From Heidi Pitts, Director of Communications:
This week, I am at the Episcopal Communicators Network annual conference. When I sat down to a dinner last night, I thought the Kentucky-style ribs with bourbon BBQ sauce and a dessert of pineapple upside down cake would be the highlight of the evening. Instead, I found myself caught up in an unexpected holy moment, listening to the stories of these two women and their histories of advocating for the rights of women and LGBTQ people in The Episcopal Church.
When Gene Robinson was excluded from Lambeth 2008 for being gay, they sat outside the gates with him and produced The Lambeth Witness, a daily paper for attendees highlighting the call for full inclusion of LGBTQ Anglicans and Episcopalians.
When her boss told her she could never be ordained because “women are unfit vessels for sacramental offerings” she refused to give up, and is now priest at a large and lively church.
When the handlers of the Archbishop of Canterbury tried to direct him away from the Integrity booth at the General Convention in 2009, she smiled and grabbed his hand.
When her bishop left and took diocesan property with him because he refused to accept The Episcopal Church’s ordination of women, she stepped up and helped reorganize a new and now thriving diocese.
When the African bishops said that the ordination and inclusion of homosexuals wasn’t an issue “because there are no homosexuals in Africa,” they went to several African countries and made “Voices of Witness: Africa” (along with the original “Voices of Witness” and “Out of the Box”) giving voice to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered Episcopal and Anglican faithful of the world and their straight supporters.
These women are now on my list of heroes. Many of us in the Diocese of Oregon are free to believe and be wholly ourselves in The Episcopal Church because of the faithful and courageous witness of these women and their partners and friends.