Thursday, May 16, 2024

Celebrating Incremental Victories

"Have you seen the new Episcopal Pride Shield? OMG!"
was the subject line in the email ... which contained this link to an update from the Episcopal Public Policy Network release which began: "In affirmation and celebration of The Episcopal Church’s LGBTQ+ members, the Office of Communication is pleased to unveil a new Pride shield available online for churchwide use." And -- as my friend and sister-in-the-struggle Elizabeth Kaeton has famously said -- my eyes started to sweat.
In the middle of a regular-old-Thursday at my desk catching up on everything I was going to get to after clergy conference and have to pay attention to before General Convention ... plus some random check request issues, a pastoral visit with a discernee and a staff Eucharist thrown in ... I was flooded with a mental slide show of the ghosts-of-Inclusion Wars battles past and a little "pinch me, I think I'm dreaming" moment.
Twenty-four years ago as we prepared to go to Denver for General Convention we were assaulted on all sides by those who thought we were moving too fast and were going to split the church, by those who thought we weren't moving fast enough and were planning to come and chain themselves to the convention hall doors in protest and those who were telling the clergy planning to vest and process at the Integrity Eucharist that it would be end of our careers in the church.
And now as we prepare to go to Louisville for General Convention we count six queer bishops in our House of Bishops, have a Task Force on LGBTQ Inclusion as one of our Interim Bodies and now an official Pride Shield (and I quote) "In affirmation and celebration of The Episcopal Church's LGBTQ+ members."
I literally did not think I would live this long.
Which does NOT mean we are done.
Which does NOT mean there isn't work yet to do.
And certainly does NOT mean we can risk underestimating the forces at work in our world marshalling their resources to push back the gains toward full inclusion in our church, our nation and our world.
Nevertheless -- as the inimitable George Regas of blessed memory taught us -- the way we get where we're going is to set audacious goals and celebrate incremental victories.
The audacious goal is still nothing less than the dismantling of oppression in all its forms. And the incremental victory is today's unveiling of a Pride Shield for the Episcopal Church. So let us rejoice and be glad in it. And then let's get back to work. Because as we've said before and will say again: La Lucha Continua ... The Struggle Continues. And we are in it to win it.

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