COLUMBUS, OH: Homosexual Front organized at Convention
By Hans Zeiger
COLUMBUS, OHIO (6/15/06)-As the debate over homosexuality intensifies at the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church (ECUSA), two specifically Episcopal homosexual organizations are represented here.
The most important homosexual pressure group at the convention this week is Integrity, founded in 1974 by Dr. Louie Crew to push for full inclusion in ECUSA. Integrity will hold a special Eucharist at Trinity Episcopal Church on Friday evening, at which the gay bishop of New Hampshire, the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, will be the featured speaker.
The Rev. Susan Russell, president of Integrity, will preside at the Eucharist. Russell has testified several times before the Special Committee on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, along with her predecessor, the Rev. Michael W. Hopkins.
The Special Committee is considering proposals related to homosexuality and compliance with the international Windsor Report. The Report calls on ECUSA to repent of its hasty approvals of homosexual practice at the 74th General Convention in 2003, which included the consecration of Bishop Robinson.
Jane Tully, whose husband is the rector of St. Bartholomew's Church in New York, says, "I realized after we consecrated Gene Robinson as bishop that the church was acting a lot like families do when someone comes out."
Tully founded Clergy Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (CFLAG) following her son's announcement of his homosexuality.
With families in more than 30 Episcopal dioceses, CFLAG provides information and resources to clergy and laity with homosexual family members. "We want to be helpful to the church and help the church stand together. We realize that there are many, many thousands of straight people in the Episcopal Church who have gay and lesbian family members with important experiences to share," Tully said.
"Our organization is about helping people in the church understand that we have gay and lesbian church members who don't all feel included in the church community because they've been taught-we've all grown up in a society that tells you there's something wrong with you if you're a homosexual. It's only by listening to people and loving them that we can see God's love in all of their differences, including their sexual orientation," Tully said.
She continued, "One of the myths we've been taught is that people choose their sexuality...I don't know any straight people who choose to be straight. We discover it as we grow up.
"God loves me the way I've been made and God loves the way He made my son. Who he happens to be attracted to is not the point. And the church is finally beginning to understand that God loves people of all kinds however God made them," Tully said.
Asked about Scriptural objections that orthodox Episcopalians claim against the inclusion of homosexuals in the ministry and marital standards of the church, Tully said, "I don't see it. What I do see is the damage done when we use the Bible to make gay and lesbian people hate the way God made them."
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