Wednesday, February 26, 2014

IntegrityUSA and TransEpiscopal Joint Statement on the Rev. Gwen Fry

IntegrityUSA and TransEpiscopal stand behind the leadership, courage, and integrity of the Rev. Gwen Fry, Priest in Charge of Grace Episcopal Church in Pine Bluff, AR, who last weekend came out to her congregation as a transgender woman.  We also recognize and applaud the support offered to the Rev. Fry and to Grace Church by her bishop, the Right Rev. Larry Benfield.

The Episcopal Church is committed to the full incorporation and equality of transgender and gender nonconforming people. As the Right Rev. Benfield noted, at its 2012 General Convention, The Episcopal Church passed resolution D019, which stated "that no one shall be denied rights, status or access to an equal place in the life, worship, and governance of the Episcopal Church" on the basis of gender identity and expression.  It also passed resolution D002 which barred discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression in access to the ordination process.  As a church we have declared, as Presiding Bishop Edmund Browning once said, that "there will be no outcasts."

In her own statement (printed below), the Rev. Fry notes that this moment is "an amazing opportunity to learn, to grow, to seek out and find the risen Christ in one another in ways we might never have expected."  We hope that Grace Episcopal Church will seize this moment as an opportunity to learn, to be vulnerable, to know one another more authentically, to deepen their membership in Christ's body.

As our Church continues in the ongoing process of learning and exploring what it means to have transgender people in community and in leadership, Integrity is proud to offer a wide range of educational resources, including the short film Voices of Witness: Out of the Box.

The Rev. Fry's commitment to living honestly, to letting her light shine, to growing into her full stature as a member of Christ's body stands as a beacon of inspiration to all of us as we seek and serve Christ in all people, loving our neighbors as ourselves.

For further information, please contact:


for IntegrityUSA 
Mel Soriano, mel@integrityusa.org

for TransEpiscopal
The Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge, cepart@yahoo.com
Ms. Donna Cartwright, donnamartina@gmail.com



____

A Statement from the Rev. Gwen Fry

The Rev. Gwen Fry
I would like to express my sincere and deepest thanks to all of my family, colleagues, and friends who have reached out in support of me, of my family, and of our respective parishes. Not all of life's journeys are ones we expect to take. They can be both challenging and filled with wonder. On Sunday I began a journey of conversation and education, of vulnerability, of transition. Because gender transition is something with which many are unfamiliar, it is only natural that there are questions. There may be anxiety, and at times we may stumble. But we also have an amazing opportunity to learn, to grow, to seek out and find the risen Christ in one another in ways we might never have expected. To do this well, I would like to engage with a spirit of respect, patience, peace, and prayer. Everyone needs space and time to talk and listen, to make adjustments, to make mistakes and ask forgiveness, to trust in the communal power of our membership in the body of Christ. My prayer is that we actively cultivate trust, patience, and respect, that we might rediscover the peace of Christ. I invite us all to continue prayerfully walking together in faith.

Faithfully,

The Rev. Gwen Fry

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