Friday, November 18, 2011

Prayer for the Election of a Bishop

Tomorrow, Saturday, 19th November 2011, the Episcopal Diocese of New York will meet to elect our new bishop coadjutor. We have been blessed with a wonderful list of diverse candidates from whom to choose.

The candidates are:

The Rev. Canon Andrew M. L. Dietsche

The Very Rev. Peter Eaton

The Rev. Canon John T. W. Harmon

The Very Rev. Tracey Lind

The Rev. Canon Petero A. N. Sabune

The Rt. Rev. Pierre Whalon

If you would like to know more about the candidates, please go to:

As the Diocesan Organizer for Intgrity USA in the Diocese of New York, I look forward to working with whomever the diocese (and the Holdy Spirit) will elect.

Please join me as I pray:

Almighty God, giver of every good gift: Look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a bishop for this Diocese, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for yourpeople and equip us for our ministries; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Paul J. Lane

Diocesan Organizer - Diocese of New York

Integrity USA

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Requiescat in Pace: Frank Goodsir (1930-2011)

Integrity NYC-Metro has learned of the recent death of Frank Goodsir, an active member of the NYC Chapter in its early days and a friend of the community.  Among Frank's recent ministries was the coordination of monthly monthly services  of the National AIDS Memorial within the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. 

We are gathering details about Frank's life and contributions, and hope to offer a more substantial tribute here in the near future. Anyone who can provide more details is requested to contact Christian Paolino, Integrity's Diocesan Coordinator (Newark) at

A Memorial Service will be held this coming Saturday, November 5th at 10:30 a.m., at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue, New York.  All members and friends of the Chapter are encouraged to attend if able.  Transit: Cathedral Pkwy (0.2 mi W) 1  

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Parish Spotlight: Church of the Redeemer, Morristown, N.J.

A congregation with a long history of inclusion has recently placed new energy into "believing out loud."

The Church of the Redeemer, in downtown Morristown, N.J., whose mission statement describes it as "a Christian Liberation community in the Episcopal tradition," has long been a place of radical hospitality. As its marquee has proclaimed for years, persons of every identity and belief system are welcome within its doors.  It recently called a new rector, the Rev. Cynthia Black, D.D., whose dedication to social justice meshes well with the church's history.

Redeemer has a number of public events in the month of October which are of interest to our community:
  • On Thursday, Oct. 13th, at 7:30 p.m., members of the congregation will host a discussion of Stephanie Spellers' 2006 book, Radical Welcome: Embracing God, The Other and the Spirit of Transformation.  The book is described as "a practical theological guide for congregations that want to move beyond mere inclusively toward becoming a place where welcoming 'the other' is taken seriously and engaging God's mission becomes more than just a catch-phrase.
  •  On Sunday, Oct. 16th at 7:00 p.m., the gospel duo and same-sex couple Jason and deMarco will offer a concert to benefit S.A.F.E., a non-profit organization dedicated to establishing safe housing for LGBTQ youth and young adults throughout the United States. 
  • On Thursday, Oct 20th at 7:30 p.m., Bishop Christopher Senyonjo of Uganda will speak about his work with LGBT people in his country as part of a nationwide tour organized by the St. Paul's Foundation for International Reconciliation.  Bishop Christopher will also preach at Redeemer's 10:30 a.m. service on Sunday, Oct. 23rd.   "Bishop Christopher is one of the most courageous people I know. At great risk to himself and to his family he has been willing to speak truth to power-- in this case, the truth of God's love to the Anglican Church of Uganda, and to the Government of Uganda," said Rev. Black.
This summer, Redeemer became the second Integrity Proud Parish Partner in the Diocese of Newark, which helps to support both Integrity's work nationally and our recently-revitalized NYC Metro Chapter.  Redeemer is also adopting the Believe Out Loud Episcopal Congregation marque, which was somewhat of a "no-brainer" given its place in the vanguard of LGBT inclusion in our area.

Vestry member Steve Osvold told us, “Redeemer has a long history of social action and LGBTQI inclusion, but we’re definitely seeing a new burst of energy and commitment. Some of that grew out of our response to Tyler Clementi’s death last year, but it also reflects where we are as a parish, with an energetic and visionary new rector and a desire to see what new things we can do to make the world better reflect the world Jesus described in the Gospels. Redeemer’s generally been more interested in what’s possible than in the status quo, I think, and so many people seem to be seizing on that at this moment. It’s really an exciting time to be at Redeemer!”

In the 1980s, the congregation, which at one time was one of the largest in the Diocese of Newark, was coping with dwindling membership and a perceived lack of direction or purpose.  Coping with the reality that the parish must reinvent itself or die, the members called The Rev. Philip Dana Wilson as their fifteenth rector.

Under Wilson's guidance, the congregation responded to the illness and death of one of its own from HIV/AIDS in the early 1990s.  At a time when many still refused to care for AIDS patients, the members set up an AIDS ministry and converted Redeemer's oversized rectory into the Eric Johnson House, a residence for persons with HIV/AIDS who are coping with homelessness or transition in their lives. Today the House is operated by New Jersey AIDS Services, a nonprofit separate from the church, but a symbiotic relationship with the congregation remains.

This focus on caring for the disenfranchised and underserved has blossomed into other ministries and is now at the core of the parish's identity.  These are just a few of the ministries that the congregation now participates in or supports, a textbook example of the response predicted by The Rev. Rebecca Voelkel in her study To Do Justice: A Study of Welcoming Congregations.  In her research, Rev. Voelkel found that congregations who intentionally self-identify as LGBT-welcoming experience a further "hunger and thirst for justice" which leads to further commitment to social ministry.

When the time came to search for a new Rector, the congregation knew it needed someone who shared its commitment to inclusion.  The call went to The Rev. Cynthia Black D. D., who had long served as Dean of the Cathedral of Christ the King in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but was herself a product of the Diocese of Newark, ordained here in 1985. Rev. Black's own history of social justice and AIDS awareness work won her the praise of former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, who stated, "Her ability to grasp the many dimensions of any situation and to articulate them clearly and boldly have been a gift to the Council and the church."
Today, Redeemer has been blessing same-sex relationships for over twenty years. The congregation also recently started its own LGBTQIA group led by parishioner Leah Thomas, who stated, "With the death of Tyler Clementi, the Church is developing a concerted outreach to the wider LGBTQ community, both local and global. As part of this effort, we are proud to host Bishop Senyonjo to help raise awareness of the situation of LGBTQ people in Uganda."

Integrity NYC-Metro is proud to call Redeemer a partner in the work of furthering equality, and we look forward to participating in this month's events.  Redeemer is located at 36 South Street in Morristown, N.J., within walking distance of the Morristown Station on the Morristown Line of NJ Transit Railroad.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Believe Out Loud - Welcoming and Affirming Parish Workshop in NYC on October 2, 2011

Believe Out Loud - Welcoming and Affirming Parish Workshop
Saturday, Oct 1 from Noon to 6:00pm
LGBT Center, 208 West 13th Street, New York NY 10011

Is your parish welcoming and affirming of LGBT persons? Are you as welcoming and affirming as you would like to be? 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. An Integrity 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 3 step process.
Believe Out Loud is a program being used by 16 different main-line denominations as a means of learning to become more welcoming and affirming of LGBT people. Come and learn how your parish can become an Integrity Believe Out Loud Episcopal Congregation.
The workshop is free to Integrity members, there is a small fee for non-members to cover costs.
For details and to register go to:

For more information contact: Paul J. Lane, Diocesan Organizer-New York, Integrity USA at

Monday, July 18, 2011

Integrity/NYC-Metro and New York State Same-Sex Marriage

We are very happy that the elected representatives of New York State, have recognized lifelong commitments between people of the same sex, as marriage. We pray for the day that this recognition will take hold in every state in our country, and at the federal level of government.

Integrity's vision for the Church is this: "all the sacraments for all the baptized." We understand this as meaning that one standard--prayerful, thoughtful, and equitable--should be spelled out and applied to both heterosexual and LGBT people.

We recognize that the different bishops of the dioceses in New York State are interpreting the "generous pastoral response" permitted at General Convention in 2009, in varying ways. While Integrity would rejoice if all bishops were to immediately solemnize marrriages, we realize that this is not immediately likely for varying reasons, and we urge charity and pastoral engagement on all sides in other dioceses.

Vindictive language and attribution of evil motives on any side are profoundly unchristian, wound the heart of God, and provide fodder to anti-Christians who believe the church is evil.

The Episcopal Church has existing canons regarding the solemnization of marriage. While these use male-female language that we believe needs changing, Integrity does not see any reason to request that clergy exempt same-sex couples from the reasonable and healthy requirements contained in these rules, among them:
  • Each partner is free to marry, freely consents to the marriage, and intends that the marriage be lifelong.
  • The couple intends that the marriage take place in the context of the Christian community that is the church.
  • At least one of the parties is baptized.
  • The couple has completed appropriate pre-marital counseling from the cleric performing the marriage or some other approved person.
  • Any (and all) previous marriages and/or domestic partnerships have been dissolved legally and evidence of this has been provided to the cleric.
  • Any former spouse(s) and children have been and are being treated justly. (In some parishes, this is understood as being current on any and all child and spousal support.)
  • Where necessary, the appropriate bishop has given consent.
  • Thirty days' advance notice has been provided to the cleric. (The canons state this can be waived for a serious reason. Since there is no reason at this point to expect that the right to marriage in New York is going to be revoked soon, there would need to be a more weighty reason than a strong desire to be among the first married under the new law.)
All clergy, church lay people, and seekers wishing to be married should remember that both the state and the Episcopal Church are very, very clear that no cleric should feel pressured into performing any particular marriage--by a couple, their families, friends, or ethnic/cultural mores.

We urge all parishes, regardless of their stance on same-sex weddings, to update their websites with accurate, complete, and current information regarding their wedding policies, so that seekers may find and read it before making contact.

For other questions or information,please contact Integrity/NYC-Metro at

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Integrity NYC-Metro & FaithStreet Offer Workshops to Enhance Your Parish's Web Presence

If you haven't seen the current edition of The Episcopal New Yorker, click here and check out the fine introduction to, a new Web directory of New York area churches. 
Integrity/NYC-Metro and are partnering to offer Episcopal churches a two-hour free evening workshop on how to create or improve your parish's web presence for free or at minimal expense. While this workshop is designed for parishes that have limited technical resources, all are welcome. There are two sessions--one on July 19th in Washington Heights at the Church of the Intercession, and one on August 2nd at Grace Church, West Farms, in the Bronx.

Click here to respond to this invitation.

July 19th at 6:45 p.m.
550 West 155th Street
New York, NY 
Transit: 157 St (0.1 mi N)  

August 2nd at 6:45 p.m.
Grace Church West Farms
1909 Vyse Avenue
Bronx, NY
Transit: West Farms Sq - E Tremont Av (0.2 mi E) 

Monday, June 27, 2011

New York City Pride Day - 2011

by Paul J. Lane, Diocesan Organizer for Integrity, Diocese of New York

Pride Week in New York has been quite a whirl-wind. Each morning we woke up hoping that today would be the day that Marriage Equality finally came to New York State, and each evening we went to bed disappointed as the State Senate worked into the night without bringing Marriage Equality to a vote. That is until Friday night, when the Republican controlled Senate brought the matter to the floor. (Without this turning into a civics lesson, let me just say that, in New York, the majority party controls which bills come to the floor for a vote and most bills are never brought to the floor unless passage is almost assured.)

There was literally dancing in the streets of Greenwich Village when the vote came in. I know. I was there.

As we in Integrity continue our own march toward the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments, as Episcopalians we are not always the best at getting our message of full inclusion out to the wider community. The visible participation of the Episcopal Church / Integrity in Pride Events is one of the ways that we can do this, so, on Sunday afternoon, June 26th, Episcopalians and their friends from the Dioceses of New York, Long Island and Newark, as well as further afield, began to gather on East 37th Street in preparation for our turn on Fifth Avenue.

We were soon joined by the Rt. Rev. Catherine Roskam, Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of New York who has marched in many New York City LGBT Pride Marches in the past and will be retiring at the end of the year.

The march began at noon, but it was almost 4:00 p.m. before the Episcopalian contingent began marching down the Avenue. The turn-out of both participants and spectators was far greater this year than in years past. Once upon the avenue we were joined by our float, funded in part by a grant from Integrity USA.

The Bishop joined us on the float only to find the Rev. Jon M. Richardson, Vice President for National Affairs for Integrity USA.

The view down Fifth Avenue from 34th Street was enough to take your breath away.

Preceding the float were banners from both the Episcopal Diocese of New York (pictured above with Bp. Roskam) and Integrity NYC Metro.

We then marched proudly down Fifth Avenue to Greenwich village along with many local Episcopal parishes.

We arrived in Greenwich Village at about 6:00 p.m., giving us enough time to rest before attending the traditional Festive Evensong for LGBT Pride at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, an Integrity Proud Parish Partner.

The church was packed with over 300 Episcopalians, Lutherans and friends as Bishop Roskam processed down the aisle in a rain-bow cope, preceded by the Rt. Rev. Andrew St-John, parish clergy and the Rev. Dr. Patrick S. Cheng, theologian and Assistant Professor at the Episcopal Divinity School who was to be our preacher for the evening and who, coincidentally, had had his union blessed at St. Luke’s in June 11 years earlier. A reception followed and was enjoyed by all.

Photos by Br. Millard Cook n/BSG, Paul J. Lane and Vincent Chiumento

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Marriage Equality

As Diocesan Organizer for Integrity USA in the Episcopal Diocese of New York, I can do nought but congratulate those politcians and especially those activists who have made Marriage Equalit a reality in New York State. I am proud to represent a diocese that stood up for eqality in civil marriage by an overwhelming majority at convention several years ago.

A special thanks must go out to Michael Sabatino and his husand, Robert Vooheis, two members of Zion Episcopal Church in Dobbs Ferry. They have worked tirelessly with MENY in order that this day should come.

Join us at the Pride March. Sunday, 26th June. Meet on 37th Street between 5th and Madison between 12:30 and 1:00pm. We really have something to celebrate..

Paul J. Lane

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Eucharist Before the NYC Pride March

Integrity NYC Metro has been invited to join in the regular 11:00am Sunday Eucharist at the Church of the Transfiguration (The Little Church Around the Corner), 1 East 29th Street. We will proceed to the March from there. (A 10 minute walk.)

Please join us.

(The streets and side-walks of the East 30's are not conducive to a pre-March Street Eucharist.)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pride March Information is Here

(Although we probably won't start marching right away.)


All who are able should meet on East 37th Street.
The float will join us once we are on 5th Avenue.
If you need to ride the float, please contact Paul Lane at


The Episcopal Church has, for years, been in the forefront of the full inclusion of LGBT persons in all of the sacraments. While we may not yet have attained all of our goals, we are well on our way. This is one of the most visual and important ways that we have of reaching out to the LGBT Community, many of whom have given up on or been driven away from any organized religion.

Integrity NYC Metro has partnered with LGBT Concerns Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of New York and many parishes and individuals arranged for a float and DJ in the 2011 LGBT Pride March.

The March takes place on Sunday, June 26, 2011. It will proceed down Fifth Avenue from the lower 30s to its usual end point on Christopher and Greenwich Streets in the West Village. All you need to do to participate is show up. All are encouraged to come and bring their parish banner.

If you have any questions, please contact Paul Lane at 646-456-8705 or

Partial funding for the float has been provided through a grant from Integrity USA.

We apologize for the delay in getting this information to you, however, NYC Pride did not publish the Order of March until Monday, 20th June.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bishop Sisk Expands on His Recent Letter to the New York Times

May 23, 2011

In a letter published May 16 in the New York Times in reference to same-sex civil unions, and reproduced below, Bishop Sisk expressed his support for equal rights for all before the law, and applauded the fact that at the Diocesan Convention in Nov 2008 the Episcopal Diocese of New York as a whole had voted in support of legislation to enable such unions in New York State.

"When expressing views in this format, however, it is not always possible to be as nuanced as one would like," he said, expanding on the letter. "I want to make it clear that I do not mean to suggest that every Episcopalian, either elsewhere in the country or here in the Diocese of New York, agrees with me on this - I speak only for myself and for the majority of the Diocese who voted in favor of the legislation. A sizable minority - although I do believe it is a minority - disagrees, in some cases strongly. Those people's views are honestly and prayerfully held, and deserve to be listened to with respect."

Bishop Sisk also drew the important distinction between the support of people of faith for equal rights for all before the law - and hence their right to be legally married - and the far more complex and difficult issue of the sacramental character of gay and lesbian unions. "Opinions within the Episcopal Church are far more widely varied on whether or not such unions should be recognized within the Church, and if recognized, what the nature of that recognition should be," he said. "At The Episcopal Church's General Convention in 2009, legislation was passed calling for a renewed pastoral response from the church in light of changing circumstances in civil legislation regarding marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian persons. It also provided for an open process for the consideration of theological and liturgical resources for the blessing of same gender relationships and urged the honoring of the theological diversity of our church in regard to matters of human sexuality. That process is still continuing."

The text of the Bishop's letter to was as follows:

To the Editor:

Not all people of faith oppose the granting of equal civil rights without regard to gender orientation ("Faith Groups Campaign to Block Gay Marriage," news article, May 6).

Speaking personally, I support the proposed New York legislation. So too, I am happy to say, does the Episcopal Diocese of New York, which voted in 2008 to call on the governor and the Legislature to enact it.

(Rt. Rev.) MARK S. SISK

Episcopal Bishop of New York

New York, May 9, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Episcopalians in the Pride March 2011

The Episcopal Church has, for years, been in the forefront of the full inclusion of LGBT persons in all of the sacraments. While we may not yet have attained all of our goals, we are well on our way. The annual LGBT Pride March is one of the most visual and important ways that we have of reaching out to the LGBT Community, many of whom have given up on or been driven away from any organized religion.

For the first time in several years, in 2010, the Committee on LGBT Concerns of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, in collaboration with Integrity NYC-Metro and the Oasis-Diocese of Newark, as well as many parishes and individuals, sponsored a float in the annual New York City LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual & Trans-Gender) Pride March in June. Several hundred Episcopalians, from parishes large and small, from Staten Island to Sullivan County, marched down Fifth Avenue with the float, the largest religious contingent in the entire March!

In order to do this again in 2011, we need your help. The LGBT Pride March is not a budgeted item. We rely on donations from individuals, parishes and groups in order to make it possible. The cost is between $6000.00 and $7000.00 and our suppliers (float, music, registration) require payment in advance. While it may seem a bit early, Easter has just passed and the LGBT Pride March is on Sunday, June 26th, the second Sunday after Pentecost.

The Church of St. Luke in the Fields has agreed to act as our treasurer this year. Please make your checks payable to The Church of St. Luke in the Fields, note Pride March in the memo field and mail to:

Paul J. Lane
c/o The Church of St. Luke in the Fields
487 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014

The March takes place on Sunday, June 26, 2011. It will proceed down Fifth Avenue from the lower 30s to its usual end point on Christopher and Greenwich Streets in the West Village. Our exact meeting time and location won’t be known until about two weeks prior to the actual March. You will not need to register your group separately. We will take care of registration and marshals. All you need to do to participate is show up. We will post the information on the LGBT Concerns web-page: and our Facebook page:!/group.php?gid=220187362837 as soon as the March organizers let us know.

If you have any questions, please contact Paul Lane at 646-456-8705 or

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Integrity NYC Metro - Spring Meeting and Eucharist - May14th, 2011

Integrity/NYC Metro's Spring 2011 Eucharist will be celebrated on Saturday, May 14th 2011 at 4:00p.m. at The Church of the Transfiguration, 1 East 29th Street in Manhattan. The Eucharist will be followed by a General Membership Meeting and Social. (This is the same day as the celebration of Bishop Roskam's 15th anniversay as bishop.)

We will be talking about the directions in which Integrity sees itself going both nationally and locally as well as asking for input from our members about what they would like to see Integrity do on the local level.

We welcome all members and those who are interested in becoming members, as well as family and friends. Please email if you have questions or check out our web-site at

Again, All Are Welcome.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Coming Out as Christian at GAAMC

On Monday, April 4th, three of us "came out" at a regular meeting of the Gay Activist Alliance of Morris County (GAAMC), the oldest LGBT community organization in New Jersey... as Christians.

Given  the ongoing controversy over what the Bible (and, thus, God) is really saying about same-sex attraction in the way we understand it today, it is not surprising that the intersection of these two worlds is a  thorny one, and there is considerable distrust or at least bemusement at those who claim to be both.  And yet, that is where many of us find ourselves.  Our visit was intended to witness to our own very different experiences, and also to let people know that there are many Christian congregations in the area of various denominations where they will be welcomed, as part of the Believe Out Loud welcoming congregation program.  Integrity, the national organization for LGBT Episcopalians, is working with its peer organizations in thirteen other denominations to identify and support congregations that are striving to be more welcoming and affirming.

As it turned out, there were members of three different Episcopal congregations in the audience.  They also shared testimony of how they had been made to feel welcome, some after very negative experiences in other churches.  Others expressed pleasant surprise that there were so many places taking intentional steps to be more inclusive.

Some good networking followed the event, and we hope to forge cooperation with folks that are already "believing out loud" in their own congregations to keep building the groundswell of inclusion.  Panelists were The Rev. Robert Solon, Vicar at St. Thomas' Church in Vernon, N.J.; Mary O'Shaughnessy, Convenor of Integrity NYC-Metro; and Christian Paolino, Diocesan Organizer (Newark) for IntegrityUSA and a member of the OASIS Commission, the Episcopal Diocese of Newark's ministry to LGBT persons.

Much thanks to Sherry Rase, the program coordinator at GAAMC, for her assistance and hospitality.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Film Honoring Byron Rushing to Air April 26th

On April 26th, a fifteen-minute documentary honoring Massachusetts State Representative Byron Rushing 's work for marriage equality in African-American communities will be screened as part of a film festival honoring Nelson Mandela in New York.

Marriage Equality: Byron Rushing And The Fight For Fairness describes how Rushing (who is heterosexual and an Episcopalian) presents marriage equality as a civil-rights issue to black faith leaders. It will have its world premiere on Tuesday, April 26, 2011, at 7:30 p.m. at Aaron Davis Hall, 135th St. at Convent Ave., in New York City.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Céad míle beannachta

A hundred thousand blessings. They were certainly with Integrity NYC Metro when we marched in the St. Pat's Parade for All, an inclusive parade honoring Patrick of Ireland, held in Queens New York on Sunday, 6th March. The wind was howling but the rain stayed away until the end of the parade.

Hope to see you there next year.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Integrity NYC Metro to March in the Queens St. Patrick's Parade for All

Join with Integrity NYC Metro in New York's most diverse St. Patrick's Day Parade, embracing LGBT contingents, community groups, childrens' bands, Irish organizations and religious and civic groups, all in celebration of Ireland.

This year's Parade is on Sunday, the 6th of March. It begins at 2:00pm at the corner of Skillman Avenue and 47th Street in Woodside (closest subway station is 46th St. / Bliss on the number 7 line). Marchers should plan on being there by 1:00-1:30pm. The March Organizers will not give an exact location for each group until the day of the Parade. Look for the Integrity banner or call/text Paul at 646-456-8705 or Chap at 348-840-1700. It ends at Woodside Avenue and 58th Street in Woodside. (You can also stand at 48th Street and Skillman and join us as we pass by.)
Bring your friends. Wear something green. Join us for a good time (and maybe a pint or two at the end).

Saturday, February 26, 2011

By Grace Alone

In the context of encouraging Presbyterians to vote for Amendment 10-A, which would drop restrictions on LGBT clergy, The Rev. Dr. Arlo Duba makes an excellent Biblical case for inclusion in a piece titled By Grace Alone.

The Presbyterian Church USA, under the auspices of the organization More Light Presbyterians, is one of the denominational partners of Believe Out Loud.  Rev. Duba is the Former Director of Admission & Director of Chapel at Princeton Theological Seminary and the Former Dean at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Break the Silence Concert: More Details

Three renowned LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) choirs will come together for the first time to sing sacred and spiritual music, while lending their own unique voices to advance the existing Christian movement for LGBT equality.  The concert will take place in New York City at one of the oldest Christian institutions in the United States – Marble Collegiate Church.  The entire event is an initiative of the Believe Out Loud project, which is managed by the Collegiate Churches non-profit organization, Intersections International.

The three choirs are:

  • The New York City Gay Men's Chorus, which has appeared at such venues as Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall and performed alongside such stars as Liza Minnelli, Stephen Sondheim, Carol Channing and Eartha Kitt.  From Town Hall to City Hall, from the advent of AIDS to the struggle for marriage equality, the NYCGMC and its more than 250 members have been producing innovative programs and serving the LGBT community for more than 30 years.
  • The Anna Crusis Women's Choir, the longest running women's choir in the United States, was founded in Philadelphia in 1975.  In addition to being a premier performing arts group, they are an agent for social change that tackles issues facing LGBT persons and other disadvantaged populations.
  • Lavender Light Gospel Choir, a men and women's chorus, was founded in 1985.  The group consists of several ethnic and spiritual backgrounds, and provides a special ministry to African-American gays and lesbians—a constituency who have historically been pressured within their communities to choose between their race and orientation.
Sung Won Park, director of Believe Out Loud and all LGBT programming for Intersections International, called the coming together of the three choirs "a historical event to shout out God's love for all people, especially those who have been marginalized by the church as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

"The time has come for us to take a stand," said Park, "and let the world know that being silent about our support of LGBT equality equals shutting the doors to the sanctuaries for these individuals."
Believe Out Loud, a trans-denominational movement to promote LGBT-inclusion in the Christian church, has begun a three-year drive to get one million progressive Christian voices to believe out loud and show the public that an all-inclusive Christian collective can save lives.  According to a recent poll conducted by Public Religion Research Institute, an astounding two-thirds of the respondents see a direct connection "between messages coming from America's places of worship and higher rates of suicide among gay and lesbian youth." (

Within the Episcopal Church, IntegrityUSA, along with TransEpiscopal, The OASIS and other diocesan LGBT ministries, has adopted the brand"Believe Out Loud Episcopal Congregations" for those churches who are intentionally welcoming and affirming of LGBT people.

"The church should serve to affirm life for all people," said Park.  "But if two-thirds of the public believes the church is not affirming life when it comes to LGBT people, it is a wake-up call to all churches to shift this perspective."

Believe Out Loud is an unprecedented coalition of the nation's leading religious and secular LGBT organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign (HRC); Gays & Lesbians Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD); the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Progressive Christians Uniting; Public Religion Research; Christian Community Inc.; The Religious Institute; Many Voices; The Association for Welcoming and Affirming Baptists (American Baptist Church USA); Gay, Lesbian and Affirming Disciples Alliance (Christian Church/Disciples of Christ); Integrity USA (Episcopal Church); Lutherans Concerned (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America); More Light Presbyterians (Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)); The Coalition for LGBT Concerns (United Church of Christ); and The Reconciling Ministries Network (United Methodist Church).

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bishop Christopher Speaks Out

Bishop Christopher Senyonjo wrote a poignant letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the other leaders of the Anglican Communion about the plight of LGBT people in Uganda, punctuated by the recent brutal murder of David Kato, an LGBT activist and member of the church.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Break the Silence Concert

On Sunday, February 20th, Intersections International presents a spectacular concert to benefit Believe Out Loud, the multi-denominational revolution of welcome that's sparking new ways of thinking in churches across the country.

Join us for Break the Silence, an afternoon of spectacular music and celebration featuring the Anna Crusis Women’s Choir of Philadelphia, the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus and the Lavender Light Gospel Choir at the beautiful Marble Collegiate Church in New York City. Proceeds benefit the Believe Out Loud project, a collaboration of Intersections International, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force's Institute of Welcoming Resources, and twelve Christian denominations. Within the Episcopal Church, Integrity and the various OASIS diocesan LGBT outreach programs, along with TransEpiscopal, are working with congregations to promote inclusion. For more information on Believe Out Loud within the Episcopal Church, visit An Invitation to Become a Believe Out Loud Episcopal Congregation.

Tickets are $20.00 in advance; $15.00 for groups of five or more; and $25.00 at the door.

For more information, contact James Rowe at Intersections International.

WHEN:  Sunday, Feb. 20th at 3:00 p.m.
WHERE: Marble Collegiate Church, 3 W 29 St, New York, NY
- Subway: 28th & Broadway (N,R) 28th & Lexington (4,6)
- Bus: X27 (5th Ave & W 30 St)

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Statement on the Murder of David Kato by the Bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of New York

Statement on the Murder of David Kato
by the Bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of New York

January 28, 2011

Like many around the world, we are horrified to learn of the vicious murder of Ugandan LGBT rights activist David Kato in Mukono, Kampala. Though the circumstances of Mr. Kato's death are still under investigation, we know that he, along with other activists in Uganda have lived under the threat of violence and imprisonment in recent times. Mr. Kato, who was the advocacy officer for Sexual Minorities Uganda, as well as Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo and many others, was targeted last fall in a Ugandan magazine. All LGBT persons along with their advocates are at risk due to the general hostility toward them in Uganda and, in particular, due to pending legislation which would call for imprisonment or even death.
We call upon all people of good will, and especially the people of the Episcopal Diocese of New York and our sister and brother Anglicans around the world, to stand in solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons, and to resist language, laws and actions which marginalize and even criminalize their relationships. Further, given the current hostile climate in Uganda, we call upon the Anglican church of Uganda to speak up for human rights for all God's children. Further, we call upon the United States government to grant asylum to LGBT persons from Uganda and other nations where the threat of violence is great.
We pray for the repose of the soul of David Kato, for his family and friends as they mourn, and for the LGBT community in Uganda and their allies as they struggle for an end to the fear and violence, which threaten them every day.

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

The Rt. Rev. Catherine S. Roskam
Bishop Suffragan of New York

The Rt. Rev. Andrew D. Smith
Assistant Bishop of New York

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Two dads, two boys, a horse, and a lot of love

The New York Times has this article about Maurice Mannion-Vanover, his two dads, brother--and horse, in Montclair, New Jersey.

The love and support of their parish, St. Luke's in Montclair, comes across in the article as well. I was at Maurice's funeral, and the outpouring of affection from parish family, friends, and family was incredibly moving.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Integrity NYC-Metro Congratulates Erik Bottcher on NY Cabinet Seat

Members of the Integrity NYC-Metro steering committee were pleased to learn yesterday that Erik Bottcher, most recently the LGBT/HIV community liaison to New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, has been named to the cabinet of New York's recently-elected governor, Andrew Cuomo, as Special Assistant for Community Affairs, a new position.

"I've worked with Erik Bottcher--a fellow activist and New York City Council staffer--quite often over the past couple of years," said Integrity NYC-Metro Steering Committee member Michael Mallon, who is on the staff of Council Member Daniel Dromm. "Erik proved himself to be a tireless advocate for the LGBT community during his tenure as LGBT Liaison for NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn; I know he will continue the stellar work as a member of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's cabinet."

Bottcher, 31, is a native of Wilmington, N.Y., and a graduate of George Washington University. He was recently named to City Hall's "Rising Stars" list of 40 influential people under the age of 40.

Michael Mallon and Erik Bottcher at the "We Will Not Be Silent"
Community Rally in 2009

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Short Films Encourage Acceptance by Families

Courtesy of the Impact Program blog, "Always My Son" is one of a series of short documentary films called are being produced by the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University to encourage the families of young LGBT people from a variety of cultural backgrounds to be supportive vs. judgmental.  Studies show a family's response can have a dramatic effect on a person's well-being.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why Integrity/NYC-Metro? Why Now?

In its original incarnation, Integrity/NY served as a support and refuge for gay and lesbian Episcopalians who had very few welcoming parishes to choose from.

Today, we are blessed in the dioceses of Long Island, New York and Newark with a wide variety of parishes who have integrated LGBT people as members, leaders, and clergy.

You might well ask, “Why is Integrity/NYC-Metro needed?”

Our LGBT brothers and sisters need our support. There are many Episcopalian and Anglican LGBT people who are not as blessed as we are. This past fall, Integrity/NYC-Metro helped raise $6500 to support Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, a Ugandan supporter of LGBT rights who has been stripped of all his income and threatened with death, because he believes in our equality before God. There are U.S. dioceses in which no openly LGBT person can present themselves for vocational discernment, solely by virtue of their orientation or identity. We need to continue to stand with those in need.

There are LGBT Christians who are seeking welcoming churches. Many LGBT people who were raised in hostile churches or denominations still love Jesus Christ and want to follow him as Lord, even though they feel shunned or alienated by “organized religion.” Integrity/NYC-Metro wants to reach out to these Christians and offer them the same gift we have found for ourselves—membership in welcoming, truly integrated faith communities. Parents of LGBT people have also found themselves choosing their love for their children over the condemnation of their churches, and they too seek church homes. We are actively working to identify parishes who want to be part of this Integrity/NYC-Metro movement.

We need to be as out as Christians as we are as LGBT people. Many progressive people scoff at Christianity as a close-minded, ignorant refuge for the hate-addicted and self-righteous. We need to fight that stereotype by coming out as Christian and LGBT wherever and whenever the opportunity presents itself. Integrity/NYC-Metro is a supportive group for coming out as Christian!

Please join Integrity today. A portion of every member’s dues comes back to our chapter. This is how you can support our ongoing outreach to the LGBT community and the church. Visit and sign up at the Membership link. Be sure to specify Integrity/NYC-Metro as your chapter!


Mary O'Shaughnessy