|Presidents of Integrity during the past 25 years at the group's silver anniversary celebration at Christ Church Cathedral last month. L to R: Don Meen, Steve Schuh, Vivien Warr, Mayne Ellis, Kelly Montfort, Dennis Lou-Hing, John FitzGerald, and Gareth Llewellyn|
Many friends and members of Integrity Vancouver gathered at Christ Church Cathedral on April 23rd to celebrate 25 years of active ministry in the Diocese of New Westminster.
Integrity Vancouver is a parachurch organization for gay and lesbian Anglicans and their friends. It offers a welcoming worship experience, pastoral care, and outreach to the local gay community.
The 25th anniversary came at a time of anticipation for the group, reflected in the theme, "To What Do You Call Us Now?"
In his sermon the Rev. Dr. Martin Brokenleg, Director of the Indigenous Studies Program at VST, traced some of the progress for gay and lesbian people in the Church since the group's founding. Drawing on one of the assigned readings of the day, he said that some people in the Church find gay and lesbian Christians to be, like Jesus, a stumbling block to their faith. Integrity members have discovered the truth of the scripture, "once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God."
The Prayers of the People included many spoken requests, including concern for provinces in the Communion where gay men and lesbian women are excluded or discriminated against by the Church. Members also recalled the names of many Integrity friends who have died since the organization began in 1980.
Bishop Michael Ingham, who celebrates the Eucharist with Integrity each year, expressed his appreciation for Integrity's work in the Diocese during the reception after the service.
He was followed by several past presidents of the group who reflected on both the high and low points of the last 25 years - the struggle to find a place to worship, the first literature table at a Diocesan Synod, the first Pride Parade to include an Integrity banner, and the continuing struggle for the full inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the life of the Anglican Church.
Integrity Vancouver meets at 7 PM on the first Sunday of each month at St. Paul's Anglican Church in the West End. For more information please visit www.vancouver.integritycanada. org.