The Consultation, a consortium of progressive organizations in the Episcopal Church, has received word that Integrity, Inc. has withdrawn its membership in The Consultation. Integrity has been a charter member of the Consultation since 1985.
On March 21, Ronnie Ward, president of both Integrity, Inc. and Integrity Americas, Inc., notified Consultation convener Laura Russell, “Since Integrity, Inc. is now in the post-dissolution winding-up phase, the organization is withdrawing as a constituent member of The Consultation and will not be sending a representation.” The dissolution of Integrity, Inc.’s corporate status began in January and the withdrawal is part of that process.
Russell responded, “We sincerely regret losing one of our charter members.”
According to Ward, some members of Integrity have formed a new organization, Integrity Americas, with the intention to focus on the full inclusion of LGBTQI+ persons in the Episcopal Church, particularly those in Province IX (the Dioceses of Colombia, Dominican Republic, Central Ecuador, Litoral Ecuador, Honduras, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela).
In her response, Russell said that the new organization would have an opportunity to apply for membership. The Consultation accepts new members at the fall meeting following every General Convention, which this year will be from July 7 to 14 in Baltimore.
Kim Byham, Consultation coordinator and one of Integrity’s former presidents, recalled, “Over the years Integrity played a role in all the key changes in Episcopal Canons respecting full LGBTQ+ participation in the church as well as innumerable legislative resolutions.“ Byham added, “Although Integrity has had a presence at every General Convention since its founding in 1976, it became politically active at the first convention following the founding of The Consultation. That was the 1988 Convention in Detroit, and Integrity continued its activism for years thereafter. In 1988 there were only two openly LGBTQ+ deputies; by 1991 this had increased to six and by 1994 there were more than 20.”
This year, LGBTQ+ deputies have organized their own caucus. Several members of the Consultation Steering Committee are members of that caucus.