Integrity USA has elected a new board of directors.
This past General Convention has called the Episcopal Church to lead and serve in even more inclusive ways. Integrity USA is excited to answer that call. We now have a full Board of Directors ready to serve the church and our movement through uncharted possibilities.
Each of the people who volunteered to run for election and were chosen to serve bring unique gifts to their upcoming ministries. They are united, however, in their dedication and faith in the future of this organization.
The new Board has many things going for it which will prove to be valuable as our work continues to evolve. Four of the six members live in Southern states (Provinces 4 and 7), which means that the needs of this region will be better represented than ever before. Three members identify as either transgender or gender non-conforming. There is no doubt that their voices and votes on this Board will help Integrity to be even more sensitive and equipped to serve this growing demographic in our church. We have laypeople, a deacon and a priest serving fully according to their callings. Each member has a long history of local activism, church involvement and servant leadership. Your new Board of Directors are:
Bruce Garner, President (Diocese of Atlanta)
The Rev. Gwen Fry, V.P. of National Affairs (Diocese of Arkansas)
S Wayne Mathis, V.P. of Local Affairs (Diocese of Texas)
The Rev. Carolyn Woodall, Stakeholder’s Chair (Diocese of San Joaquin)
Mel Soriano, Secretary/Communications (Diocese of Los Angeles)
Deanna Bosch, Treasurer (Diocese of Texas)
Integrity USA’s mission is “to inspire and equip the Episcopal Church, its dioceses, congregations and members to proclaim and embody God’s all-inclusive love for LGBTQ persons and those who love them”. Your new Board of Directors are excited to work toward this holy goal. Please love and support them as they honor you with their selfless service.
Bruce Garner writes:
The year 2015 has been an historic year in both the Episcopal Church and in the United States in the long journey for full inclusion and equal rights and rites for persons who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning…LGBTQ folks. We can legally marry our same gender partners in both church and civil ceremonies. Yes, that is remarkable, but it is only one step of many on a still long path to where we are entitled to be.
While we can marry, we can still be fired from employment in too many states. We can still be conveniently overlooked in the clergy deployment process in too many dioceses. We still face obstacles in adopting children, especially second parent adoptions. We are still the objects of those who want to inflict bodily harm on us because of who we are. The actions and attitudes of a County Clerk in Kentucky over the last few weeks’ stand witness to how much still needs to change for us to be fully included in both society and church.
Twenty five years ago I was in the same position I am in now: President of Integrity, having been elected in 1990. We had recently concluded the work of the General Convention of 1991. That convention was a water shed convention born out of the pain of exclusion…..and that pain began to surface in Phoenix, Arizona, as the convention progressed. The pain also began to be healed at that convention. Two gay deputies came out on the floor of the House of Deputies and the building did not collapse. The first serious debate about LGBTQ issues of inclusion took place before hundreds if not a thousand of deputies and bishops. I will never forget the impromptu gathering outside an exhibit hall after that debate as we formed a circle and began to sing songs and hymns, many with tears streaming down our faces, particularly as we sang “We shall overcome.”
That was a beginning and much has changed. Much has not changed.