As the resolution moves to the House of Bishops we wanted to reiterate why this resolution is urgently needed. As Deputy Tieran Sweeney Bender of the Diocese of Olympia shared so eloquently, The Episcopal Church has “done important work in support of women and LGBTQ people at past conventions,” including many resolutions TransEpiscopal has supported, listed here. “Yet these important past resolutions can only go so far. In the face of systematic attacks on the right to bodily autonomy and attacks on queer and trans people, especially trans kids and youth, we must add to the important statements we have made and take action.”
Action is needed now that can represent the best of The Episcopal Church’s commitment to stand in solidarity with women and LGBTQ people. As Deputy Cynthia Black of the Diocese of Newark said in her testimony, which Susan Russell has quoted in a blog post: “Here’s the deal with this resolution. It may not be the ultimate in perfection. But the time is NOW. It has been now for a long time, but it is especially time NOW as women’s and LGBTQ rights are at risk.”
TransEpiscopal is an all-volunteer organization, with no paid staff and a bare bones budget. We are asked on a weekly basis to assist individuals, congregations, dioceses in everything from training to pastoral care. Outside the church we advocate against the many laws limiting civil rights and bodily autonomy. While all that we do is a labor of love and solidarity, we cannot keep up with the ever-growing need. We need staff support from our church. Not to do everything, but a point person who can help us gather in a network of people to develop resources that are faith-rooted, multilingual, and culturally appropriate for our diverse
communities. We need help connecting with people across various networks and organizations within the church so that we can address issues of gender equity, civil rights, and health care access in a coherent and systemic manner. This position can stand alongside various volunteer networks—not just ours – supplementing and assisting their goals, not supplanting them.
This position may not do everything that everyone would want, nor is it a finished job description – indeed, it is not the work of General Convention to perfect job descriptions. A063 represents a first step in supporting the church in the work it is called to do. It is funded in the proposed budget. The church has long needed such a position, and urgently needs one in this moment.
In the words of 2 Corinthians: now is the acceptable time (6:2).
We urge the House of Bishops to concur on A063 “Create a Director of LGBTIQ and Women’s Ministries.”