Thursday, December 9, 2010

PLAN AHEAD: Welcome the New Year & Support the LGBT Program Group!

click graphic to enlarge

Mark your calendars NOW to be part of getting the New Year started right with this festive January 2nd gathering at the All Saints Beverly Hills Rectory. Help us welcome All Saints' new rector -- the Reverend Steve Huber -- to the Diocese of Los Angeles. Proceeds will benefit our witness to God's inclusive love at Southland Gay Pride events in 2011.

Click here to RSVP. Or call 626.583.2741 for more information.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Proclaiming the Good News of God's Love: Our bishops at OC Pride!

This short video was put together to celebrate the anniversary of the election of our two bishops suffragan -- +Diane Jardine Bruce and +Mary Glasspool -- and ran in the LGBT Program Group booth at Diocesan Convention last weekend.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Diocesan Convention 2010

With thanks to ALL who helped make Diocesan Convention 2010 (#115 for the Diocese of Los Angeles!) such a great success!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A chance to "let your light so shine ..."

by Susan Russell, LGBT Program Group Chair

Of course I pay attention to what "the other side" is writing. Not as much as I used to when Claiming the Blessing was my full-time job or when I was President of Integrity ... but I still pay attention. Get "Google Alerts." Read some of the blogs. Open up emails when folks forward me stuff. Like this one that came in today ... and article entitled "Lesbianism linked to upbringing."

The article goes on to declare; "A recently released study shows a link between childhood family structure and the rate of female homosexuality -- undermining the claim that sexual orientation is genetic or biological."

You can read the whole piece here ... although for my money you don't have to go any further than the next sentence:
Family Research Council (FRC) looked into the family lives and worship rates of 7,643 women between the ages of 14 and 44 ...
Unbiased, scientific study at its best yeah, shure, you betcha. Think I'm overstating just a tad? Check this out ... it's the follow up poll on the website that "broke" the "Lesbianism" story. One News ("a division of the American Family News Network.") How's this for objective fact gathering? Poll:

What factor below do you believe plays the greatest role in same-sex attraction among girls and women?
  • Indoctrination of feminist values through public education

  • Cultural promotion of sexual deviancy

  • Movement away from biblical plan for marriage and family
Yep. Really. Couldn't make it up. If I wanted to.

So check it out. Here. And then ... if you have a minute and feel like it ... contact these clowns and tell them what you think about their "poll.

Yes, Yes I know -- it won't really make any difference. When you think you have Sole Possession of the Absolute Truth you don't really care what the facts are. But Jesus told us in Matthew 5:16 to "let your light so shine" so let's shine some light and speak some truth to the powers that think they can run roughshod over our families and our relationships and who dare to keep pushing this crap out into the culture.

Ready. Set. Go. Do it. Now. (Thank You!!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Celebrating Bishop Christopher Senyonjo

Members of the Diocesan Program Group on LGBT Ministry gathered at St. James "in the City" Church on Wilshire Boulevard on Monday night for a reception honoring the work and witness of retired Ugandan Bishop Christopher Senyonjo. Pictured above are [from left to right] Karl Hoaglund, Jim White, Joanne O'Donnell, Neil Tadken, Bishop Christopher, Susan Russell & Randy Kimmler.

The evening included a slide show provided by Albert Ogle and an opportunity to hear from Bishop Christopher about the plans for his new "St. Paul's Centre for Reconciliation & Equality" which includes ministry to and with LGBT Ugandans along with other marginalized and vulnerable communities.

Bishop Christopher is in the United States for a month long education tour which will include visits to San Diego and San Francisco as well as New Orleans, New York and Washington DC.

Stay tuned for more information on Bishop Christopher's ministry and how you can help support his prophetic witness.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November 15th Reception to Honor Ugandan Bishop

The Diocesan Program Group on LGBT Ministry, St. James in the City, and Integrity USA are honored to welcome Bishop Christopher Senyonjo to Los Angeles, with a reception in support of his work, on Monday night, November 15, from 7:00 to 8:30, at St. James in the City (3903 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, 90010).

Bishop Senyonjo retired as the Anglican bishop of Uganda in 1998 and almost immediately began a pastoral ministry to gay and lesbian people in his country. He had no idea how costly that decision would be. The political, legal and cultural climate in Uganda turned dramatically more hostile to gay and lesbian people at about the same time. The bishop was forced to flee his country for a period because of death threats for his work. He has had his pension cut off and has been shunned by most of his former colleagues in the Anglican Church in Uganda.

Efforts are under way in Uganda to pass the "kill the gays" bill, which proposes that:

• Gays and lesbians convicted of having gay sex would be sentenced, at minimum, to life in prison
• People who test positive for HIV may be executed
• Homosexuals who engage in homosexual sex more than once may also receive the death penalty
• The bill forbids the "promotion of homosexuality," which in effect bans organizations working in HIV and AIDS prevention and gay rights
• Anyone who knows of homosexual activity taking place but does not report it would risk up to three years in prison

Bishop Senyonjo has spoken out powerfully against this bill, stating that it is against the U.N.'s Declaration on Human Rights, and against the sacred bonds of the Ugandan extended family system. He calls the bill inhumane and was recently a part of a delegation to the speaker of the house to reject the bill.

Oddly (and sadly) much of the testimony used to back this bill and the funding for these efforts has come from American Christians, particularly in the "ex-gay" movement. We now have the chance to do some funding of our own. We hope at this reception to raise funds to help Bishop Senyonjo continue his courageous work.

For more information or to RSVP contact LGBT Program Group member Karl Hoaglund.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bishops Speak Out on Marriage Equality

Yesterday the Diocese of Los Angeles hosted the California Faith for Equality press conference announcing the filing of an amicus brief supporting the return of marriage equality to California.

Today the Episcopal News Service filed a great feature piece on the event ... and California Faith for Equality posted video of the press conference in its entirety up on YouTube.

Here's "Part One" ...

... you can find Parts Two & Three on the California Faith for Equality website!

And do consider taking a minute to click here and email our bishops and thank them for their strong, prophetic and supportive stand for liberty and justice for all!

October 20 was Spirit Day: Showing Solidarity Against Anti-Gay Bullying

"Purple is the color of choice on Facebook today, as millions of users show their support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens."

From the local NBC4 news last night: coverage of the California Faith for Equality press conference held at the Cathedral Center in this segment on "Spirit Day" and ending anti-LGBT bullying.

View more news videos at:

Friday, October 15, 2010

"It Gets Better"

Two Episcopal contributions to the "It Gets Better" campaign offering messages of hope to conquer homophobia and reach out to at risk youth. For others, visit the "Episcopalians 'Believe Out Loud'" site created by Integrity USA.

Monday, October 11, 2010

"It Gets Better" ...

... a message from LGBT Program Group chair, Susan Russell

It's called the "It Gets Better" project and it's a YouTube based campaign in support of youth facing homophobic bullying, harassment and thoughts of suicide. Saturday I got this email:
Faith voices – clergy in particular – are strongly encouraged to get involved in this campaign to illustrate the love that is available to the LGBTQ teens from the affirming religious community.
And so on Sunday I recorded this message -- which is still finding its way to YouTube: (stay tuned for "film at eleven!")


I’m the Reverend Susan Russell, a priest and pastor from Pasadena, California and I’m here to tell you that “It gets better.“

There are lots of voices out there right now bringing that same message and if you are a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning teen I hope you are hearing them and I hope you know that no matter how alone you might feel, you are NOT alone and there is a community that wants to support you in the tough times and celebrate with you in the good times.

And as a priest and pastor I want you to know that anybody who tells you that God condemns you is wrong.

And if anybody says to you “But the Bible says …” I want you to remember this: God gave us the Bible as a tool for us to live our lives -- not as a weapon to beat up other people – and history is full of people who were wrong about what the Bible says … using it to support slavery, to oppress women and to condemn Galileo for discovering that the earth revolved around the sun instead other way around.

And it turns out that the same people who were wrong about what the Bible said about slavery, about women’s equality and about astronomy are wrong about what the Bible says about homosexuality.

Jesus said love your neighbor – not love you neighbor unless your neighbor is gay.

Homosexuality doesn’t grieve the heart of God – homophobia does. Bullying does. Violence against any beloved child of God does.

And you are a beloved child of God. Created in God’s image exactly as God intended you to be.

God who doesn’t just want your life to get better – God wants your life to get fabulous! And I didn't always know that.

Growing up trying to figure out who I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to do wasn't easy and I didn't always get it right. But it got better. And now I'm married to a wonderful woman who is the love of my life, I am a priest and pastor in an amazing church and my life didn't just get better -- it got fabulous. And so can yours.

If you need help believing that, reach out. To the Trevor Project. To a Believe Out Loud church. To my church -- All Saints Church in Pasadena. And remember that God loves you beyond your wildest imaginings and wants you to be exactly who God created you to be.

Believe that promise. Know that God loves you and we are here for you – and grow up to be the best “you” you can be. It DOES get better! God bless!

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Litany for children at risk from bullying

With thanks to Maria Evans for sharing this litany for children at
risk and with prayers for all victims of bullying, harassment and oppression.
A Litany for children at risk from bullying --by Maria L. Evans

O God of justice and mercy, we pray that no more daughters and sons in this world die as the result of bullying simply because of who they are; be it race, religion, sexual orientation, or social awkwardness. Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

That our schools become places of nurturing and hope rather than shame and derision. Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

That our teachers instill values of charity and acceptance in all children so there is no need for one child to feel superior over another. Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

That parents can put aside what they were sometimes taught, in order to promote tolerance and diversity at home. Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

That our communities support children who feel “different from the others” and show them lives that are theirs to claim, lives they cannot begin to imagine to see at home. Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

That all children can grow up feeling self-empowered and truly loved simply as themselves, and not suffer beatings and psychological abuse at home or school. Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

O Lord, you understand this above all others, for your only Son hung among thieves on a rough wooden cross on a barren hill, just as Matthew Shepard hung from a rail fence on a lonely road. Be our light in the darkness, Lord; protect our children and fill them with the love of your Holy Spirit; hold them in your Son’s loving arms in their most fearful hours, and be with them always.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Spread the Word. Stop the Hate.

There will be a vigil Tuesday, Oct 5 in West Hollywood Park at 7 pm to support the LGBTQ Teen community in the face of this rash of teen suicides.

The rally will be meeting on the Robertson Blvd. side of the Park (Near the Abbey). You are invited to bring a candle and a friend to show collective commitment to end bullying, bias and hate and to mourn the deaths.

[With thanks to Rabbi Denise Eger for the post "Still in Shock" on her blog and in hope that we can stand together to stop the hate.]

Friday, September 3, 2010

Four minutes and 51 seconds of inspiration for a Labor Day Weekend!

from Susan Russell, LGBT Program Group Chair

I get these all the time ... the email or Facebook post that says "Must See" with a link to a You Tube clip. Sometimes I have time to check it out. And sometimes I don't. And when I do, sometimes I think "Whatever." And other times I think "Wow!"

And this was a "Wow." So thanks to the creator of "Testify to Love in the face of Prop 8" ... Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bishop Glasspool at work in the (Bakersfield) Fields of the Lord

Hat tip to Episcopal Cafe for this You Tube look at our Bishop Glasspool in Bakersfield (yes, the Bakersfield in the Diocese of San Joaquin!) on Sunday. Looks like a great time was had by all!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

OC Pride: The Episcopal Church Welcomes YOU!

A great time was had by all at OCPride 2010 ... here are a some of the photos (thanks to Jim White and Rocky Covill!) of Bishops Diane & Mary and some of the Diocese of L.A/St. A&H "Episcopal Church Welcomes You" crew:

More photos ... and some video to come!


Orange County PRIDE -- SATURDAY -- August 14 -- NOON-10 p.m.

HIDDEN VALLEY, IRVINE (Right next to Verizon Amphitheatre)
8808 Irvine Center Dr. Irvine, CA 92618

Check out the OCPride website for more information ... and do note that Bishop Mary Glasspool will be speaking from the main stage at 1:25 p.m. Come show your support, visit the St. A&H booth, witness to God's inclusive love for absolutely everybody ... and watch this blog for "film at eleven!"

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: Bishop Bruno on Landmark Marriage Equality Ruling

Bishop Bruno issues statement on Prop. 8 decision

Bishop J. Jon Bruno of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles has issued the following statement on federal Judge Vaughn R. Walker's Aug. 4 decision on Proposition 8.

"Justice is advancing thanks to today's ruling affirming Californians' constitutional right to marriage in faithful, same-gender relationships.

"Although the appeal process will now challenge U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker's decision on Proposition 8, my continuing prayer will be -- as the prophet Amos said -- for justice 'to roll down' and to prevail.

"To reiterate my statement of November 5, 2008: 'Proposition 8 is a lamentable expression of fear-based discrimination that attempts to deny the constitutional rights of some Californians on the basis of sexual orientation. It is only a matter of time before its narrow constraints are ultimately nullified by the courts and our citizens' own increasing knowledge about the diversity of God's creation.' "

Contact: Robert Williams, Canon for Community Relations
Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles
213 308 0222

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

DECISION DAY PRAYER RALLY: Tomorrow night downtown at Olvera Street

Prop. 8 Court Decision Response:
Over 15 LGBT and Ally Community Groups will gather at Los Angeles’ Center
in a Union of Communities Working Together for Social Justice

What: Los Angeles Rally and Community Response to Prop. 8 Ruling
Members of Latino, Asian/Pacific-Islander, African-American, Middle-Eastern, LGBT and other communities gather to show their solidarity for social justice after the District Court announces its decision on Proposition 8, the California legislation that bans marriage between same-sex couples.

When: August 4, 2010, 8 pm – 10 pm

Where: Olvera Street, across the street from Union Station. Take the Metro to Union Station,
Media van parking off Los Angeles Street from Alameda.

Who: People of Color Community leaders
Music by: Metropolitan Community Church LA Voices
Moral Compass to Justice, Latino Equality Alliance, Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles, Love = Love, The Latino Democrats of LA County, The Wall Las Memorias, Love Honor and Cherish, CA Faith for Equality, Jordan/Rustin Coalition, Proyecto Orgullo of BIENESTAR, Equality California, HRC Los Angeles, Christopher Street West, El Centro Del Pueblo, Gay Straight Alliance

Why: Proposition 8 has the unique quality in that it denies Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender individuals, that come from every neighborhood in Los Angeles and from across the world, from marriage. Individuals of any religion, race, ethnicity, or gender, can agree that excluding any group of people from participating in society is wrong. The event will be held on Olvera Street as a tribute to the deep roots of diversity in Los Angeles.

“Community groups continue the hard work in our people of color communities to increase acceptance for LGBT people and issues. In spite of the court’s decision in our favor or not, this trial is not a "Mission Accomplished," explained Ari Gutierrez, Co-Chair of the Latino Equality Alliance. “Community groups gather on the day of the decision at Olvera Street to recommit to the necessary public education work and invite other social issue advocates to join in a shared prayer for social justice,” she added.


The Latino Equality Alliance is a coalition of Latino and other organizations dedicated to reaching out to the Latino community. The mission of the Latino Equality Alliance is to promote liberty, equality and justice for the Latino LGBT community.

La Alianza Latina para la Igualdad es una coalición de grupos Latinos y otras organizaciones dedicadas a hacer alcance a la comunidad Latina. La mission de la Alianza Latina para la Igualdad es promover la libertad, justicia y la igualdad para la comunidad Lésbica, Gay, Bisexual y Transgénero.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Diocese of Los Angeles Adopts Adoption Agency

Thanks to Episcopal Cafe for picking up this well-worth-re-telling story of Holy Family Adoption Agency and its good work here in Los Angeles:

The Huffington Post reports on the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and Bishop Jon Bruno helping an adoption agency when the Roman Catholic Church withdrew funding when the agency allowed same sex couples to adopt:
Community-based nonprofit organizations are struggling for their organizational lives these days. ... Maintaining one's donor base is supremely critical for any struggling nonprofit group.

Which is exactly why the recent story of a tiny organization named Holy Family Adoption Services in Los Angeles is pretty courageous.

Holy Family Adoption Services provides adoption, foster care, and family support services for infants and toddlers who are often born into very high-risk situations and require placement into a loving home. Since 1949, they have been helping these children whose mothers have been victimized themselves by family violence, or who suffer from addiction, or who are just ill-prepared for motherhood.
In 2007, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles made it clear that Holy Family would have to stop placing children with same-sex couples. Instead of giving in, the Holy Family Adoption Services board of directors ultimately decided that nothing was more important than providing loving and supportive homes for at-risk infants and children and that no otherwise qualified home should be closed to these children simply because of the gender and sexual orientation of the family members within it.

Enter Bishop Jon Bruno of the Episcopal Diocese. When Bishop Bruno learned of Holy Family's courage and fate, he invited the organization to be housed under the auspices of his church. This kept the organization alive.
Read the rest here ... and visit the Holy Family Services website to find out more about their great work and how you can support it!


*headline credit goes to Tom Smarek, Jr. via his comment over at Episcopal Cafe! (Thanks, Tom!)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool Wows West Hollywood in Christopher Street West Gay Pride Parade

LGBT Lutherans and Episcopalians joined together on the streets of West Hollywood this morning to celebrate Eucharist and then march in separate contingents in the 40th anniversary edition of the annual Gay Pride Parade. Lutheran Bishop Emeritus Paul Egertson presided at the street Eucharist and newly consecrated Episcopal Bishop Suffragan Mary Glasspool preached while approximately 75 congregants sang, prayed and received communion amidst the noise of motorcycles and amplified music from other nearby entries in the parade staging area.

Following the Eucharist, the groups then marched in the parade with the bishops riding in convertibles and greeting the enthusiastic crowd who recognized the Episcopal Church as being a leader in welcoming and affirming LGBT people in the life of the church. Applause and cheers met Mary Glasspool as she waved at the crowd while riding down Santa Monica Blvd. She later said, "That was so affirming! There was a lot of recognition - not so much of me as of the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Los Angeles - people know how supportive our church has been of this community."

Some pictures from the day's celebration:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Los Angeles City Council Honors Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles for Contributions to the City's LGBT Community

As part of Councilmember Bill Rosendahl's celebration of Gay Pride month, the Los Angeles City Council honored Bishop J. Jon Bruno and diocesan leaders at its Friday 4 June meeting in council chambers. Bishop Bruno, Malcolm Boyd and Jack Plimpton each were asked to make brief remarks to the council while a gathering of diocesan LGBT leaders stood behind them at the podium. Each one present received a commendation from the council that reads:

On behalf of the City of Los Angeles, we are pleased to recognize your contributions to the City's LGBT community. Bishop Glasspool's ministry and the Diocese's 25+ years of LGBT ministries represent a collective commitment to justice and equality for LGBT Angelenos.

Presented by [signature] Bill Rosendahl, Councilmember, 11th District

Others in attendance included Mark Halahan and Vicki Mouradian (former chairs of the Bishop's Commission on Gay & Lesbian Ministry [BCGLM] - now the Program Group on LGBT Ministries), Michael Bell, Randy Kimmler, Mark Thompson (Malcolm Boyd's partner), Jim White and Bob Williams, as well as Joanna Satorius and Luis Garraban (both of the Diocesan staff).

Here are a couple of pictures I shot while we were there - I've asked Bob Williams to send me more that others may have taken. I'll post those if/when I receive them.

- Jim White

Friday, June 4, 2010

More Parade Info

Here is some more information on the Pride Parade, Sunday, June 13.

-- It is confirmed that the Episcopalians and the Lutherans will be marching next to each other, as both groups requested.

-- Our staging area is Romaine. After the Eucharist, marchers should meet our group on N. Crescent Heights Blvd, in the the block between Santa Monica Blvd. and Romaine St., no later than 10:30. Parade start time is 11:00. Here's a map of the area.

--The parade route is down Santa Monica Blvd., from N. Crescent Heights Blvd. to N. Robertson Blvd. At the end, the organizers will send the marchers south down Robertson and our car down another street. Everyone should proceed to the end (and not stall on San Vicente Blvd.).

-- Parking: the "permit only" parking restrictions will be lifted for the entire city of West Hollywood during Pride weekend. It is recommended that those going to the festival after the parade park in the Design Center parking lot (San Vicente Blvd. & Melrose Ave.). To those not attending the festival, organizers recommend parking toward the middle of the parade route and south of Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood city limits extend only a block or so north of Santa Monica. Parking north of that border will put you in Los Angeles, which is not lifting permit-only requirements.

--There will be three minutes of silence at exactly 12:00 p.m., to commemorate those who have gone before us. Horns and whistles will sound to signal its start and end. All attendees are asked to observe that time of silence.

-- We remind everyone that it is likely to be very hot and very sunny that day, and marchers will be in those conditions for four or five hours. Everyone should wear protective clothing, like hats, sunglasses, long-sleeve shirts and/or lots of sunscreen. They should also hydrate themselves well, even a day before the parade, and bring lots of water and snacks.

But most of all, have fun! It will be a fun and exciting day.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

"MARCH WITH +MARY" @ L.A. PRIDE ■ June 13, 2010

[photo: Cynthia Black]

Celebrate a new era of mission and ministry in the Diocese of Los Angeles, incarnate the Good News of God for LGBT people along Santa Monica Blvd AND help introduce and welcome Bishop Mary Glasspool to Los Angeles!

At 9:00 a.m., meet at the Bank of America parking lot on the corner of Santa Monica & Crescent Heights (8025 Santa Monica Blvd). Ushers will direct you to the site for the Eucharist, which will be a joint Lutheran/Episcopal service. [click here for map]

STREET EUCHARIST at 9:30 a.m. -- Episcopal Bishop Mary Glasspool, preaching. Lutheran Bishop Paul Egerston, presiding.

The parade steps off at 11:00 A.M. and runs along Santa Monica Blvd. from Crescent Heights to Robertson Blvd. We will be marching in solidarity with our Lutheran colleagues as we give thanks for the work and witness we have been given to do together!

Bishops Egertson & Glasspool will be riding in the traditional parade convertibles, accompanied by Episcopalians & Lutherans from all over SoCal.


"Partners in Pride" T-SHIRTS celebrating our new Bishop and "The Episcopal Church welcomes YOU!" will be on sale Sunday morning from 9:00 to 12:00. We'll be selling them out the trunk of +Mary's car, so look for them there. Shirts are also available at many churches in the diocese before Pride weekend, and may be ordered any time by emaliing The cost is $15 per shirt (and $5.00 per order, if sent by mail) -- checks payable to "Diocese of Los Angeles."

Visit our Pride Archives for photos from years past ... get out those walking shoes, dig out the sunscreeen and let's make this the BEST EVER TURN OUT for Dio L.A. @ L.A. Pride!

For more information on L.A. Pride, visit the CSW website.

Some FAQs:

When does the parade start? After the Eucharist, we will have about an hour for coffee, breakfast, and people watching, before we report back around 10:30–11 a.m. to the staging area assigned to our parade contingent.

What about parking? Try carpooling in two cars, and park one at the end of the parade route (somewhere in the vicinity of Robertson and Melrose) and then proceed to the Street Eucharist in the second car. If you only have one car, you may want to park it near the halfway point at La Cienega and Santa Monica Blvd., and walk east and north to the street Eucharist location.

What should I wear? As we mentioned above, T-shirts will be on sale for $15.00 at the Eucharist site. Clergy encouraged to wear their clerical collars. Comfortable shoes, hats and sunscreen!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bishop Senyonjo: 'God is not only for heterosexuals'

by Pat McCaughan, May 20, 2010

[Episcopal News Service] Retired Bishop Christopher Senyonjo of Buganda has a simple, if dangerous message: "God is not only for heterosexuals … [if you are gay] accept yourself, love yourself."

Senyonjo, 78, recently kicked off a six-week speaking tour at St. Paul's Church, Pomona, in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles to raise awareness about repressive anti-gay policies in Uganda, where lawmakers recently considered imposing a death penalty on gays.

He also called upon advocacy groups to network to help develop the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) and other under-served communities in Uganda and to promote understanding and education.

The married grandfather of 11 has been compared to Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Martin Luther King Jr. because of his outspoken gay rights activism. His advocacy was born of listening to the struggles of others, he said recently.

"The church should be on the side of those who suffer, who are persecuted and who have been misunderstood," he told about 75 people gathered at the May 11 forum in Pomona. "To me it is sad. Very often, people go to the Bible and read it the way they want to and say if you don't read the Bible this way you are out, an outcast. I know; because I've been there."

But, he added: "Christ came to bring justice and love. Culture is not static and Christ can transform culture," he said, noting "Christ's imperative was to love, not to hate your brother because he is different."

Find out more.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Love this graphic, just posted to the Diocese of L.A. website in preparation for Saturday's consecrations!

You are invited ... join the celebration welcoming two new bishops suffragan!

Saturday, May 15
12:30 p.m. Gathering music
1:30 p.m. Liturgy begins

Long Beach Arena
300 East Ocean Boulevard
Long Beach

Fact Sheet Biographies

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

And a good time was had by all!

Photos from last Sunday's LGBT Program Group Garden Party at the home of Bishop Jon & Mary Bruno. Could NOT have been a lovelier day ... great turn out ... lots of energy and excitement about the opportunities ahead, as well as gratitude to Bishops Talton and Carranza as they prepare to retire. Enjoy!

Monday, April 5, 2010

It's almost GARDEN PARTY time!

SUNDAY, MAY 2nd 2 - 5pm in the garden of Bishop Jon & Mary Bruno

Click on the invitation to enlarge it ...

... and mark your calendars NOW to join us for the "best ever" Annual Garden Party, honoring retiring Bishops Chet Talton and Sergio Carranza and looking forward to a new era of mission and ministry here in the Diocese of Los Angeles!
To RSVP or for more information, click here.

Great Message for an Easter Monday: "I Am a Social Justice Christian"

Friday, March 26, 2010

Thoughts on the House of Bishops Theology Report

by the Reverend Canon Susan Russell
Chair, Diocesan Program Group on LGBT Ministry

I'm still only whittling away at the 95 page House of Bishops theology report "Same-Sex Relationships in the Life of the Church" in terms of coming up with my own impressions of the actual work.

That said, I found a post on theology committee member Deirdre Good's blog hopeful. It's from the introduction given by theologian Willis Jenkins to the presentation of the report to the House of Bishops -- which Good has posted with permission in its entirety on her blog -- but these were the two excerpts that "caught my eye:"
We do not plead for inclusion in marriage on the basis of rights, nor do we claim liberty for marriage on the basis of justice. Instead we show how all our marriages make sense within the church’s prayers and its proclamation of the gospel. Reading scripture in recognition of gifts of the Spirit evident in same- and other-sex couples, we present ourselves within the frame of an analogous debate: that of the earliest church wrestling with the question of Gentile inclusion.

By offering this frame of argument, those in same-sex marriages allow themselves and their relationships to become vulnerable to “our” interpretation. Our response, I contend, should be similar to how Peter, James, and Paul responded: by giving witness to gifts of the Spirit among these couples and making a way forward that respects tradition.
We argue that marrying same-sex couples, if done forthrightly as a matter of witness and proclamation, can help our church better explain itself to the whole Communion. It is “part of the Episcopal church’s mission,” we write, “to marry same-sex couples; that is, to discipline them and turn them to the service of the church, that by them redemption may reach further and the marriages of all may be strengthened.”

For the sake of mutual understanding and accountability with our companions in mission around the Communion, our argument elaborates how this mission makes sense within shared scriptures, shared liturgies and shared practices of moral formation. For we want our companions in mission to be able to understand us when we say that blessing same-sex marriages should not jeopardize the marriages or mission of churches that practice traditionalist marriage.

We think just the contrary: that same-sex marriage strengthens the meaning of all marriages and illustrates anew the mission of the church. “The question of same-sex marriage,” we write, “comes to the church not as an issue of extended rights and privileges, but as a pastoral occasion to proclaim the significance of the gospel for all who marry.”

Amidst similar dissension and debate in our church, we read our situation in light of the church council in Acts, and propose a similar compromise for a way forward: Traditionalist communities need not relinquish their traditions, but they must not break table fellowship. Inclusivist communities are not bound by those particular traditions, but they must avoid sexual immorality, which means that all couples, including same-sex couples, should marry.
So I still think there is much to process and much to ponder about this report, its content and the now DECADE long process that brought it into being.

AND I think the theological framing of the discussion of same-sex relationships described by Jenkins above can be an important contribution to the ongoing process of "doing the theology" of full inclusion.

It may all end up being more theology we've done that those on the other side of the aisle disagree-with-and-therefore-dismiss -- but what I'm wondering this morning is if maybe ... just maybe ... this work will help us turn an important corner.

Yes, I'm tired of my life and relationship being "studied." (But heck ... I was tired of that ten years ago in 2000 when the then House of Bishops' Theology Committee ... still chaired by Henry Parsley ... flew me and Michael Hopkins to Chicago so they could say they "consulted" with "live-in-captivity actual homosexual persons.") And I'm tired of being used as a wedge issue in this chess game of global Anglican politics that -- at its base level -- has nothing to do with either theology or sexuality and everything to do with power and control.

And God knows I'm tired of the arguments from "the other side" based on scripture through a literalist lens and pseudo-science -- and the portion of the report written by the self-described "traditionalists" doesn't appear to offer a single new thought, perspective or concept to the dialogue.

Of course it's a justice issue. And it is a pastoral issue ... as my calendar is already filling up with pastoral appointments with folks for whom this whole point-counterpoint debate on same-sex relationships has unearthed -- once again -- feelings of rejection, internalized homophobia and the deep pain of having to justify your life, your vocation and your relationship to your "tribe." I'm sick of it all.

But here's where the cost of discipleship part comes in for me. It's not about what I'm tired of. It's about the Gospel.

It's about the mission and ministry of a church that has SUCH good news to offer -- SUCH a powerful witness to provide to a world in such desperate need of it -- SUCH an opportunity in the weeks and months and years ahead to actually incarnate that Year of the Lord's Favor that's as old as Isaiah and Jesus ... in a nutshell it's about our foundational call as baptized people to proclaim the Good News of God in Christ Jesus by word AND example.

And we can't do that if we continue to allow a percentage of bigots to hold our mission and ministry hostage to their demands that we marginalize a percentage of the baptized.

And if it takes one more theology paper to get us over the schismatic speed bumps and back up to speed as a church moving forward into God's future then I say bring it on.

Let's read it. Let's challenge it. And then let's use it to put an end -- once and for all -- to the fiction that our differences have to be divisions and then let's get on with freeing captives, getting that good news to the poor and liberating the oppressed -- and bring the Good News of the God who loves absolutely everybody TO absolutely everybody!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Just received via email from the Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs -- and I've already applied to the bishop for special dispensation to offer Alleluias during Lent!:

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop’s office notifies
Diocese of Los Angeles of successful canonical consent process

Bishop-Elect Glasspool ordination and consecration on May 15

[March 17, 2010] The Office of Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has notified the Diocese of Los Angeles that the canonical consent process for Bishop-Elect Mary Douglas Glasspool has been successfully completed.

As outlined under Canon III.11.4 (a), the Presiding Bishop confirmed the receipt of consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction, and has also reviewed the evidence of consents from a majority of standing committees of the Church sent to her by the diocesan standing committee.

In Canon III.11.4 (b), Standing Committees, in consenting to the ordination and consecration, attest they are "fully sensible of how important it is that the Sacred Order and Office of a Bishop should not be unworthily conferred, and firmly persuaded that it is our duty to bear testimony on this solemn occasion without partiality, do, in the presence of Almighty God, testify that we know of no impediment on account of which the Reverend A.B. ought not to be ordained to that Holy Office. We do, moreover, jointly and severally declare that we believe the Reverend A.B. to have been duly and lawfully elected and to be of such sufficiency in learning, of such soundness in the Faith, and of such godly character as to be able to exercise the Office of a Bishop to the honor of God and the edifying of the Church, and to be a wholesome example to the flock of Christ."

Glasspool was elected Bishop Suffragan on December 5, 2009. Her ordination and consecration is slated for May 15; Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will officiate.

A recap of the process

Upon election, the successful candidate is a bishop-elect. Following some procedural matters including physical and psychological examinations, formal notices are then sent by the Presiding Bishop’s office to bishops with jurisdiction (diocesan bishops only) with separate notices from the electing diocese to the standing committees of each of the dioceses in The Episcopal Church. These notices require their own actions and signatures.

In order for a bishop-elect to become a bishop, Canon III.11.4 (a) of The Episcopal Church mandates that a majority of diocesan bishops AND a majority of diocesan standing committees must consent to the bishop-elect’s ordination and consecration as bishop. These actions – done separately - must be completed within 120 days from the day notice of the election was sent to the proper parties.

If the bishop-elect receives a majority (at least 50% plus 1) of consents from the diocesan bishops as well as a majority from the standing committees, the bishop-elect is one step closer.

Following a successful consent process, ordination and celebration are in order.



Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Update on consent process

Just received via email:

L.A. Diocese receives majority of Standing Committee consents to elections of two bishops suffragan

[The Episcopal News - Los Angeles, March 10, 2010] The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Los Angeles has received the necessary majority of Standing Committee consents to the December 2009 elections of the Rev. Canon Diane Jardine Bruce and the Rev. Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool as bishops suffragan to serve the six-county Los Angeles diocese.

The Los Angeles Standing Committee reported March 10 that within the last 64 days it has received 61 consents needed to the election of Glasspool, and 78 consents to the election of Bruce. In each election a majority of 56 consents was needed from the counterpart Standing Committees of the 110 dioceses of the Episcopal Church.

The consent process to Glasspool's election is not complete until the Presiding Bishop's Office in New York confirms that it has received the necessary majority of consents from bishops with jurisdiction in the dioceses of the Church. Meanwhile, the Presiding Bishop's Office has notified the Los Angeles Standing Committee that 58 of the 61 Standing Committee consents received have been verified to date.

Completion of the consent process in Bruce's election was confirmed with a March 8 announcement from the Presiding Bishop's Office.

"I give thanks for the Standing Commitees' prompt action, and for the consents to the elections of my sisters," Los Angeles Bishop Diocesan J. Jon Bruno said on March 10. "I look forward to the final few consents to come in from the bishops in the next few days, and I give thanks for the fact that we as a church have taken a bold step for just action."

Public comment from Bruce, who is rector of St. Clement's by-the-Sea, San Clemente, Calif, and Glasspool, canon to the bishops of the Diocese of Maryland, will follow completion of the consent process to Glasspool's election.

The Los Angeles Standing Committee, led by its president, the Rev. Canon Cindy Evans Voorhees, launched the 120-day consent process on Jan. 5 for Glasspool and on Jan. 8 for Bruce following action by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to request consent to the elections from bishops with jurisdiction across the Episcopal Church. The consent processes conclude May 5 and 8 respectively.
Canon III.11.4 (a) of the Episcopal Church requires that a majority of diocesan bishops and a majority of diocesan standing committees must consent to each episcopal election.

These separate actions must be completed within 120 days from the day after notice of the election was sent to designated recipients, and each bishop-elect must receive a majority of consents from the diocesan bishops as well as a majority from the standing committees in order for ordination to proceed.

If a majority is not received and verified from the bishops and/or the Standing Committees, the Presiding Bishop is required by Canon III.11.5 to declare that election null and void.

Pending completion of the consent process, the ordination and consecration of the two new bishops is scheduled for Saturday, May 15, at the Long Beach Arena. An opening celebration will begin at 12:30 p.m. with the liturgy itself beginning at 1:30 p.m. The Presiding Bishop is scheduled to officiate.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Latino LGBT Community Forum

Free, Saturday, February 27th, 10 am

Highland Park Cultural Center
104 N. Ave. 56, Los Angeles 90042

The Latino Equality Alliance, an alliance of LGBT Latino community organizations, is partnering with the U. S. Census Bureau, MALDEF, and other Latino ally organizations in hosting the Latino LGBT Community Forum. The bilingual community forum will provide an opportunity for LGBT individuals, friends and family members to discuss the recent developments of the LGBT civil rights movement, what's happened since Prop. 8 passed, and what we can do now to further our movement.

We will also learn more about the new Census Bureau policy to officially count married and unmarried LGBT couples. This is in response to a recent policy change by the Obama Administration. The Census designates Latinos, and now LGBT Latinos, as “hard to count” populations. As such, we are working to assure the most accurate count possible by disseminating information about the new LGBT policy, how the Census form should be filled out to assure that LGBT couples are counted and encourage participation.

Your input is important as we develop our action plans to overcome homophobia, misconceptions and myths about the LGBT community. Please join us for this special event. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided at no charge. We will also offer free "Snapshot of America" Census campaign photos for Latina/o LGBT couples and families.

Please RSVP by email to:

The Latino Equality Alliance includes BIENESTAR, The Wall/Las Memorias, HONOR PAC, Lambda Legal, Gamba Adisa and other Latino LGBT organizations and is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization through its fiscal sponsor JWCH Institute, Inc. Funded in part by the Liberty Hill Foundation.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mardi Gras in the Cathedral: A Good Time Was Had By All!

Thanks to all who worked so hard to make the LGBT Program Group Mardi Gras such a festive, fabulous event.

Here are a few pictures ... stay tuned for an update on what we raised for Episcopal Relief & Development ... and for info on upcoming events! (Next up: The Annual Garden Party!)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Family Values that value ALL famlies!

A wonderful one-minute video spot focusing on an All Saints Beverly Hills family ... ENJOY!

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez" -- for Haiti!

Come spend part of your Valentines Day with the Diocese of L.A. Program Group on LGBT Ministry at our Mardi Gras-in-the-Cathedral party benefiting Haitian Earthquake Relief!

[click on image to enlarge]

Good cause. Great fun. "Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez"

RSVP to Vicki Mouradian

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Update on consent process for bishops suffragan-elect

[The Diocese of Los Angeles - 12JAN2010] – The 120-day processes by which bishops and standing committees of the 110 dioceses of the Episcopal Church are asked to provide formal consent to the December 2009 elections of two bishops suffragan in the Diocese of Los Angeles opened on January 5 and January 8, officials have confirmed.

“This is now a period of reflection, prayer and discernment among the bishops and standing committees,” Diocesan Bishop J. Jon Bruno said of the consent process as it officially opened. “Our diocesan officers and bishops-elect will honor this process by postponing public comment, including media interviews, until after the required consents are received. We give thanks that the Holy Spirit is at work as the Church moves forward.”

The Presiding Bishop’s Office on January 5 sent letters to bishops with jurisdiction (primarily bishops diocesan) requesting consent to the election of the Rev. Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool, and on January 8 sent similar letters requesting consent to the election of the Rev. Canon Diane Jardine Bruce. These letters followed verification in the Presiding Bishop’s Office of reports including physical and psychological examinations.

On the same dates, the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Los Angeles sent letters to the Episcopal Church’s other 109 diocesan standing committees requesting consent to the elections of Bruce and Glasspool.

The Los Angeles diocesan standing committee will tabulate the responses it receives while the Presiding Bishop’s Office receives bishops’ responses and typically does not disclose related information until those results are complete and certified.

Canon III.11.4 (a) of the Episcopal Church requires that a majority of diocesan bishops and a majority of diocesan standing committees must consent to each episcopal election.

These separate actions must be completed within 120 days from the day after notice of the election was sent to designated recipients, and each bishop-elect must receive a majority (at least 50% plus 1) of consents from the diocesan bishops as well as a majority from the standing committees in order for ordination to proceed.

If a majority is not received from the bishops and/or the standing committees, the Presiding Bishop is required by Canon III.11.5 to declare the election null and void.

Meanwhile, the Presiding Bishop’s Office has confirmed that the 120-day consent processes will conclude on May 5 for Glasspool and on May 8 for Bruce. Their ordination to the episcopate is scheduled for May 15 at the Long Beach Arena, pending receipt of necessary consent

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Prop 8 trial in the news

Listen here to KPFK radio's Sonali Kolhatkar interviewing the Courage Campaign's Rick Jacobs and All Saints Pasadena's Susan Russell about Perry v Schwarzenegger -- the landmark trial challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8. The interview aired this morning here in Los Angeles.