Church Challenged At 'Integrity' Meeting

Episcopal News Service. August 18, 1976 [76277]

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gay Episcopalians and their supporters heard writer-priest Malcolm Boyd call the Church's response to homosexuality a "negative scandal of the Gospel" in his keynote address to the second annual convention of Integrity.

In his address to the 130 participants at the convention -- held at Trinity Episcopal Church -- Fr. Boyd challenged the Church to "manifest the love of God in the world and human life" and added: "It is a negative scandal of the Gospel that so much of the life of the church, that claims to be the body of Christ, denies this love by its actions. "

At the same time, the former publicist and university chaplain urged homosexuals to be honest and open with themselves, asserting that "it is an obvious and open presence in the pew and polling place that will bring the gift of integrity to those structured institutions and others."

In the course of the three-day meeting in early August, the group chose the Rev. Ron Wesner as interim president. Fr. Wesner, an Episcopal priest and avowed homosexual, allegedly lost one parish job because he is gay.

In its business sessions, the group revised its constitution and structures and honored Barbara Gittings for her service to the homosexual liberation movement. Integrity's next convention will be in 1977 in Philadelphia where Fr. Wesner is coconvenor of the local chapter.