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June 15, 2018                                                                         Friday Flash



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Good Fruit

Good Fruit: Our Work Does Yield Good Fruit! (Eventually)

The good folks at “THE TWELVE” a faith based blog, have showered us queer folk with high praise for our steadfast work over the last few decades. A recent item appears at this link: Five Ways the LGBTQ Community is Saving the Church.

The five ways the article states that we are saving the church are:

1 We’ve had to face our judgment

2 We’ve had to face hard conversations that we previously avoided

3 The LGBTQ community is driving the church to look more deeply at scripture

4 The LGBTQ community is helping us rediscover unity

5 The LGBTQ community is helping us rediscover grace

There is far more to the article than just the lead in to each of the five. I commend the article to you because it helps me and I hope it helps you see what some of the struggle over the last decades has produced, at least in the view of one group of people. Sometimes I fear we are so enmeshed in our work that we never really see the fruit of our labors. The “we” in the first two should apply to us even though in the article the focus is essentially the “straight” church.

We really have had to engage in conversations that are difficult and that, quite frankly, most of us would have avoided unless pushed into them. Sexuality has always been that topic no one wants to discuss because it is a subject that involves all of us. It has nothing to do with the “icky” topic many want to make it. It’s a part of who God created us all to be. There are dozens of facets of the topic, yet the tendency has been to avoid the discussion. I’m inclined to believe that if we can have hard conversations about sex, we can have equally difficult conversations about race, and a host of other areas where our relationships often falte

We certainly have all had to look more deeply into Scripture. I think it is a safe bet that most reading this have had to learn Scripture in order to defend ourselves from its misuse and misinterpretation and its being taken out of context. When an object is being used to oppress, it bears looking at with completely new vision to counter that oppression. Hearing the words “the Bible says” is usually a decent indicator that the words are coming from someone who knows very little about what is actually in the Bible. Scripture is such an important part of our worship that all have benefitted from our studies.

In just a few weeks, we, The Episcopal Church, will have an opportunity to demonstrate how well we have fared in our tasks, even perhaps, saving our church. How well will we do?

Some will trot out old arguments to try and keep queer folks in the second class status where they find themselves in eight of our dioceses. Others will look for ways to create exceptions to the call for full and equal inclusion at all levels of our church, in all the sacraments, all the time. This again will be based on arguments we have heard before, especially about honoring the history of tradition. They were the same words we heard to keep women and people of color “in their place” in church and society. Is oppression really a tradition we should want to uphold?

My recollections of our church’s past is that we consistently have sought ways to create exceptions to that which would hold all accountable to the same standards. Perhaps our biggest debacle was around the ordination of women. There are no exceptions in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are no “carve outs” or “exemptions” or anything else to allow any of us to water down either loving God with all our heart and soul or mind and strength OR loving our neighbor as ourselves. Try as we might, we are all held to that same standard. We cannot water that down.

So while we may bask for a short while in the praise of those who appreciate what we have tried to do, we cannot rest there for long. The arc of history may bend toward justice, but there are always those with short memories who must be continually reminded of what that means and how easily we can back slide right off of that arc.

My broken record: Contact your deputies to General Convention. Contact your bishop(s). Make sure they know you want them to have the church to continue to bear good fruit. Let them hear your stories about how you still don’t enjoy full inclusion in our household of faith.

Please continue to pray daily for the General Convention of our church and all who make decisions that affect us.

And just a reminder: Elections for the new leadership of Integrity USA begin next week. Pray and cast your vote if you are a member. If you are not, join us in bearing good fruit.

Bruce Garner, President

Integrity USA ... The Episcopal Rainbow


Elections next week

The election is electronic and will be held June 20 - June 27. Dues paying members are eligible to vote for the officers. The offices of Chair of the Stakeholders Council and Provincial Coordinators, which are elected by Stakeholders as defined in the bylaws, will not be held pending a review of the bylaws, allowing the new board an opportunity to guide Integrity into its next phase of grassroots leadership.

You can read the bylaws at the following link:

Integrity Election Candidates

President: The Reverend Gwen Fry
Vice-President of National Affairs: Brent Cox
Vice-President of Local Affairs: Kay Smith Riggle
Treasurer: DeAnna Bosch
Secretary/Director of Communications: Letty Guevara-Cuenca

Read about the candidates: 

"I Don't Drive Gays"

No Gays Allowed
Officials are investigating a cab driver after he allegedly told passengers he didn’t “drive gays,” a New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission spokesman said Thursday. Ryan Smith and a friend grabbed a taxi in Manhattan late Tuesday night, talking as they rode downtown, Smith said in a Facebook post. The driver interrupted them.

“Are you gay,” he asked, according to Smith. “Are you a gay man?”

Smith told the driver he was gay.

“I don’t drive gays,” the driver apparently told him.
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Integrity Eucharist: 8 on the 8th!

Be a part of the Episcopal Rainbow and worship with us at Integrity's Eucharist in Austin Texas at the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. The Reverend Gwen Fry will celebrate. The Reverend Carlye J. Hughes, Bishop-elect of Newark, will preach. Also, we will award the Louie Crew Clay awards to The Reverend Gay Clark Jennings and The Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry. The service will held on July 8, 2018 at 8pm in the JW Marriott. All are welcome!
Integrity Eucharist 8pm July 8 - JW Marriott Austin TX
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#GC79 Stickers? Selfies? DVDs?

Integrity at #GC78 in Salt Lake City

Joining us at the 79th General Convention in Austin? Stop by booth 1017 and we'll have stickers to give away. Take a photo and share it on social media. (Above is a photo of the Integrity booth from #GC78 in Salt Lake City back in 2015). Also, for a small donation, you can get DVDs of Out of the Box and other items.

And be sure to put the Integrity Eucharist on your calendar: Sunday July 8, at 8pm in Austin's JW Marriott.

Take us to General Convention

General Convention 2018 for the Episcopal Church is less than three weeks away. We invite you to help us attend and prepare for the work at General Convention, for marriage equality in every diocese, for our youth, and for our transgender siblings. 

Out of The Box and Other Resources

"Voices of Witness: Out of the Box" is a groundbreaking documentary giving voice to the witness of transgender people of faith. Courageously inviting the viewer into their journeys, the film is ultimately a celebration of hope and the power of God's love to transcend even seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Find the film, study guide, and other resources on our web site at the link below. And if you have suggestions to include additional resources, please send them to

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      Houston, TX 77270-0605 USA

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