INTEGRATOR, the newsletter of Integrity in Canada
copyright 2006 Integrity/Toronto.
The hard-copy version of this newsletter carries the ISSN 0843-574X
Integrity/Toronto Box 873 Stn F Toronto ON Canada M4Y 2N9
MONTREAL DEAN CHALLENGES BIGOTRY REVEALED AT DIOCESAN SYNOD
by the Rev Canon Joyce Sanchez
Ross Hammond reports on Integrity Ottawa's first monthly eucharist
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Bonnie Crawford-Bewley tells why, for her, nothing short of marriage is sufficient
THIRD TIME THE CHARM?
Chris Ambidge reports on same-sex marriage debates in Parliament
A TALE OF COLORADO [SELF-] HATRED
Chris Ambidge on gay pastors, and the damage they do, and the way they were themselves damaged
INTEGRITY NOW IN WINNIPEG
ST MICHAEL REPORT GOING TO GENERAL SYNOD
Montreal dean challenges bigotry revealed at diocesan synod
by the Rev Canon Joyce Sanchez
The diocese of Montreal has a "conference synod" every three years. The focus of this year's conference synod was the blessing of same-sex unions.
The conference centred on four speakers. After each, participants in table groups were asked to respond to what they heard by expressing what they learned, what they agreed with, what they disagreed with, what they had questions about, and what other thoughts they had about same sex unions. The results were recorded on newsprint, gathered up, reproduced verbatim, and distributed to the Synod the following day.
This was a difficult, and at times painful, process, especially for the GLBT Anglicans present. The eyes of many other Anglicans were opened as they encountered the anger, hatred and bigotry that the results showed to exist in parts of our diocese.
It prompted our Dean, Michael J. Pitts, to come to the microphone and read this statement, which was greeted with applause:"In the course of this Synod, I have become more and more appalled at the narcissisms and total lack of empathy with others, especially those different from ourselves, which I have heard and read. I can only see this as part of a continuum of social dis-order, which leads both to the violence we are experiencing in our city and the violence being wrought in our world by both states and terrorists. I am not only appalled on my own behalf: I am deeply offended at the pain and hurt suffered by the gay lesbian members of this synod.
"I have been part of the Anglican Communion for over sixty years, but today, I do not know how much longer I can continue as a member of a church which fosters and encourages these hateful, violent, homophobic and misogynous attitudes, and fails to grapple with the social sickness which underlies them."
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Although the meeting of the synod showed that bigotry exists in parts of the diocese of Montreal, synod members welcomed Integrity Montreal's presence and gifts of flowers and bookmarks. They also elected Canon Sanchez, and Integrity Montreal chair Dion Lewis as delegates to General Synod.
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JOYCE SANCHEZ is Associate Priest at Christ Church Cathedral in Montreal.
She facilitates the work of Integrity Montreal there, and was named a Canon at the October 2006 Synod
by Ross Hammond
On the evening of Sunday, 5 November, close to 90 people began the inaugural monthly Eucharist sponsored by Integrity Ottawa with these words: "Inviting God, you have gathered us in your community. You have made a place for us ..."
The physical 'place' was the Church of the Ascension, overlooking the Rideau Canal in downtown Ottawa. The 'us' was a mixed group of young and old, male and female, gay and straight, and people from various ethno-cultural and faith backgrounds. We were 'gathered' for the purpose of intentionally expansive worship within the Anglican tradition - and of course food and fellowship afterwards.
Over the past several months Integrity Ottawa has been busy - working toward the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people in the life of the Anglican Church of Canada. Some members have made their mark in the on-line debates on the diocesan list serve; others are visible at such diverse public events as the Gay Pride Festival Parade and the Diocese of Ottawa Synod, wearing our trademark pink T-shirts, which proclaim "God Thinks I'm Fabulous." Members of at least 5 different parishes participate in wonderful potlucks and intense business/planning meetings as we figure out how to best promote necessary changes within the church and how to minister to each other in the process.
This past July Integrity Ottawa contracted with the Rev Linda Privitera to serve as chaplain. In the early fall the group decided to identify a specific time and location for celebrating the Eucharist together along with any others who would want to join in that worship experience. And so it came to pass: the first Sunday of every month at the Church of The Ascension.
The electronic and paper-based invitations spread throughout the diocese announced both that everyone was welcome and that Integrity Ottawa had a stated purpose of ensuring that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people know that there is a place for us all in the Anglican Church. The intent was to model expansiveness, not exclusivity or isolationism.
And so we gathered on that evening, as invited by God, and welcomed by Integrity Ottawa to experience worship in the Anglican tradition, but not always traditionally Anglican. Tone Cluster, a self-identified 'queer choir' provided beautiful musical background as well as leadership in psalms, anthems and hymns of a variety of styles. Priests from several parishes in the diocese participated in a variety of ways. The readings were those assigned for the day in the lectionary. The sermon reflections and prayers of the people were interactive in nature, building on the experience, spirit and wisdom of the community. During the offertory hymn, we offered not money but ourselves as individuals and as a gathered community around the altar. The Eucharistic Prayer was from the Book of Alternate Services. The bread and wine were distributed as we stood in the circle.
Tone Cluster sang us out with a South African freedom song: Siyahamba - "We are marching in the Light of God."
Almost a month later we are finalizing details for the next public Eucharist. In the meantime we have heard the usual suggestions for ways in which to improve the mechanics of the service. And we have heard other things that suggest this monthly Eucharist meets a need.
Several people who were present spoke of the value of the interactive parts of the experience - offering ideas during the reflections; naming places, situations and individuals during the prayers of the people; joining with the community in offering ourselves.
One person talked to a friend about the service and that friend was so taken with the description that he is planning to attend one soon and bring some of his friends with him.
Members of the Youth Synod of the diocese have indicated an interest in joining with us when possible.
One of the priests who attended sees this as an opportunity to once again provide a ministry of corporate worship to friends of hers who have been hurt and driven from the church.
God invites us to community in faith - we delight in the invitation and extend it to all others: Everyone is welcome; come as you are; come who you are.
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has been actively involved in the parish of St John the Evangelist, Ottawa, for the past six years.
He is currently chair of the Chaplaincy Steering Committee of Integrity Ottawa
What is in a name?
Why nothing but Marriage is good enough
The Anglican Church of Canada faces many possibilities for same-sex couples: should the church stand pat? Affirm couples, but do no more? Follow the New Westminster example and go for blessings? Move to marry same-sex couples in the church? BONNIE CRAWFORD-BEWLEY tells why for her, nothing short of marriage is sufficient.
I have heard the theological arguments. Marriage is a blessing from the Church on the union of a man and a women and a Same Sex Blessing would be a theologically equivalent service for the blessing of gay or lesbian couples. Both services would be equal in the eyes of God. As true as that may be, that is not what is relevant.
This is not a debate about how God views my family. I have no doubt at all that my family is blessed by God and equal in God's eyes. I also think that anyone who sees the love between myself, my wife Michelle and our amazing daughter Tiana, can clearly see that our family is blessed by God.
This debate is about how the Anglican Church of Canada views my family, and the message is clear. As long as it is important to the Church to make a distinction between Marriage for families consisting of a man and a women, and Blessings for gay or lesbian families, it is saying our families are inferior, not as real, that they are second class. As long as the distinction is important to the Church it is important to me. I can not, and will not, accept a judgement from anyone of my family as second class.
I will keep fighting for recognition by the Church of my family as fully equal to all other families it blesses. I have been told that it will take three synods to change the Marriage Canon. It seems absurd to me that it takes one synod to agree to ordain women and three to agree to marry Gay and Lesbian couples, but so be it. The length of the process is all the more reason we need to start now.
My family is equal in the eyes of the state and more importantly my family is equal in God's eyes. A blessing giving my family second class status from the Church is not good enough. It is time that the Anglican church of Canada steps up and says that my Family is equal in its eyes too.
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Bonnie Crawford-Bewley has been active with Integrity Toronto for nearly two decades now.
In that time, she has been part of the Integrity team at several General Synods, and met her wife Michelle.
They have a daughter who keeps BOTH of her mothers busy
Third Time the Charm?
Chris Ambidge reports on same-sex marriage debates in Parliament
On 7 December, the House of Commons soundly defeated a government motion asking for legislation to return to the "traditional definition of marriage" -- that is, to stop same-sex marriages. The motion was an election promise by now-Prime Minister Harper. After the vote, the PM said "I do not see re-visiting this question". That decision will make Integrity supporters glad, though social conservatives are displeased.
The Commons have now debated same-sex marriages three times, in three different Parliaments, with three different Prime Ministers, and each time approved the idea. In 2003, a motion by then-opposition leader Harper for the "traditional definition" was defeated 137-132. In 2005, the Civil Marriage Act was approved 158-133. And now, in 2006, the motion to re-visit was defeated 175-123. The majority has grown each time, reflecting the growing acceptance of same-sex marriage in Canada. Even people who voted against the CMA last year, voted against the 2006 motion to revisit, saying that the question has been settled in Canada, and it's time to move on.
Would that the Church could join in .
As these parliamentary votes demonstrate, Canada is a country where same-sex marriage is widely accepted, and that acceptance is growing with time. Canada is also the only country where there is both a large Anglican population and same-sex marriage. While other parts of the Anglican communion have difficulty with anything vaguely homosexual, they need to realise that Canada's social milieu is different to theirs, and the Anglican Church of Canada will have a different perspective.
A Tale of Colorado [Self-]Hatred
by Chris Ambidge
The Rev Ted Haggard ("Pastor Ted") was the founder and chief pastor of New Life Church, an enormous big-box evangelical church in Colorado Springs. He was also President of the National Association of Evangelicals. He participated in weekly conference calls with President Bush. He campaigned actively against any homosexual rights legislation and conversely for legislative initiatives to embed opposite-sex-only definitions of marriage. He is also, it turns out, homosexual.
In the run-up to the US elections in early November 2006, Mike Jones, a gay sex-trade worker made public that Pastor Ted had regularly paid him for sex, and had purchased crystal meth. Jones recognised Haggard from a TV appearance, and went public to decry the hypocrisy between Haggard's anti-gay public activities, and his sexuality.
After initial denials, Haggard resigned or was fired from his church positions. The following Sunday, his apology was read to his congregation. In it, he said, "The fact is I am guilty of sexual immorality...There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all of my adult life."
There lies the real tragedy of this sad tale. Ted Haggard is so at odds with his inborn sexual orientation that he finds the core of his being repulsive and dark and something to be at war with. The church - in the broadest sense of that term - must bear some responsibility for imposing that upon Mr Haggard.
I am not trying to absolve Mr Haggard from responsibility -- he campaigned against the LGBT community, he betrayed his wife, and generally painted himself into a corner. But where did he learn to hate himself? Where did he get the idea that he could deny his homosexuality, "fix it" with marriage? Where did he get the idea that other homosexuals are sick, wrong, undeserving of civil rights? It was the other workers in his part of the church vineyard that did the teaching.
And now those same workers are trying to counsel and turn Ted Haggard into an "ex-gay". He'll try, he feels guilty enough, but it won't work.
He's not alone. Hundreds of thousands of lesbians and gays have absorbed the same message, that their sexual orientation is repulsive and dark and something to be at war with. For God's sake, we have to stop preaching that heresy, that slanderous libel on a loving God who hates nothing in creation.
Integrity now in Winnipeg
November 2006 saw the inaugural meeting of the newest chapter of Integrity in Canada, when Integrity/Winnipeg met at St Matthew's Church at 641 St Matthew's Ave in Winnipeg. They will be meeting at St Matthew's on the first Monday of the month at 7pm. Watch for more news of Integrity/Winnipeg, and their time at Rupert's Land synod in a future issue of Integrator, but in the meantime, welcome! You can email the new chapter at email@example.com
St Michael Report going to General Synod
Council of General Synod heard from Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee about the St Michael Report. CoGS voted to bring this motion to General Synod next summer: "That General Synod accept the conclusion of the Primate's Theological Commission that the blessing of same-sex unions is a matter of doctrine but is not core doctrine in the sense of being credal." Realising that disposition of and future actions arising from the report could lead to "a spider's web of possibilities" for General Synod, the question of procedure was referred to the Handbook Concerns Committee, to be brought back to the next meeting of CoGS in March.