What is Integrity Canada?
Integrity Canada is a national network of organizations and friends working toward the full inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the life of the Anglican Church of Canada. We are part of the international lesbian and gay Christian movement, encouraging churches around the world to promote the basic human rights of gay and lesbian people and to support their active participation in the life of the Church.
Canada's first Integrity chapter was organized in 1975, and local chapters are now active in several cities across the country. Local Integrity chapters offer:
- a safe worshipping and caring community where gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and questioning people can integrate their faith and sexuality and grow in their spiritual lives,
- support for Anglican parishes and dioceses seeking to become more affirming, inviting, and welcoming of gay and lesbian people, and
- opportunities for lesbian and gay communities to hear afresh the Good News that Jesus is a friend to all, and that the Anglican Church welcomes them.
GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered) People and the Local Church
On the parish level the Church's acceptance of lesbian and gay people varies widely, from enthusiastic welcome to outright rejection. Some gay people have been badly hurt by negative attitudes and ignorance in the Church and find participating in regular parish activities difficult. Many gay people who grew up in the Anglican Church or who have looked to the Church for spiritual nurture have been turned away by anti-gay prejudice and rhetoric:
- We are told that our desire to love and to be loved is "disordered", "unnatural", and sinful.
- We are told that being a "gay Christian" is an oxymoron and that our experience of God's grace and acceptance is illusory.
- We are discouraged from integrating our faith and sexuality, from growing in Christian wholeness.
- We are pressured to hide the truth about ourselves from our families and closest friends, to pretend to be "straight", and frequently to marry heterosexually.
Integrity invites our hurting brothers and sisters back to the Church by demonstrating Christian care and love. We support all people in their spiritual growth and journey to Christian wholeness, and we help them to find parishes where they can participate without pretense about their sexuality or experience of grace as gay Christians.
What Integrity asks of the Church
While our bishops formally affirm that gay and lesbian Anglicans are full members of the Body of Christ, the Church still does not accept us as whole human beings, integrated in faith and sexuality:
- It mandates life-long celibacy only of its gay and lesbian priests.
- In most places it refuses to acknowledge and respect God's blessing in our committed relationships.
- GLBT people are often not allowed to exercise their gifts in service to the Church.
- And in some places gay and lesbian Anglicans are even refused the Eucharist.
In this context Integrity calls on the Anglican Church of Canada to review and change any activity or policy that disrespects the diversity of sexual orientation, or that discriminates, excludes, or prohibits on the basis of sexual orientation or same-sex union. We call on our brothers and sisters in Christ - regardless of sexual orientation - to work with us to build local faith communities that are healthy, whole, and fully life-affirming, and a Church that reflects the radical equality of all people in Christ Jesus.
Speaking for Ourselves: Listening to Gay and Lesbian Christians
One of the few things on which most Anglicans bishops around the world agree at least publicly is the importance of listening to lesbian and gay people share their own life and faith experience. Visit the Speaking for Ourselves page for our stories and those of our friends.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people will receive a warm welcome in many Anglican parishes. Here is a partial list of gay-affirming, Proud Anglican parishes, listed by region.
Claiming the Blessing Canada
Integrity Canada joins many others in calling on the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada to authorize the blessing of same-sex unions. Read the statement, A Call to Blessing, and add your name to the petition by visiting Claiming the Blessing Canada.
Dialogue Resources for Dioceses and Parishes
The Anglican Book Centre publication "Hearing Diverse Voices, Seeking Common Ground" has been one of the most widely used study guides in the history of the Anglican Church of Canada. Links to this and many other dialogue and study resources are available here.