What’s Next for Integrity - Are We Done? Are You Kidding?
When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” (Lk 12:48)
We celebrated great gains these past several days! The Sacrament of Marriage is now a reality for same-sex couples! Our Church has condemned the evil torture of so-called “Reparative (Conversion) Therapy.” Transgender Episcopalians have asserted that their names are sacred and are to be recognized as holy within liturgy and church records; the Church concurred. Some might wonder—is Integrity is now finished with its mission? Are we done?
Are you kidding me?
• Transgender people are being slaughtered on our streets weekly; suicide kills even more.
• Gender-queer, non-binary, and trans Christians often find our churches less than welcoming.
• Over 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ; most rejected by “Christian homes”.
• While more than 70% of lesbians and gay men say that the people they love know about their sexual orientation, for bisexual peoples that number is 28%. We are not paying attention to the "B" in LGBTQ. We must learn to hear!
• All Dioceses must be held to the Gospel of Inclusion proclaimed by this Church. We can no longer allow LGBTQ people, or children raised by LGBTQ couples, to be excluded from Holy Baptism! Access to Holy Eucharist, Confirmation, Unction and Penance must be available to all the baptized. All who feel called to Holy Orders and/or marriage must be taken seriously and be given the opportunities to live out those vocations.
Racism and sexism still plague our church, society, and the greater LGBTQ movement. We must repent and work toward breaking down these ancient, yet artificial boundaries. We are all one in our Creator's love! We must still lead the Anglican Communion and stand in solidarity with to LGBTQ people in the many provinces where our people face prison or execution! We are now ready to begin to work even harder with God’s help and yours! The Supreme Court has recognized our right to marry and The Episcopal Church recognizes our marriages as sacramental. Rights are nothing if not exercised and sacraments are meant to empower us to serve this broken world in Christ’s name. Are we in the Promised Land after 40 years in the desert? Maybe—some of us are. If you find yourself there, rejoice and start building up Zion for those still on the way. If you are still in the desert, look for one another and keep an eye out for Jesus. Jesus knows the way! Our journey continues, yet some of us now finally have the privilege to build up the Church and to welcome others in a new way. Leverage that privilege and live into being outward signs of that inward grace we receive in the sacraments! Rejoice and be glad!
- Matt Haines, Integrity, President