Jan. 10, 2010
First Sunday after Epiphany
Phoenix Happenings We’re Coming Out Again Lifestyle Column Around the Church and the World
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Brunch will be at the Turf Irish Pub located at 705 N. 1st. Street. We will meet at 12:45 PM.
N T E G R I T Y
R I N I T Y
CALLED TO WITNESS + CALLED TO LISTEN + CALLED TO SERVE
Integrity@Trinity Movie Night
Saturday, January 16, 2010 6:00 PM in Atwood Hall at the Cathedral Featuring
Steel Magnolias Come on down and enjoy the fun! Bring your favorite movie snack or beverage to share, and a small donation for popcorn if able.
ANNUAL MEETING Notice is hereby given of the Annual Meeting of Trinity Cathedral to be held on Sunday, January 31, 2010 at 12:30pm in the Auditorium of Trinity Cathedral. Proposed items of business are: * Treasurer's Report for the Year 2009 * Budget for the Year 2010 * Report of the Nominating Committee and Elections of the 2010 Vestry, Cathedral Council, and Delegates to Diocesan Convention. * Report of the Wardens
Every Sunday at 8 P.M. in the Cathedral
We’re coming out! Again! By Ian Chamberlin In reflecting over today’s rather impromptu article, I began to think about many of the major festivals of our tradition. In my reflection, one little phrase kept coming into my mind “coming out”. It seems that we as Christians are invited to “come out” quite a bit in our liturgical year. Right now, we are in the midst of our celebration of Epiphany, the festival of lights as it were. The story goes that this is the time when the three wise-men from the East discover Jesus in Bethlehem and begin lauding him and offering gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Like every one of the feasts (including the Eucharist) that we celebrate in the Church, I think there is a deep spiritual meaning and teaching that is being conveyed and one that we need to tap into to further advance on our spiritual path. Epiphany means revelation, or appearing. In this season we are reminded once again of God’s spontaneous and immediate presence with us. I don’t mean to say that God is always breathing down our necks, and harassing us. Rather, I mean to say that God is always around. Whether you view that as the presence of a real, watchful entity, or whether you view that as the ground of all that is, the basic sanity and goodness of everything that is, it is still something that is very important to our spiritual journey as Christians. God is continually revealing himself to us in ways that we could never imagine. In the historic Epiphany, God reveals himself in a totally vulnerable, submissive form, that of a little baby. In the scriptures we read of God’s multifaceted self-disclosure. God “came out” to us completely and bore himself completely to us. Gay and lesbian people often restrict the idea of “coming out” to their sexual orientation. I see it rather as an all-encompassing thing that we have to do if we want to make any genuine progress on the spiritual path. “Coming out” is an understanding of the self, and the opening of the self to all that is. It is a genuine, unpretentious, and gentle openness to yourself and to the world. As God came out to us and opened himself to us, so too, we are invited then to open ourselves up to God and to the world around us. Coming out is a process that involves a lot of self-reflection, stops and starts, mistakes, and a lot of growing pains in the process. In fact, it is a continuous process and one that manifests in our own personal evolution over our own lifetimes. This process always begins with us, the individual, much as the whole Christian spiritual path does. Gay and lesbian people have an acute understanding of this, especially when coming to the realization and admitting to one’s self that one is attracted to people of the same sex. We can extend this to all areas of life. In recent months, I’ve had to break down and accept the fact that I am a mystic at heart. In a sense, I was coming out to myself as a mystic. This process of understanding the self is grounded in one’s wakefulness and readiness to encounter phenomena with gentle openness, or as Chögyam Trungpa put it, the ability to “smile at fear”. This ability, just like any other is cultivated through practice. For this particular ability, the practice is to cultivate our spiritual life through prayer and meditation. As we begin to be able to perceive the depths of who we are, we can then begin to be open about it, we will have nothing to hide. Cultivating openness and wakefulness is I think is the heart-essence of what Jesus was trying to teach us. Sure, the idea of redemption and freedom from the bondage of sin are core and important ideas, but these ideas help us to be able to reach a stage of “having nothing to hide”. They remove obstacles to our wakefulness and openness. Although these ideas are important to our practice of this tradition, ultimately, the goal is for us to be a “light to the world” (Matthew 5:14). That is, to reach a state of wakefulness and openness, such that we are able to genuinely and fully obey the command of
the Baptismal covenant to “seek and serve Christ in others”. Once we have made progress with ourselves, then we are able to then extend our openness to others. In these situations, our wakefulness, or our ability to “smile at fear”, enables us to be compassionately fearless. In that we will be able to extend our compassion fully and without pretense. In other words, we will then be able to “come out” to others. Let me, however, make a remark at this point. For some members of the GLBT community, “coming out” means flaunting your sexual orientation through gratuitous display of rainbow flag, our affections in public, and other displays that are sometimes degrading or undignified. This, to me, is an incorrect notion of coming out. Instead, “coming out” enables us to be genuinely open and available. We have nothing to hide, we have nothing to be afraid of. We can, truly embody “smiling at fear”. I am inspired by the example of many couples at the Cathedral, including our own Lisa D., and Debra S., who are “out” so to speak, but do so in an uplifted and dignified way that manifests the heart-essence of our faith tradition. Now, of course, it goes without saying that this is easier said than done. However, this doesn’t mean that we give up on the whole exercise just because it seems dauntingly impossible. Chögyam Trungpa taught that everyone is a potential bodhisattva or “awakened-being” and that everyone possesses an “awakened nature” within themselves. This translates well into our traditional framework in that we believe that God is within us. The scriptures tell us that we are temples of the spirit (1 Cor. 6:19). In other words, there is an element of the ultimate wakefulness within us that we are invited to nurture. As we practice, we will grow in wakefulness and be able to encounter the essence of God in and around us. This Epiphany, we are reminded once again of God’s incomprehensible kindness and his selfrevelation to us in the most vulnerable form, a newborn baby, and that this is the archetype for our encounter with the world around us and with the God we love: complete vulnerability and gentle openness. There's a new me coming out And I just had to live And I wanna give I'm completely positive I think this time around I am gonna do it Like you never do it Like you never knew it Ooh, I'll make it through The time has come for me To break out of the shell I have to shout That I'm coming out -- Diana Ross, I’m Coming Out
Gay Advice By Jay Petrow FIGHTING OFF THE NEW YEAR’S BLUES
Q: I have a good friend who got dumped by his lover just before New Year’s Eve and I know he’s feeling very blue. While I don’t want to invade his privacy, I’m wondering what’s the best way to help and show that I care? A: If anything, the entire festive season and ensuing madness of New Year’s Eve raises the emotional jackpot to record levels, especially for LGBT folks, who often have frayed family ties. Then, there are the various dramas that come from being closeted, having recently broken up, facing money troubles and more. Ok, enough of the downers. (Of course, straights have their own variations on these same themes.) To answer your question, yes, there’s a lot you can do to help: * First and foremost, let your friend know you’re around. Go out for a drink, join in a 2010 new year celebration or have dinner together - and make a point of listening. Ask him how you can be of most help. * Make sure he’s covered for those miserable early weekends in January by inviting him to spend them with you. * Suggest that you volunteer together at a local LGBT organization. There’s nothing like getting out and helping others this time of year, and so many non-profits need help. DO I HAVE TO BE LABELLED? Q: I'm a guy who's had a couple of relationships with other guys, but I've also had two girlfriends. So, I'm not exactly sure if I'm gay, but I know that I'm different. Everyone I know seems to care about labels – ‘straight’, ‘gay’, bi’ - but I'm just not sure what to call myself. What should I be telling people? A: First of all, you don't need to tell anyone anything. How you define yourself is your business and just because someone is asking you a question doesn't mean you should feel obligated to answer it. If a friend or family member asks you a direct question about your sexuality, you can reply, with a smile: "Thanks for asking, but I prefer to keep my private life private." You don't need to be snarky, just firm. But as you've noticed, our culture values labels - whether it comes to race (black, white, Asian), politics (red or blue state), or sexuality (gay, straight, bi). Things aren't always that clear, however. A recent study of non-straight young people asked them how they define themselves sexually. The results suggested that more than 7 out of 10 endorsed the usual sexual identity labels (gay, lesbian and bisexual), but 10 percent, those like you, showed resistance to those labels or fluidity in their sexual identities. 13 percent reported they were "questioning" their sexual identities. So, take comfort that you're in a sizeable minority - a minority that is often referred to as ‘post-gay’, and, in fact, should probably be considered avant-garde in having rejected sexual identity labels.
Find new ways to tell the gospel story By Katharine Jefferts Schori, January 04, 2010
ENGLAND: Archbishop of York calls proposed Ugandan law 'victimizing' January 04, 2010 [Episcopal News Service] Archbishop of York John Sentamu, a native of Uganda, recently said that proposed changes to that country's antihomosexuality laws victimize and diminish people. In a Dec. 24 interview on the British Broadcasting Corp.'s Radio 4 Today program,
Around the Church and the World
[Episcopal News Service] You will read this as our news coverage of the Episcopal Church makes a major transition from a print-primary presence to publishing primarily through electronic media. This shift has been in the works since before the last General Convention. Some of you will find little difference as this change works itself through, continuing to receive a diocesan and churchwide newspaper delivered through the U.S. Postal Service. In other cases, a diocesan paper edition may shift to online media and/or cease paper production altogether. In part, this shift recognizes the financial and ecological burdens of producing a monthly newspaper that is mailed to subscribers. In part, this shift recognizes what is happening all around us, as information sharing becomes far more rapid and immediate than the capabilities of print media. More and more people receive their news electronically rather than in the morning newspaper though I must admit I haven't yet figured out how to conveniently read an online morning paper over breakfast! Aside from dealing with the changes involved in receiving coverage in new ways, the kind of news presented will shift to fit the medium more appropriately. Breaking news will be available online. Former printing partners (dioceses or congregations) now have the ability to tailor their publication to a far greater degree than the old system allowed. A new quarterly print publication will offer more opportunity for reflection and in-depth conversation than is possible in a daily or even monthly publication. This has significant connections to evangelism the ways in which we tell the good news of Jesus. Similar changes are needed in the ways in which we tell good news in our own communities, to those who know little or nothing of the gospel. We can no longer think we are doing evangelism simply by waiting for people to come to church on Sunday morning that isn't adequate in most of the contexts in which the Episcopal Church exists, if it ever was. Increasing percentages of the population around us don't know who we are or why we exist. We need to find new ways of telling the old, old story ways that are congruent with the joys and challenges of the people and societies around us.
This kind of recontextualizing of the gospel is (and has been) necessary in every age, since the first apostles. The Samaritan woman went home from her water break with Jesus to tell her friends and neighbors about the person she had just encountered (John 4). She didn't hang around the well waiting for them to show up. She didn't write a tract and post it next to the bucket. She didn't even produce a drama to tell the story. She went and found her friends and told her own story. There is an urgent need for Episcopalians to learn and try new ways of evangelism. Most of them begin by telling our own stories or providing opportunities for others to tell theirs. One of my favorite images of the latter comes from Nelle Morton, which she calls "hearing others into speech" (The Journey is Home, Beacon, 1985). An intrinsic part of our task is to provide opportunities where others can feel safe enough to begin to share their questions and fears and stories about God. Increasingly that's being done by going out into the community, rather than waiting for people to come to church. I met a number of "relational evangelists" when I was at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently. These young people are serving one-year internships that are primarily focused on this kind of mission. They live in intentional community, engage in spiritual and vocational discernment and spend time with people in the larger community around them, building relationships for transformation through a program sponsored by the Diocese of Massachusetts. As you watch this news coverage of the Episcopal Church make its transition, I invite and encourage you to think about (and then act on) ways in which your own congregation or diocese can reach out to the people around you to share the good news you know in Jesus.
Around the Church and the World
Sentamu said, "I am opposed totally to the death penalty. I am also quite not happy when you describe people with the kind of language you find in this Private Member's Bill, which seems also not only victimising but diminishment of individuals." The Ugandan Parliament is considering a bill proposed by one of its members (David Bahati), rather than the government, that would introduce the death penalty for people who violate portions of that country's anti-homosexuality laws. Recent reports have speculated that politicians might be bowing to public pressure and reconsidering the severity of punishments proposed in the legislation. Sentamu, who was born into Uganda's Buffalo clan, practiced law in Uganda before he came to the United Kingdom in 1974, according to his official biography. He was ordained in 1979 and became Archbishop of York in 2005. The Archbishop of York is also the primate or head of the Church of England and provides support to the Archbishop of Canterbury. He is one of the presidents of the General Synod, the Church of England's main governing body, and the Archbishop's Council. He and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams are seen as the leading spokesmen of the Church of England. Both had been criticized recently for not speaking out sooner about the proposed legislation. […] Homosexuality in the African nation currently carries a penalty of up to life imprisonment. If passed, the proposed bill would introduce the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality," which includes assault against people under the age of 18 and those with disabilities. Opponents fear that people, including family members and clergy, who support and advise homosexual people could be prosecuted and punished under the proposed law. The law would give Ugandan courts jurisdiction over its citizens who violate the law "partly outside or partly in Uganda." Williams added in his comments to the Telegraph that "apart from invoking the death penalty, [the proposed bill] makes pastoral care impossible -- it seeks to turn pastors into informers." He also noted that while the Anglican Church in Uganda
opposes the death penalty, its archbishop, Henry Orombi, has not taken a position on the proposed changes to the law. Sentamu told the BBC that assistant bishop of Kampala Zac Niringie, who is also an assistant to Orombi, "is now carrying out an assessment and they will be making their responses to this particular bill." He said that neither Williams or he "haven't actually come out publicly to say anything is not because we don't want to say anything, because the position is very clear, but rather we were trying to help, and we are trying actually to listen, and sometimes people are not understood that actually the law in Uganda at the moment without this bill does exactly the same thing and what this bill has done." Sentamu said "what we need is greater understanding of the context" and added that he was certain that the Church of Uganda "is committed to the pastoral care" promised to homosexual persons by the primates of the Anglican Communion in their 2005 Dromantine Communiqué. The Archbishop of York said that the Uganda church "is also committed to the listening process to the experience of homosexual people, and people may have very clear, what I may call traditional views about sexuality, but we as a communion are actually committed to listening to the experience of homosexual people." "You can't do that on one hand and then have language which in many ways seems to suggest that all these people are not children of God," Sentamu added. "I mean, they are valued by God, they deserve the best we can give in pastoral care and friendship and I'm quite sure that the response the Church of Uganda will make in due course will have to take account of all these realities." […]
-- The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is national correspondent for the Episcopal News Service.
“If anyone thirsts, let him come” - John 7:37
Integrity@Trinity is the congregational circle of Integrity at Trinity Cathedral. Our mission is to foster the integration of all people, especially gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning (GLBTQ) people into the full life of the Trinity Cathedral parish. We do this by being witnesses of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by listening to the needs and concerns of our community, being witnesses for justice and inclusion and by serving our church and wider community. You are welcome to join us for any or all of our activities. You can find more information about what’s happening in our ministry and about future events by opening this newsletter, by asking one of our members or e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
N T E G R I T Y
R I N I T Y
CALLED TO WITNESS + CALLED TO LISTEN + CALLED TO SERVE