27 November 2010

Keeping Busy - A few things that I have been involved with recently.

Integrity Participation at the 234th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of New York

Integrity NYC Metro leadership attended the 234th Convention of the Diocese of New York, held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on November 13th, 2010. Paul Lane, the Diocesan Organizer for New York coordinated a table partnership between the Chapter and the LGBT Concerns Committee of the Diocese. Chap Day (Provincial Coordinator, Province II) and Esteban Giron (outgoing Acting Convener) helped staff the table. We had information about Believe Out Loud (brochures and buttons), as well as Integrity membership brochures. A good 50 of each were taken, if not more! We had very positive feedback. Additionally, Bishop Sisk announced a special convention for the election of a Bishop Co-Adjutor, to be held on October 29th, 2011. Bishop Sisk made it clear that although the diocese will be choosing a Bishop Co-Adjutor, to serve as the 16th Bishop of New York upon Bishop Sisk's retirement. Bishop Sisk made it clear that he is not going to be going anywhere in the near future. Bishop Roskam announced her retirement effective January 1st, 2012. Additionally,

The Rt. Rev. Mark Sisk

Trans Day of Remembrance Participation
On Friday, November 19th, Paul Lane, Chap Day, Mary O'Shaughnessy, Michale Mallon and Tina Cioffi (all Integrity NYC Metro board members) attended the Trans Day of Remembrance hosted at the New York LGBT Center. The event was co-sponsored by Gender Identity Project, Human Rights Campaign, and the Church of St. Luke in the Fields. The Rev. Mary Foulke (of St. Luke's) offered an invocation. Integrity NYC members were honored to attend and stand in solidarity with the Trans community.

Welcoming Congregation Workshop Participation

Chap Day, Rev. Susan Copley, Rev. Br. Tobias Haller, BSG
On Saturday, the 20th of November, the Committe on LGBT Concerns of the Diocese of New York sponsored a Welcoming Congregation workshop at St. Ann's Church Morrisania in the Bronx. Integrity NYC Metro Board Members Christian Paolino, Paul Lane, Br. Millard Cook, n/BSG, Mary O'Shaughnessy, Michael Cudney, and Chap Day attended. Paul and Michel, serving in their dual roles as members of the LGBT Concerns Committee helped organize the event. Mary and Chap served as speakers. The Rev. Susan Copley from Christ Church Tarrytown told her own story of moving to full inclusion. The Rev. Tobias Haller, BSG offered a moving reflection on LGBT inclusion that is reproduced on his blog In a Godward Direction.

06 November 2010

A Most Remarkable Man

Two weeks ago I had the privilege of spending an evening at the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew (UMC) on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The guest speaker that night was the Rev. John Makokha, a Senior Pastor of the Riruta United Methodist Church in the suburbs of Nairobi, Kenya. He is the African correspondent for Reconciling Ministries Network and is the Country Coordinator of Other Sheep Kenya, a faith-based LBGT organization.

John is in the back row wearing a rainbow stole.

Rev. Makokha was brought up as an evangelical Christian believing that homosexuality was a sin. He told us of how he came to believe that this teaching is wrong. As a youth, one of his good friends was expelled from school, rejected and thrown out by his family and finally committed suicide. All of this because he was gay. On his journey to becoming a minister, he also had many encounters with LGBT people. Each encounter leading him more and more to the belief that the traditional teachings that he had been brought up with were wrong.

John earned his B.Ed. Degree at the University of Nairobi and has served as graduate teacher in various high schools in Kenya. He was ordained a minister in the Triumphant Pentecostal Church and served as a pastor in a Free Methodist Church. After earning an M.A. degree in Missions at Nairobi Evangelical School of Theology, he started Riruta United Methodist Church, the only Reconciling Ministry (RMN) in Africa. Anne Baraza, his wife, also a graduate of Nairobi Evangelical School of Theology, is the Counselor for Other Sheep Kenya and the CEO of Riruta United Women Empowerment Programme.

As Coordinator for Other Sheep Kenya, John passionately organizes and leads educational awareness seminars on human sexuality and gender identity throughout Kenya. Other Sheep Kenya addresses religious homophobia, trans-phobia, social justice, and HIV/AIDS in Kenya through capacity building and advocacy programs for LGBT people and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). Other Sheep Kenya engages in (1) promoting the recognition and solidarity of LGBT people through recruitment into the organization, counseling/information sharing, and networking; (2) participation in LGBT activities in the country; (3) sharing information and experience between LGBT and PFLAG groups; (4) promoting the human rights of LGBT people through advocacy and campaigns; (5) training and mobilizing religious allies to win the war on homophobia and trans-phobia; (6) providing education, training and information on HIV/AIDS, care and treatment to the LGBT community; (7) promoting reproductive health education; and (8) mitigating against gender based sexual violence and substance and drug abuse within the LGBT community.

Because of his pro-LGBT stance, Rev. Makokha, along with his wife, Anne , have been evicted from their home and from the buildings that they had used as a church. They now have new places to live and worship, but are still in a very precarious situation. But still they persist and need help with some of the basics. They are trying to purchase a small property to house their church so that they no longer risk eviction due to their support of LGBT people. They would also like to buy a car to be used to rescue LGBT people who are under serious threat.

Please visit them.


Much of the information in this post was provided by John’s wife Anne.

03 November 2010

International Campaign launched against Anglican Covenant

I stand with the dedicated group of individuals who have started this movement.  Seriously, if I had wanted to be in a homophobic, misogynistic church with a top-down, dictatorial governing structure I could have remained a Roman Catholic.

LONDON - An international coalition of Anglicans has been created to campaign against the proposed Anglican Covenant. Campaigners believe the proposed Covenant constitutes unwarranted interference in the internal life of the member churches of the Anglican Communion, would narrow the acceptable range of belief and practice within Anglicanism, and would prevent further development of Anglican thought.

The Coalition's website noanglicancovenant.org will provide resources for Anglicans around the world to learn about the potential risks of the proposed Anglican Covenant.

"We believe that the majority of the clergy and laity in the Anglican Communion would not wish to endorse this document," according to the Coalition's Moderator, the Revd. Dr. Lesley Fellows, who is also the Coalition's Convenor for the Church of England. "Apart from church insiders, very few people are aware of the Covenant. We want to encourage a wider discussion and to highlight the problems the Covenant will cause."

The idea of an Anglican Covenant was first proposed in 2004 as a means to address divisions among the member churches of the Anglican Communion on matters ranging from human sexuality to the role of women. The current draft of the Covenant, which has been unilaterally designated as the "final" draft, has been referred to the member churches of the Communion.

The proposed Covenant establishes mechanisms which would have the effect of forcing member churches to conform to the demands and expectations of other churches or risk exclusion from the Communion.

Critics of the proposed Anglican Covenant, including members of the new Coalition, believe that it will fundamentally alter the nature of historic Anglicanism in several ways, including the narrowing of theological views deemed acceptable, the erosion of the freedom of the member churches to govern themselves, and the concentration of authority in the hands of a small number of bishops.

Two English groups, Inclusive Church and Modern Church, ran anti-Covenant advertisements in last week's Church Times and the Church of England Newspaper aiming to make more members of the Church of England aware of the dangers of the proposed Anglican Covenant.

"If the Anglican Communion has a problem, this is not the solution," according to former Bishop of Worcester Peter Selby. "Whether those who originated the Covenant intended it or not, it is already, and will become even more, a basis for a litigious Communion from which some will seek to exclude others."

The launch of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition website coincides with the commemoration of the sixteenth-century theologian Richard Hooker. "Hooker taught us that God's gifts of scripture, tradition, and reason will guide us to new insights in every age," according to the Canadian priest and canon law expert, the Revd. Canon Alan Perry.

"The proposed Anglican Covenant would freeze Anglican theology and Anglican polity at a particular moment. Anglican polity rejected control by foreign bishops nearly 500 years ago. The proposed Anglican Covenant reinstates it."

The No Anglican Covenant Coalition began in late October with a series of informal email conversations among several international Anglican bloggers concerned that the Covenant was being rushed through the approval process before most Anglicans had any opportunity to learn how the proposed new structures would affect them.


Revd. Dr Lesley Fellows (England) +44 1844 239268
Dr. Lionel Deimel (USA) +1-412-512-9087
Revd. Malcolm French (Canada) +1-306-550-2277
Revd. Lawrence Kimberley (New Zealand) +64 3 981 7384