Did you know that The Episcopal Church had been trying for over 40 years to open the doors and give full sacramental access to the LGBTQ community? And while the church has come a long way since the early 70’s in these actions, there are still struggles for full inclusion. We are blessed to be in a diocese that honors full inclusion - both in welcome and in our sacramental life. Two of the four dioceses which I have served since my ordination have not. Those were difficult years for me and ones that required me to use my best formational skills and where simple actions opened conversations. I used to keep a picture of my best friend and his partner front and center on one of my bookshelves - it was amazing how that would give a young person enough courage to begin a conversation. Since our polity works through a democratic process, this can easily be bogged down in bureaucracy and political maneuvers by those on both sides. At the end of this mouth the General Convention of our church will again take up resolutions for regarding same-gender marriage. Please pray for our church as we again try to make full inclusion possible.
Last week I shared a bit of my history and formation regarding the inclusion of LGTBQ people. While much of the reasons for my early experiences are the result of personal relationships, I have also read many good books and in recent years have had access to web-based resources. If you’re looking for anything in particular, I would be happy to talk with you about your specific needs. Because each person’s situation, family, and background are unique, one book or website will not be good for all. Here are just a few of the resources I have found helpful over the years. Some are from a faith perspective and some are not. Please let me know if you have other resources that have been helpful to you.
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, St. Paul MN: http://saintmarysepiscopal.org/curious/lgbt-friendly/ May good resources, links and personal stories are available here.
Official page from The Episcopal Church’s web site: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/lgbt-church Lots of information about the history and continuing work of inclusion of the LGBTQ community with The Episcopal Church. This site also contains many links to other resources and documents.
Integrity: http://www.integrityusa.org/ This grassroots organization developed over 3 decades ago to work for full inclusion of the LGBTQ community outside of the official channels of The Episcopal Church. There are many resources and links on this site, including links to the work of other faith communities.
Books for Children and pre-teens: It’s Not the Stork, It’s So Amazing, and It’s Perfectly Normal are great resources for parents and children about human reproduction, development and sexuality.
Adult Books: This Far by Grace by J. Neil Alexander and Homosexuality and Christian Faith by Walter Wink
For the Bible Tells Me So is an award winning documentary film about a number of families from different faith and cultural communities and their experiences with what it has meant to have a gay or lesbian child and the impact on their family.
The following recommendations come from Michael Austin:
List of books from PFLAG (an organization for parents of LGBTQ children) a good place to start: http://pflagdc.org/learn/recommended-reading-list/
Some direct book suggestions from him as well - all are available via Amazon or other booksellers:
General: God and the Gay Christian
For Kids: And Tango makes Three and Jacob’s New Dress
For Teens: Coming Out Young and Faithful and GLBTQ: The Survival Guide
For Parents: “Mom, I’m Gay”