A few years ago, partly as a result of a decision that was a public relations disaster, the bishop gave permission to form a chapter of Integrity Canada in our diocese. Shawn Sanford Beck was named chaplain and did a fantastic job of drawing people together. When Shawn's license was not renewed, I was named chaplain. There was controversy over the appointment as no one had thought to discuss it with Integrity. When I realized this, I tried to do something about it but made little headway. I discussed it with Integrity members and at first we decided to treat my chaplaincy as an interim one until the group could meet with the bishop. By the time we met with the bishop the group was more at peace with accepting me and I remained chaplain.
Interestingly enough, part of the reason I was chosen chaplain, was that Shawn had been very open and outspoken about his decision to say yes the next time he was asked to do a blessing of same-sex relationship. The powers that be thought that I might temper the group so that they wouldn't become outspoken. My understanding of chaplaincy is to facilitate the growth of the group and ensure that sacramental ministry is provided. It has been wonderful to see this group come into their own. In January they passed their own constitution. They have taken up a request of the bishop to help bring about dialogue in the diocese. There is life and purpose in the group and although our membership numbers have not grown, the commitment of the people has. We are also looking outward at other groups to see if we can help or partner in any way. My role has become smaller and smaller as members of the group start utilizing their gifts in leadership. It is absolutely fantastic to see this group come into their own.
Below is a info-letter that has gone out to the priests of the diocese to promote the workshop the committee has developed with input from interested persons around the diocese.
TOGETHER IN FAITH; ONE IN CHRIST
A Workshop by Integrity/Saskatoon
An Invitation to a GLBTT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered and Two-Spirited) Workshop
The full and equal inclusion of gay, lesbian, and other sexual-minority Anglicans in our Church raises issues that probe our deepest understanding of the Christian faith. Silence has proved ineffective for resolving these divisive issues and the continuation and growth of the resultant discord has reached the point where it threatens the very structure of the Church. Resolution of these issues will allow us to begin to heal and to get on with our witness to the Gospel of Christ however; this resolution will require the development of an informed opinion and a mutually respectful dialogue in the presence of the Holy Spirit. At present no structure or process exists within our Diocese to initiate this resolution and begin the necessary dialogue and healing.
At a meeting of Integrity/Saskatoon in September 2007, the Right Reverend Rodney Andrews, Bishop of Saskatoon discussed the various issues and needs in regards to meeting this impasse with the membership of Integrity. Bishop Rodney made several suggestions on processes that Integrity could follow to address those concerns; Integrity responded to the Bishop’s suggestions by developing a one-day workshop entitled “Together in Faith: One in Christ” designed to give participants the facts and interpersonal skills needed to reach a level of understanding and spiritual growth which, it is hoped, will permit us to go forward together in faith as a people who are one in Christ.
This workshop has been prepared by the Integrity Education Committee with professional assistance from Integrity/Canada, Affirm United, and PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) Canada and also incorporates the findings from two, pre-workshop, brainstorming sessions held last autumn with participants from the parishes of Saskatoon. Following this workshop Integrity/Saskatoon will set up a series of smaller workshops to be held in parishes outside of Saskatoon. This current workshop is scheduled as an all-day event for Saturday, April 12th at Queen’s House Retreat and Renewal Centre, in comfortable surroundings with wheelchair accessibility and ample parking.
DATE, TIME Saturday, April 12th, 2008; 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
PLACE Queen’s House Retreat and Renewal Centre, Saskatoon
FEE $25.00 per person (Integrity/Saskatoon will provide subsidies where needed); includes lunch and coffee breaks. Please make cheques payable to Integrity/Saskatoon.
CONTACT Tom and Rose Rogers, 1534 McKercher Drive, Saskatoon S7H 5E1; Phone: (306)373-5165; E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org .
DEADLINE March 31, 2008