity. I wanted to join the fight that celebrated the achievements of women in the Church and said “And ALSO now GLBT!” The first hurdle was to deal with the restraints that were asked and later confirmed in New Orleans. One of the most disturbing images of these restraints was our new Presiding Bishop’s image of a Lenten fast on continued consecrations. I had had always heard of the fast as giving up something that was bad for you and taking on something good for the world. That sure did not seem like the case with regards to GLBT Episcopalians.

In Anaheim, we moved forward, pushed by Integrity and the many, many allies that also saw this restraint as antithetical to what it means to be a Christian family—another day to be proud to be an Episcopalian. The legislation that was passed was eyed by the patriarch of the family suspiciously… some of our more distant cousins wished to disown us even further claiming that we had gone our own way to ruin. We had whole dioceses vote to disassociate themselves with the Church, often supported by our cousin provinces.

This week we saw yet another momentous day for GLBT Episcopalians—one that will surely continue to rock the boat—in the consent to the election of Mary Glasspool . Again, it happens legally under the cannons of the Episcopal Church that were strengthened by the legislation in Anaheim last year. Again, it has caused the head patriarch of the family to eye us with suspicion. And Again I am proud—but this time I have a huge amount of Shame.

The shame has nothing to do with the great news of LA, but with the disturbing response of Archbishop Rowan Williams. I do not presume to understand what it is like to be a titular head of a denomination so vastly spread across the world, socio-economic strata, and political and theological spectrums. What I do not hear is the same response at words of hatred against us his GLBT members, or the continued efforts of foreign provinces to usurp property in the Episcopal Church. Most deeply ashamed am I of his restrained responses towards the near holocaust-level hatred that is fueling the “Kill Gays Bill” in Uganda.

One of the signs of the Spirit moving in the Church is that this consent comes on the heels of statements of inclusion and support from a Patriarch so wise that non-believes will turn to listen to him, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He is like that wise old family member that knows that the love of the God and the true bonds of affection that bind a family together are stronger than sexuality or morality. He understands that it is crucial to our faith to accept GLBT Christians into the fold and to celebrate with Easter joy when one like Mary Glasspool is called to be a Bishop among us. He warns us of the demoralizing and demonic destruction that awaits those who shun the outcast, hate those who differ, and seek legislation to exterminate that which we do not want to understand.

I only wish Archbishop Williams would listen to Archbishop Tutu and realize that we too are God’s loved children, that we too are called by the Spirit to serve and lead the Church, and that we deserve to solemnize our love in the Church’s sacraments. Williams, it seems, does not see this, Uganda does not want to see this…and that should make us all ashamed and outraged.

Tutu sees this—Los Angeles sees this—and those that consented to Mary Glasspool’s election see this, and that should make us all proud and filled with an Easter joy.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Human Rights Crisis in Uganda Seminar - Tues 23 Mar, 7pm at Riverside Church

Other Sheep and Maranatha of Riverside Church are Hosting this Seminar

Political Research Associates Rev. Dr. Kapya Kaoma, author of "Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia," and Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG) leader Frank Mugisha will discuss the intersecting of the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill, U.S. church politics, and the Institute on Democracy and Religion.

Date: Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Time: 7pm
Location: The Riverside Church, Manhattan, New York
Room: MLK 411

Other Co-Sponsors of this Event include:
Believe Out Loud: Episcopal Congregations
Integrity NYC
Dignity NYC
Dignity USA
Metropolitan Community Church of NY
Presbyterian Welcome
Silence to Speech Productions
Lavender and Green Alliance

Read the full announcement at Other Sheep eNews Archives