We want to emphasize: this is an historic moment. To our knowledge, never before has any position at the Church Center been charged specifically with supporting the ministries of and with LGBTIQ people. There haspreviously been a Director of an Office of Women’s Ministries, a position that was cut in 2009 and has not been restored since, despite an unfunded resolution that passed General Convention in 2015, Establish a Women’s Ministries Staff Position, 2015-A032, proposed by the 2012-2015 Executive Council Committee on the Status of Women (a committee that no longer exists). We are also aware that educational resources supporting and equipping congregations to embrace LGB and especially trans and non-binary people have also not historically been funded (e.g., 2018-C054 and 2018-C022). In fact, this year both D030 and D072 also have budgetary implications and are on the consent calendar but have not been funded.
Deputies Cameron Partridge and Sarah Lawton (California; Steering Committee members of TransEpiscopal; members of Legislative Committees 16 and 9 respectively) collaborated closely with Deputies Laura Russell (Newark; Chair of the 2018-2021 Task Force to Study Sexism in TEC & Develop Anti-Sexism Training, which proposed the original A063, and Chair of Committee 7) and Devon Anderson (Minnesota; Chair of Legislative Committee 16) to construct this new staff position and advocate for it through the budget process. We thank all who listened supportively to our testimony in Committee 14 (where a similar resolution D096 was sent). We particularly thank Devon, who supported A063 as a substitute in Committee 16 when it became clear Committee 14 was taking a different strategic approach to D096 and would not put it forward at this Convention.
We celebrate this opportunity for the Church to approach the equipping of LGBTIQ and women’s ministries in an intersectional way, especially in a time when the civil rights and health access of both groups are under attack, particularly in terms of bodily autonomy. We also see this position as supportive of the crucial work of racial equity across our church, and one of the key reasons we need a staffed position for this work is to have someone who is focused on and accountable in creating and gathering, in cooperation with communities that have this knowledge, resources that are multilingual and culturally appropriate for the many cultures and peoples who are part of the Episcopal Church.
To be sure, we would have loved to see two positions in this budget—one focused on women’s ministries and the other, in connected ways, supporting LGBTIQ ministries. But, as the ENS article underscored, the addition of this one staff position is a very big deal: “Executive Council’s draft budget had recommended freezing churchwide staff positions at 152 [but] the Program, Budget and Finance committee made one exception in its proposed spending plan, to add the position of women’s and LGBTQ+ ministries director.”
We look forward to the hiring of this position and welcome a strongly intersectional community of support to gather around whoever is called to this crucial ministry. Thank you, again, to all who have supported our communities in this historic opportunity.