Friday, October 28, 2011

God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality

The Program Group on LGBT Ministry is honored to be one of the sponsors for an evening with scholar and activist Jay Michaelson at Temple Kol Ami on Tuesday, November 15th. Come be inspired, informed and entertained at what is sure to be a groundbreaking event for LGBT Equality.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Shine: Celebrating National Coming Out Day

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9, 7 - 10 p.m.
Shine: Celebrating National Coming Out Day
St. Luke's Episcopal Church
252 East 7th Street, Long Beach 90813

Bishop Suffragan Mary Glasspool will preside and preach. St. Luke's GLBT Ministry will provide a special reception after the service designed to continue a dialogue sparked by the evening of stories, music and prayer.

The service will feature four individuals of various ages and experience sharing their coming-out stories, and how this experience has affected their spiritual journey.

Christopher Gravis, Minister of Music from St. Wilfrid's Church, Huntington Beach has assembled a choral ensemble from all over the Southland which will provide musical interludes.

New to this year's venue will be two banners designed for the event by award-winning photographer and visual artist Kurt Weston. Weston, legally blind due to AIDS-related illnesses, continues to have work featured in galleries and retrospectives across the United States.

Information: 562.436.4047

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bishop Mary @ The White House!

In case you missed it, here's Bishop Mary Glasspool's report on her recent visit to the White House for the LGBT Pride Month Reception.

Go, +Mary!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pride Parade 2011: Power, Passion, Purpose

Once again, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles joined forces with our Lutheran counterparts to celebrate Eucharist together before taking the message of God's inclusive love to the streets of West Hollywood. Here's a look at some of the great cloud of witnesses who gathered this morning:

And here are some photos of another Truly Fabulous Pride Day L.A.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Tick Tock L.A. Pride!

Annual Episcopal-Lutheran Pride Eucharist:

: Sunday, June 12 • 9:30 am (note time change from earlier 9:00 am announcement)
WHERE: Corner of Santa Monica Blvd & Crescent Heights Blvd in West Hollywood, CA

Celebrating the call to common mission in God's inclusive grace, folks from welcoming Lutheran and Episcopal parishes gather at 9:30 AM for our annual Street Eucharist before the parade begins.

The Rev. Susan Russell, All Saints Episcopal Church, Pasadena
Preaching: The Rev. Dean Nelson, Bishop, Southwest CA Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

With both communions represented in their own parade units, look for the "pink triangle Martin Luther" and/or the Episcopal flag at the corner of Santa Monica Blvd & Crescent Heights Blvd to guide you to the actual site of the Street Eucharist, which will be held somewhere in the parade line-up, further down Crescent Heights Blvd. (Site TBD Sunday morning based on where our parade units end up in the line-up)

For more information contact Susan Russell at or 714.356.5718

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Year Ago Today ...

... we gathered in Long Beach to help the Holy Spirit make two new bishops in the Church of God.

Here's a look back at what was MOST "an amazing day" ... and with thanksgiving for all the work and witness of the last 365 days! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

Friday, May 6, 2011

L.A. Diocese PRIDE Shirts 2011

Since L.A. Pride ... AKA Christopher Street West ... falls on Pentecost this year (June 12) designer Randy Kimmler came up with this great representation of spirit filled welcome for our Pride theme 2011.

The shirts not only help us make God's love tangible on Santa Monica Blvd but the proceeds from their sale also help support the work and witness of the Diocesan LGBT Program Group. If you're interested in buying one ... or a dozen ... click here to submit an online order.

Join us in a Pentecost celebration of God's inclusive love -- and the Episcopal Church!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Garden Party 2011

It's always a special occasion when members of the LGBT Program group gather with friends and allies to celebrate and support the work and witness of Equality -- and this year was made even MORE special as our honoree was the Marvelous Mary Bruno.

Here are some snapshots of a totally awesome day ... with thanks to all who worked so hard to make it so fabulous. ENJOY!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A "Monday in Holy Week" Event @ Fuller Seminary

by Susan Russell, Program Group Chair

It's a kind of unusual way to spend Monday in Holy Week, but I'm honored to have been invited to be part of a panel this coming Monday night at Fuller Seminary. The program is being framed by the question: "What can Fuller Seminary do to prepare its students for ministry in congregations who are divided on the issue of homosexuality?" Yes, that would be an invitation from FULLER Seminary ... the same week that the Diocese of San Joaquin authorizes liturgies for the blessing of same-gender unions.

  • Remember that the next time there's a "one step back" after "two steps forward" on the journey toward justice and you think we're never going to get there.

  • Remember when you fear that the church will never live up to its promise of full and equal claim to the LGBT baptized.

  • Remember when it seems that liberty and justice will never mean "all."
Remember a week when both Fuller Seminary and the Diocese of San Joaquin took two steps forward! Here are the details of Monday's event ... join us if you're in the neighborhood!

Fuller's Peace and Justice Advocates and Just Peacemaking Initiative Present:
Pastoral Tools for Mediation and Dialogue
Monday April 18th 7pm in Travis Auditorium


The Reverend Canon Susan Russell
Senior Associate at All Saints Church in Pasadena Chair of the Program Group on LGBT Ministry for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles

Bishop Yvette Flunder
Senior Pastor, City of Refuge, United Church of Christ Residing Bishop, Refuge Ministries/Fellowship 2000

Rev. Dr. Ken Fong Senior Pastor,Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles, Rosemead

Paul W. Clement, Ph.D.,
ABPP Clinical Psychologist, Private Practice, South Pasadena

Chris Moore
PhD Candidate in Christian Ethics, Fuller Seminary Former Fellow at St. John's the Divine

Monday, March 28, 2011

RIP: The Reverend Dr. Canon Howard Happ

We -- the Diocese of Los Angeles and the Church of God -- have lost a faithful servant and great friend in Howard Happ. Here's the announcement that came from the bishops' office a few minutes ago:

I am very sorry to inform you that the Rev. Canon Dr. Howard J. Happ, a priest of this diocese for nearly 40 years and a distinguished professor of religious studies, died March 27 at the Canterbury Episcopal Home Community in Rancho Palos Verdes where he was a resident. Howard died peacefully in his sleep; he was 68 and will long be remembered for his great friendship, intellect, wit, and commitment to the Anglo-Catholic tradition. Howard is survived by many admiring friends, colleagues and students.

Requiem Eucharist is scheduled for Sunday, April 3, at 5:30 p.m. -- preceded by visitation at 4:30 p.m. -- at St. Nicholas Church, Encino. Burial will follow in Waterloo, Iowa, where Howard was born May 20, 1942. Since 1979, Howard was professor of religious studies at California State University, Northridge. Previously at CSUN he was associate professor for four years and assistant professor from 1971 to 1975. Howard assisted at St. Nicholas, Encino, for some 20 years starting in 1978. He was curate of St. Charles' Mission, Northridge, from 1973 to 1976, and then assisted at St. Andrew & St. Charles, Granada Hills, from 1977 to 1983. In 1996 he began assisting at St. Bede's, Los Angeles, continuting until his retirement. Starting in 2000, he served at St. Martin in-the-Fields, Winnetka, and also occasionally at the Cathedral Center, of which he was named an honorary canon in 2006.

Most recently, Howard had assisted and preached at St. Francis, Palos Verdes Estates, and St. Nicholas, Encino. Bishop Robert Rusack ordained Howard to the diaconate in 1973 and the priesthood in 1974. Howard held an A.B. from Cornell College in Iowa, M.A. from the University of Chicago, B.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University. Howard is the author of numerous theological articles, as well as a chapter in the diocesan centennial history, As We Remember.
Rest eternal grant your servant Howard, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him.
Your brother in Christ, +J. Jon Bruno.

Monday, March 14, 2011

"At work in the Fields of the Lord" ... in Santa Clarita!

A couple of weeks ago there was an ordination at St. Stephen's in Santa Clarita and the church celebrated two brand new priests -- Sue Bek and Cynthia Jew. The local paper ran a nice feature piece entitled "Lifelong callings finally realized" on February 26 with some great pictures as part of the celebration.

One reader took exception to the feature and the paper ran his comments ("St. Stephen's wrong to ordain gay priest") on March 6. I understand from folks in the community that he's also taken to protesting outside the church.

So here's the op-ed response in yesterday's "Santa Clarita Valley Signal" by Santa Clarita rector Lynn Jay:

‘There will be no outcasts in this church’
Rev. Canon Lynn Jay, rector
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
March 13, 2011

The words that follow are from a prayer that is always used at ordinations in the Episcopal Church:
“Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord...”
I would like Mr. Miano (“St. Stephen’s wrong to ordain openly gay priest,” March 6) to know that St. Stephen’s, a congregation of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, is proud to convey to the world the inclusive love of Jesus — “that things which were cast down are being raised up” — women, people of color, the poor, the homeless, as well as gay and lesbian people.

And things that have grown old are being made new — not an old wrathful God who desires the death of sinners, but the new incarnate son of God, Jesus, who comes that all may be freed and made whole.

A former presiding bishop of the church said, “I think the Church has a role in being both prophetic in holding up issues, and using all its influences to try to bring about better conditions for the poor, the hungry, both in this country, as well as in the global village. There will be no outcasts in the church.”

The overwhelming power of God: father, son and holy spirit are evident in the all encompassing love at St. Stephen’s. There will be no outcasts in this church.
1 - Let the people say "AMEN!"
2 - Let the people send Letters to the Editor and/or add some comments to the online feature in support of St. Stephen's.
3 - Let the people take a minute to click here and send an email of thanks to Lynn+ for her powerful witness to God's inclusive love!

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Rabbi & The Rev to Receive Equality Awards from HRC

On Saturday, March 12th the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) will recognize Rabbi Denise Eger and the Reverend Susan Russell for their work on LGBT equality with "HRC Community Equality Awards" at the annual HRC Los Angeles dinner. Eger and Russell have been long-time friends and allies in this justice work and both expressed their delight and appreciation: not only at the prospect of being recognized by the HRC but in being recognized together.

"I am deeply humbled and honored to receive HRC's community equality award with my good friend and colleague the Reverend Canon Susan Russell. This award symbolizes how we can transform the world into a more loving, justice filled place when we work for equality and liberty together," said Rabbi Eger.

"It has been such an extraordinary privilege to work with an amazing cloud of witnesses toward the shared goal of making God's love, justice and compassion tangible to the LGBT community," said Russell. "Rabbi Denise has been a friend, a mentor and a sister in the struggle and I am deeply grateful to HRC and honored that we will share this moment of celebration of what has been accomplished and of commitment to the work ahead."

The HRC Los Angeles Gala will be held at the Ritz Carlton/JW Marriott L.A. Live. More information on the event here. Learn more about the HRC Religion Council here.
"Civil rights should be determined by law not religious doctrine. When courts allow the government to affirm one religious view over another, all religious beliefs are in jeopardy. We respect the beliefs of those people whose faith teaches marriage is between a man and a woman, and we respect their rights to practice those beliefs within their religious institutions. However, our faith teaches marriage is open to gay and lesbian couples. Where is the respect for our beliefs, and if our faith can be trampled by the government, whose beliefs can be trampled next?" -- Rabbi Denise Eger

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

LENT EVENT 2011: Taking Time to Breathe

"Taking Time to Breathe"

A Quiet Day with Bishop Mary Glasspool

Church of Our Saviour
535 West Roses Road, San Gabriel 91775

Saturday, 19 March 2011, 9am - 3pm
The day will begin with a gathering and coffee at 8:30am and include a series of reflections by Bishop Suffragan Mary Glasspool with time for meditation and contemplation. We will conclude with a closing plenary session and Eucharist. Sponsored by the Diocesan Program Group on LGBT Ministry, this Lent Event is open to all seeking an opportunity to ■ learn ■ pray ■ reflect ■ & renew ■
■ A $10.00 donation is requested for lunch ■

RSVP to Troy Mendez at

Friday, January 28, 2011

From Program Group Chair Susan Russell on the murder of Ugandan Activist David Kato

The news of the murder of gay human rights activist David Kato in Uganda this week was another tragic reminder of how far we have yet to go to become that "kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven" we pray for every Sunday. The power of violent words to incite violent actions has once again born deadly fruit and those who continue to fan the flames of hatred with homophobic rhetoric have blood on their hands as surely as those who bludgeoned David Kato to death.

Today my email inbox was full of reactions, questions, concerns and fears. But it was also full of strong statements by some key Anglican leaders and thoughtful prayers from an Anglican pew.

From the Archbishop of Canterbury:
"The brutal murder of David Kato Kisule, a gay human rights activist, is profoundly shocking. Our prayers and deep sympathy go out for his family and friends - and for all who live in fear for their lives. Whatever the precise circumstances of his death, which have yet to be determined, we know that David Kato Kisule lived under the threat of violence and death. No one should have to live in such fear because of the bigotry of others. Such violence has been consistently condemned by the Anglican Communion worldwide. This event also makes it all the more urgent for the British Government to secure the safety of LGBT asylum seekers in the UK. This is a moment to take very serious stock and to address those attitudes of mind which endanger the lives of men and women belonging to sexual minorities."
From the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church:
At this morning’s Eucharist at the Primates Meeting, I offered prayers for the repose of the soul of David Kato. His murder deprives his people of a significant and effective voice, and we pray that the world may learn from his gentle and quiet witness, and begin to receive a heart of flesh in place of a heart of stone. May he rest in peace, and may his work continue to bring justice and dignity for all God’s children.
And from Sarah in Colorado:
Dear Susan Russell,

My name is Sarah Adams, and I am just a lay person in the church; however, I read your e-mail concerning the murder of David Kato in Uganda. My heart wept wthin me and this morning I made the decision to be in prayer for David Kato, his family and his friends. Thank you for posting the e-mail so that others like myself could join in prayer too.

Many years ago, I wrote this poem based on the 23rd Psalm. I share this poem as a prayer for David today.

The Lord is my Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in soft green grass.
And as I lay my head on this earth, my weary soul comes to rest.
My shepherd wakes me and takes my hand; he leads me beside a cool mountain stream..
I dance in her waters, I am refreshed. I leap in his arms and sigh.

As the sky darkens, the thunder roars; the rain pours upon me and I am alone.
But my shepherd's strong hands take me in his great arms, and he leads me along,
he leads me along, safe and warm through the storm.

And the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in soft green grass.
And as I lay my head on this earth, my weary soul comes to rest.

In prayer,
Sarah Adams, Denver Colorado
We pray in our "Prayers of the People" for "those whose lives are closely linked with ours." Today may we be given the grace to pray that prayer realizing that there is not a single member of the human family whose life is not in some mysterious way linked with ours. That all are equally created, loved and blessed by the God who loved us enough to become one of us to show us how to walk in love with each other. And then let's figure out how to work together -- whether we're an Archbishop in Canterbury, an activist in Uganda or "just a lay person" in Colorado -- to speak out, act up and end the blight homophobia once and for all.

(And just for the record, Sarah: there is no such thing as "just" a lay person. You rock!)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

LENT EVENT Saturday, March 19th

The Program Group on LGBT Ministry is delighted to invite members and friends of the Diocese of Los Angeles to a Lenten day of reflection led by Bishop Suffragan Mary Douglas Glasspool on Saturday, March 19th.

More information coming soon ... but for now "Save the Date" and plan to be with us to learn, pray, reflect and renew!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Celebrate the 9th Day of Christmas
and support the work of the Program Group on LGBT Ministry
at tonight's festive gathering at the All Saints BH Rectory!