Integrity has been an active presence at General Conventions since 1977, helping draft resolutions and gathering support for their resolutions as well as the other members of The Consultation, a consortium of justice organizations in The Episcopal Church. The Triennial Integrity Eucharist has undoubtedly been one of the highlights of General Convention, attracting several thousand people in attendance.
As of October 17, 2019, the current (appointed, not elected) treasurer of Integrity reported that Integrity has "about $53,000 on hand," $30,000 of which was a bequest which is reportedly earmarked to assist local chapters after a census has been completed. (Treasurers Report October, 2019, can be found here.)
It should also be noted that one of Integrity's members discovered that the board neglected to file Integrity's report with the IRS of the State of Illinois in 2018 so the incorporated status was involuntarily dissolved. It has been reported by the current treasurer that the appropriate report has been filed and Integrity's status has been re-instated.
Sometime after that, the President went on medical leave.
Comparing that 2019 internal audit with the independent audit filed in 2015 by Smith, Sullivan & Brown is very revealing in terms of what it does and does not document.
Indeed, there is no comparison between the audit of 2015 and 2019. Perhaps this is why Integrity's bylaws call for an audit by a CPA and not MBA. While this board likes to talk about bylaws, they only adhere to their interpretation of the bylaws. Sometimes, they even make some up (more on this later.).
It needs to be asked: What are they afraid of?
This particular form was to provide the board with permission to share a member’s name with other members. Which the bylaws already allowed.
Unless, of course, the oppressed have internalized their oppression and have become the oppressor.
Another example of this can be found in the exchanges between one member of Integrity and the illicitly appointed chair of the Stakeholder's Council who used homophobic slurs ("pissy old queens and bitter old dykes") to describe some of those Integrity members who have raised questions and concerns.
His behavior and language were excused by the board as being "generational".(Note: At the very end of this blog post, I have provided the exchange and the letter written by President Fry to document this. It is a study in internalized oppression.)
Facts don’t matter to the privileged who become arrogant and self-serving as they insulate themselves from the very people – the members of Integrity – they are supposed to serve.
Indeed, a petition was circulated to amend the bylaws to make board meetings open to members. The bylaws state that amendments can be made by petition of 10% of the members. However, since the board refuses to reveal how many members there are on the books - and, apparently arbitrarily determines how to apply membership dues as "donations" or dues - it was thought but not known that the required threshold of signatories had been reached.
No matter. The board has ignored that petition.
If any of this style of leadership sounds even vaguely familiar, one need only look to the Oval Office in Washington, DC for comparison.
I pray for leadership who understands that the best leadership style is to "get right in the middle and then get right out of the way" - gradually phasing out Integrity at a "national" level.
As long-time Episcopal leader and Civil Rights Activist, Ed Rodman, has so often said, leaders in justice movements know to "have their fingerprints on everything and their name on nothing."
Integrity is dead.
The Christian Post: Episcopal LGBT advocacy group head resigns amid allegations of mismanagement
1. Here are the results of the MEMBERSHIP SURVEY October 22, 2019.
2. Here is a copy of the Books and Records Demand
*****Integrity's old, sadly outdated Webpage can be found here: https://www.integrityusa.org/
Note: I was with Louie the day before he died (on the eve of Thanksgiving, 11.27.19). We briefly talked about the state of Integrity which brought him deep distress and anger and tears. I promised him that I would try to make things right. Making sure the truth is told and documented in this blog is part of my effort to keep my promise.
:::ADDENDUM NOTE::: I am deeply grateful to the Integrity member who provided this FB post regarding the board's decision concerning the homophobic slurs ("Pissy old queens" and "bitter old dykes") he used to describe Integrity members who expressed their concerns and frustrations with board leadership:
Statement by Integrity USA’s President Regarding Bruce Garner’s Private Facebook Comments – November 15, 2019
Dear Integrity friends,
The board met with Bruce Garner today after receiving inquiries about language he used in a private Facebook chat. The concerns surfaced after an individual posted screenshots of that private conversation in our Facebook group in reaction to our announcement that Bruce was appointed Integrity USA’s Interim Stakeholders’ Council Chairperson.
Historically, the use of certain words describing members of the LGBTQ community have evoked a variety of reactions. The reactions often vary by, and sometimes within, generations.
This is something the LGBTQ community has debated for many years. You may have seen that Bruce posted a response this afternoon in that Facebook discussion clarifying that his comments were made as a private individual and do not reflect the thoughts of anyone else or any organization.
We appreciate his clarification. Bruce Garner was appointed Interim Stakeholders’ Council Chairperson because of his many years of service and institutional knowledge of Integrity USA. This includes two terms as president.
Integrity USA’s board of directors believes he is an asset to the organization and will play an important role in shaping its future. Let’s not allow our personal differences divide us during a time when there is still so much work to be done. (Italization added for emphasis.)
Integrity USA envisions a church where people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions are welcomed and affirmed. Together, we can make that happen.
Gwen Fry Integrity USA President