Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Katie Sherrod to Speak on Human Rights March 7th in Fort Worth

Local Episcopalian, Producer, and Human Rights Advocate Katie Sherrod will present her recently produced documentary "Voices of Witness: Africa" on Saturday, March 7, at 10 a.m. in the parish hall of Trinity Episcopal Church, 3401 Bellaire Drive South in Fort Worth. The documentary features how members of the gay and lesbian community in Africa are treated (which can be brutal and sometimes lead to death) and gives light to the Christian on what social justice is truly about. Interviewed in this documentary are gay and lesbian Anglicans who have the opportunity to tell their stories. At the 2008 Lambeth Conference, a preview of this documentary was shown and received rave reviews.

"The response to this film has been so overwhelmingly positive and we've received so many requests for a second showing that we're thrilled to extend this preview to a wider audience," said the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Black, photographer of the documentary and one of the its producers.
Davis Mac-Iyalla, the Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria, who has been awarded asylum in the UK due to threats made against him because of his sexual orientation, says, "This project reveals that there are homosexual Anglicans in Africa and it highlights the violence and inhumanity waged against them. I urge as many people as possible to come and experience this [film]."

The documentary is 30 minutes long and will be followed by an opportunity for questions and answers. This presentation is co-sponsored by Integrity Fort Worth and Brite Divinity School. There is no admission. The general public is welcomed to attend. If you have any questions concerning this event you may contact Thomas Squiers at 817-784-5132 or you may e-mail Integrity at info@integrityfortworth.org.

http://integrityfortworth.blogspot.com/2009/02/katie-sherrod-presents-voices-of.html

Monday, February 16, 2009

Life Abundant in the Desert

We are living in a desert time. How appropriate is it that Lent is so near? What better way to enter into a period of discernment than to be in the throes of a wildly depressed economic time, a couple of never-ending wars, two foundational peoples trying to eradicate the other, an environmental disaster in the midst of beginning, and a world that is, at large, starving to death?

This is a lean and mean time. On the one hand, all these things are horrible and prophesy a dark death of all that we know. Not a death that will result in resurrection; rather, it is one that will result in us going down into the Pit, not because we have been cast there but because we did not heed the warnings that sprang up all around us. On the other hand, we could look at it as a time to stop, pray, discern just what we are doing wrong and how we go about affecting a change that will be life altering…in a good way.

This is my reflection. What part do I play in this journey to change?

Monday, February 09, 2009

Welcome to Easter in February!

How to begin…I have written and erased at least three sentences and have put this off as I attempt to sort out this hairball of emotions. How do I put into just a few sentences all the hope and fear that is churning within me regarding this weekend of reconstituting the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth?

I remember attending the Special Convention called by then bishop Jack Leo Iker in September 2003. The events of that day are burned into my memory. The special convention was called due to the actions of General Convention '03. As we all know well, Gene Robinson had been called and elected by the Diocese of New Hampshire and this election was approved at General Convention by the Episcopal Church at large.

There, those who worried, fretted and argued that the fact that Gene was a gay man in a committed relationship could cause problems for the Church. However, he was elected, ironically, on the same premise as was Jack Leo Iker; that is, the people of the diocese elected him and there were no character flaws obvious to keep the deputies and bishops from approving that election. So it was.

Of course, the Diocese of Fort Worth had been angry at the main body of the Church for a while. The good bishop and most of the clergy did not believe that women should be admitted into the process of ordination. They felt it to be in opposition to the Holy Scriptures. The approval of Gene Robinson was yet one more trial to which the clergy and bishop of Fort Worth could not offer acceptance.

Had they gone about the objection in a different way, the outcome might have been different. However, from the beginning, the bishop showed such a disdain for Bishop Robinson, making fun of his name, sneering at those who disagreed with him and wittingly egging others to do the same. People in power lead by example and his example was to act in a childish, snide and diminutive way. Others followed that lead. The result was lies, lies and more lies.

The Special Convention was full of hate and misinformation with the majority of those there buying into both fully. I found myself in the full grasp of the Holy Spirit and realized with a great deal of panic that I needed to speak out against some of the fear and hate that covered the room with a putrid pall.

Giving into this Spirit that gripped me, I told her that she best be putting words in my mouth. And well she did.

I stood up at the microphone and introduced myself as a Lay Reader, volunteer on various committees and Altar Guild, mother, daughter, sister, niece, aunt, lover, friend and a Lesbian. I asked them to please look and me and let my face burn into their memories the next time that they begin to think of "homosexuals" as pedophiles, murderers, thieves and all the other horrendous analogies many by them (clergy and lay) stupidly made. I said thank you and I sat down.

One might have thought that it would have made a difference. Maybe it did to a few. But immediately the next person began speaking and it was fairly obvious that those whose minds were set in stone would not be moved. The hate and rage grew from there.

This Special Convention called by the Presiding Bishop to elect a Provisional Bishop and to reconstitute the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth was very different than that other Special Convention.

Joy-filled, joyful, unbridled and even a bit rowdy – all these words could be used to describe the atmosphere there. I likened the atmosphere to the image of people coming up out of a dark dungeon and for the first time in a very long while seeing the sunlight. As their eyes adjusted to the light, the joy at being released from the darkness just could not be bound up by Robert's Rules of Order.

So, is the problem solved? No. Jack Iker may have been the one to blame for many (most) of the problems but he was not alone.

Will the problem right itself? It will, with God's help and with a whole lot of work by the people of the Diocese.

Everything is not now perfect in Fort Worth. But it is a whole lot better than it used to be! I still have to sort out all my emotional entanglement between Fort Worth and Missouri. But I am working on it and I think I already have the answer. Fort Worth will always be home but Missouri is where we are called to be at this time. Here we will stay until God directs us in another direction.

Meanwhile in Fort Worth, as several people said, "Welcome to Easter in February!"

Thanks be to GOD! Alleluia Alleluia!



For my friends in Fort Worth

From today's Daily Office:

oremus Bible Browser : Isaiah 58:1-12:

Isaiah 58:1-12

58 Shout out, do not hold back!
Lift up your voice like a trumpet!
Announce to my people their rebellion,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 Yet day after day they seek me
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that practised righteousness
and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgements,
they delight to draw near to God.
3 ‘Why do we fast, but you do not see?
Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?’
Look, you serve your own interest on your fast-day,
and oppress all your workers.
4 Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to strike with a wicked fist.
Such fasting as you do today
will not make your voice heard on high.
5 Is such the fast that I choose,
a day to humble oneself?
Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush,
and to lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Will you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?

6 Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
8 Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator* shall go before you,
the glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard.
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am."