LGBTQIA+

Pride Progress Flag

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus
LGBTQIA event
LGBTQIA event

Welcome, and thank you for your interest in the LGBTQIA+ Committee.  Members of this committee are part of the LGBTQIA+ community in The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, along with family members and other allies. 

For too long, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) people have been excluded from full participation in the Christian faith, but we envision a world in which people of all genders and sexual orientations feel fully welcomed into, and supported by, the Church, in cultivating Christian faith and a robust spiritual life.

Engage in Our Work

Please email us at LGBTQIA@diopa.org, and a member of the committee will get in touch with you as soon as possible.  We are happy to answer your questions and discuss your interest in our work.  If you choose, you can sign up for our mailing list by contacting us at this address, and we will make sure you receive notifications of future meetings, events, and projects.  

You may also contact the committee’s liaison with the diocese, the Rev. Canon Toneh Smyth, Canon For Mission, (215) 627-6434 x130, tsmyth@diopa.org

Our Mission

The LGBTQIA+ Committee of The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania leverages the assets of the diocese, its parishes, its clergy, and its parishioners to create an affirming community for queer people across the Diocese, promote and advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights within The Episcopal Church, and lovingly incorporate diverse and inclusive understandings of gender and sexuality into the life of the Church. We hold regular meetings to hear working group reports, assess progress, engage directly with diocesan officials, and develop action steps.

 

Committee Working Groups

The Youth, Parents, Families, & Allies Working Group is developing digital resources to assist parents, families and friends of LGBTQIA+ people, creating opportunities for LGBTQIA+ youth and those who love them and empower them.  This will include opportunities for LGBTQIA+ youth in the diocese to meet, develop their faith and explore identity in a safe and supportive space. We also seek to be available to parents, Christian formation leaders and allies as a resource. 

The Adult Programs & Enrichment Working Group is creating virtual and in-person programs and events to serve LGBTQIA+ people in the diocese, plays a central role generating new interest in the committee, cultivates member participation by planning events and programs that are specifically for LGBTQ+ people, or open to all, and works with parishes to promote the programs.

The Governance & Communications Working Group is spearheading policy advocacy at the diocesan and Convention levels, and advising on/managing communications with the diocese and parishes. The Working Group will propose a LGBTQIA+ affirming resolution at the General  Convention, establish parish communication channels, and develop a written history of LGBTQIA+ life and activism in The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.

2022 LGBTQIA+ Committee Executive Officers

  • Chair: Alexander Ames
  • Vice Chair: Messapotamia Lefae
  • Secretary: Timothy Hepp
LGBTQIA event
LGBTQIA event

Core Values Guiding Our Work

Confidentiality – We will not disclose the identities of other attendees to those outside the committee nor discuss specific items of discussion to those not on the committee.  Communication about the committee’s work should be kept general when discussing it with those outside the group itself. 

Vulnerability – In order to achieve honest communication and move the committee and diocese forward, we will need to be vulnerable with one another to share what we’re thinking and feeling.  

Curiosity – A desire to learn and a willingness to open ourselves to new thoughts, ideas, and perspectives will be critical for our success.  

Mutual Support – We commit to supporting one another as we engage in this work and live as LGBTQIA+ Episcopalians. 

Respectful Communication – A key component of this value is using “I” statements in our discussions.

Elevating Others’ Voices – We will prioritize elevating the voices of those whose voices may not always be heard in our society, and in our church.   

Intersectional Understandings and Approaches - In keeping with our goal of elevating others’ voices, the committee seeks to be on the leading edge of conversations about identity, sexuality, and justice.  We forefront Trans issues, engaging with questions of gender and sexual fluidity/nonbinary issues, and understanding how LGBTQIA+ issues intersect with racial justice.

Healthy Conflict Management – The committee will use the “ouch/oops” model when encountering and handling conflict in meetings and programs. 

 

Upcoming Events

On 11/13, join fellow LGBTQIA+ Episcopalians and their Allies for a Service of Holy Eucharist at Grace Episcopal Church and the Incarnation in Port Richmond, Philadelphia, followed by a fellowship hour.

More information

On 1/6, Join St. Timothy’s and the LGBTQIA+ Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania for a festive Lessons & Carols service to celebrate the 12th Day of Christmas and The Epiphany.

More information

Looking to be more engaged?

This committee envisions a world in which people of all genders and sexual orientations feel fully welcomed into, and supported by, the Church, in cultivating Christian faith and a robust spiritual life.

The Rev. Canon Toneh Smyth

The Rev. Canon Toneh Smyth

Canon For Mission

(215) 627-6434 x130