Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Heritage of Pride March, June 24th in NYC

Please see details below regarding the Episcopal presence in the Heritage of Pride March:
Dear Fellow Episcopalians,
For the past several years, the Committee on LGBT Concerns has organized a float in the annual LGBT Pride March, to be held this year on Sunday, June 24th, 2012. Several hundred Episcopalians, from parishes large and small, from Staten Island to Sullivan County, march down Fifth Avenue with the float under the slogan “The Episcopal Church Welcomes You”.  For the past two years we have been by far the largest religious contingent in the entire March!
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.
In order to do this again in 2012, 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 $5000.00 and $6000.00 and our suppliers (float, music, registration) require payment in advance. 
The Church of St. Luke in the Fields has agreed to act as our treasurer again 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 24, 2012.  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 Facebook page  as soon as the March organizers let us know.
If you have any questions, please contact Paul Lane at 646-456-8705 or LGBTConcerns@dioceseny.org
Thank you and we look forward to seeing you there,
Paul J. Lane - LGBT Pride March Coordinator
The Committee on LGBT Concerns of the Episcopal Diocese of New York

Screening of "Love Free or Die" in Morristown June 10

On Sunday, June 10 at 3 p.m., there will be a screening of Love Free or Die,  the award-winning biography of Bishop Gene Robinson, at the Church of the Redeemer in Morristown, N.J., an Integrity Proud Parish Partner.

The screening will be free.  A freewill offering will be taken to support further promotion of the film.  A discussion will follow the screening and refreshments will be available.   Redeemer is an easy walk from the Morristown train station (see map below).

Winner of a special jury prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, Love Free or Die is "compelling storytelling, even for those familiar with the outlines of Robinson’s story: his 2003 consecration as a bishop, the backlash from conservatives within the U.S. and global church, and the Episcopal Church’s decision at its 2009 general convention to continue to ordain gay bishops and to develop blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples," as reviewed by Peter Montgomery in Religion Dispatch.

Others in the church - both for and against Bishop Robinson's ordination - are interviewed, including the Right Rev. Otis Charles, who came out and married his partner after retiring as bishop of Utah; the Right Rev. Barbara Harris, the first female bishop in the Anglican Communion; and a Ugandan woman living with HIV.

Footage from some of the major public events in Bishop Robinson's episcopacy are featured, including a dramatic confrontation with a heckler while preaching in England.

The first of a series of screenings around the Diocese of Newark, this event is co-sponsored by the Church of the Redeemer and St. Gregory's Episcopal Church in Parsippany, with assistance from The OASIS and Integrity NYC-Metro.

PLEASE HELP US spread the word about this event by sharing this flyer. Facebook users please RSVP and invite your friends here.

Reviews of Love Free or Die:
  • WHAT: Screening of Love Free or Die
  • WHEN:  Sun., Jun 10 at 3pm
  • WHERE: Church of the Redeemer, 36 South Street, Morristown, NJ
  • COST: Free (contributions welcome)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

IntegrityUSA General Convention Reception June 2

Integrity is hosting a wine-and-hors d'ouvres reception on Saturday, June 2 at noon, at St. Mark's Church in the Bowery in NYC to share information about our plans for General Convention 2012 and beyond.  The event will be hosted by Lis Jacobs, the Treasurer of IntegrityUSA

If you are curious about  Integrity's work and would like to know more, or have ideas about where you think we should be headed, Please attend or contact us for more information. We have offered some perspective on the relevance of Integrity's work in a recent post.  

St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery,  is located at 131 East 10th Street, on the corner of 2nd Avenue. It is the second-oldest church in Manhattan and the oldest continuously-operating place of worship in New York City.  They are an Integrity Proud Parish Partner and we are grateful to them for hosting this event.  We hope you will join us!

  • WHAT: IntegrityUSA General Convention 2012 Reception
  • WHEN:  Sat. June 2, 12-2 p.m.
  • WHERE: St. Mark's Church in the Bowery
    131 East 10th Street  New York, NY 10003
    (Transit: 3rd Ave at 14th St.  )
  • COST: Free (contributions welcome towards Integrity's General Convention 2012 campaign)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Free HIV Tests at Church of the Intercession this Saturday

This event, not sponsored by Integrity NYC-Metro, is shared as a public service.

The Church of the Intercession together with the National Black Leadership Coalition on AIDS, the New York City Council Faith Based HIV/AIDS Initiative, and Harlem United will be hosting their third HIV testing and awareness campaign at the Episcopal Church of the Intercession, 550 West 155th Street (located on the southeast corner of 155th and Broadway).

The public is invited for free testing and to receive valuable information on HIV/AIDS.

  • When: Saturday, May 19th, 12:30 - 2:30 p.m.
  • Where: Episcopal Church of the Intercession, 550 West 155th Street (located on the southeast corner of 155th and Broadway)
    TRANSIT: 157 St 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

For Just Such a Time as This

 "Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this."

A question that seems to be in people's minds, if not verbalized, is "Why do we need Integrity around here?" Our bishops ride on Pride floats and speak out for the rights of LGBT people. We have numerous congregations who are welcoming and LGBT people are involved in all levels of ministry. We perform same-sex marriages and blessings in our churches.  And today, the sitting President of the United States announced in an election year that he personally supports same-sex marriage.

Amid all this progress, there's a temptation to sit back and be satisfied.  After all, for LGBT people in our area, finding a church where you can participate fully without your orientation presenting a barrier is easy.  We're past all that, aren't we?

And yet, we're not.

Yesterday, the people of North Carolina, egged on in large part by religious leaders, voted to enshrine discrimination against same-sex couples into their constitution.  Last week, a video circulated in which a pastor in that state advocated physical abuse of effeminate boys.  Our local pride events are frequently protested by "ex-gay ministries" and NYC's new cardinal has warned Catholic churches who dare minister to LGBT people without reminding them of their "disordered" state.

Despite efforts by many progressive Christian leaders to the contrary, the overwhelmingly dominant message on the American airwaves remains that if you're gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, there's no place in church for you.  As rapidly as America seems to be evolving in its acceptance of LGBT issues, the perception is that the institutional church is stubbornly staying behind, and the fact that a recent Pew study showed that over a quarter of young people claim no religious affiliation at all is a telling indicator of what this means for our relevance, leaving young people like this one wondering if the church will be around for them when they're our age.   Also, although in the same poll 70% of Episcopalians support LGBT inclusion, we still have dioceses -- including one nearby -- where people with a same-sex partner are not able to pursue ordination or have their relationships acknowledged by the church.

It will take witness from every single one of us to turn this tide. Some of this work happens at the congregational and even individual level, and our chapter continues to partner with The OASIS and the LGBT Concerns Committee of the Diocese of New York to make that happen here.  But a national voice is also needed.  Integrity is the largest advocate for the LGBT community within the church, and traditionally represents our interests at General Convention.  Our work is entirely supported by our members and partners, with no funding from the national church.  We've set an ambitious goal of $100,000 to mobilize a team of volunteers, of which nearly half has already been contributed, thanks be to God..

Integrity's platform for GC12 includes:

  • Advocate for liturgical blessings for same gender couples throughout the Church.
  • Support the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music's call for a church wide conversation on marriage.
  • Fervently advocate for full inclusion of our transgender sisters and brothers, by supporting a resolution which adds "Gender Identity" and "Gender Expression" to the church's non-discrimination canons and
  • Release Voices of Witness 3: OUT OF THE BOX. A video and study guide on transgender issues, and provide a copy to all bishops and deputies
  • Call for strong church wide response to all aspects of bullying, especially that which is based on sexual orientation or gender expression.
If you are able to support Integrity in this work, please consider a donation of any size to our General Convention fund. We also seek to forge or re-establish ongoing partner relationships with congregations in the Dioceses of Long Island, New Jersey, Newark and New York. Our partners work with us to plan programming in the area, receive a voting seat on our national Stakeholders' Council, and we actively promote them as welcoming places of worship to our members. If you are not an official member of Integrity, please consider joining us.

Please contact us if you have any questions or ideas about Integrity's presence at GC12 or are willing to work with us to make these goals a reality. Our NYC-Metro Chapter is already helping with a fund-raiser next month, and we'd love to see you there (details soon). We look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you!