Take Ariana Gonzalez-Bonillas, a rising sophomore at Wellesley College and a duly-elected as lay deputy from the Diocese of Arizona. Ariana discerned her call to this position through her participation in the 77th General Convention in Indianapolis in 2012 in the Official Youth Presence. There she sponsored and stewarded resolution D067, which coaxed the Church to support legislation seeking justice for immigrants, particularly legislation supporting Dreamers or providing scholarships for undocumented students. A Cradle Episcopalian, a bi-lingual and bi-cultural Latina who came to leadership through participation in the EYE – the Episcopal Youth Event – as a member of the leadership team, Ariana grew up in a family in which two of her “Tias,” (her aunties), were a lesbian couple who taught her that there is no such thing as “different” love. They taught her that the divine love is offered to and expressed in everyone equally. Then her activity with the broad swathe of Episcopal youth in the EYE also made her aware of the need to extend that divine love to non-binary people too, people who identify neither as women nor as men.
Ariana’s vision for our renewed Church – her will, she is careful to point out, not necessarily God’s! – is that we need to become more diverse and accepting. “We think we are,” she says, “but we're not funding multi-ethnic, multi-cultural resolutions, nor parishes. We need to make sure that our women are encouraged, if they feel called to ordained ministry, that they actually can answer that call. We need to back people of color in ministry, to address social justice issues and advocate with our government for the needs of the marginalized. Marginalized people need to be recognized, LISTENED to and heard, and then invited into collaboration with us for the work of justice. Let marginalized people take the lead in addressing their own problems. Let there be no more paternalism from people of privilege.” Then she wraps it up by pleading, “Let us love everyone unconditionally!”
We NEED women like Ariana and the other young women who have been profiled in these pages, if we are to realize the glorious future to which we are called, in the power of God. There are more, so many more, just in these halls of General Convention alone – women I have interviewed but could not include here in the short span of General Convention, including the Rev. Adrien Dawson of Baltimore Maryland or the Rev. Miranda Hasset of Madison Wisconsin - let alone in the wider Church. We’ve got work to do at every level of our church, from congregational calling committees to episcopal search committees and electorates. Ephpatha, BE OPENED, Church! As the Most Rev. Frank Griswold reminded us at the celebration on Monday of our current Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, quoting Dom Helder Camara, “in Christ, our doors, our hearts must be open to everyone, absolutely everyone.” That includes the doors of leadership, open to women. Truly, absolutely, open.