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Seeking Integration

We seek the integration of our sexuality and our spirituality. We seek the integration of women and men of all races and ways of life into our communities. We seek integration into the whole of society and into the Church of which we are a part. The basis for all this is the reconciliation that is God's gift to us in Christ and which makes us ambassadors of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17–20).

Our particular concern here has been the integration of sexuality and spirituality. We share with all Christians the life-long struggle to unify all aspects of our lives, including our genital expression, under the reality of the Christian Gospel and the values to which that Gospel urges us — love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22). The development and growth of these values is a life-long endeavor; there is no point at which we stop and say that we have all the answers or that we have done all that we can.

We are not the only people who seek to integrate their genital expression with their lived Christian experience. Our brothers and sisters who are bisexual face a similar, if not more difficult, challenge of integration. Yet this challenge is shared by all the People of God — lesbian, gay, bisexual, and heterosexual. That shared challenge can be used as a means to end the segregation that exists among the People of God. It can help bring us together to become an expression of the true message of Christ — love in unity with each other and, through Christ, with God.

We must welcome into our communities all who seek this integration. In order to provide a context for integrating spirituality and sexuality and for promoting growth, we must root out from our midst whatever divides us. Racism, sexism, ageism, and any other ideology or practice that separates and alienates can have no place. We must learn to understand and respect ways that differ from our own. We cannot complain of societal and ecclesiastical oppression and then lay unnecessary burdens on one another. Furthermore, we must stand in solidarity with those who seek to eradicate all forms of injustice and oppression.

We meet together as Christians on the basis of our shared sexual identity, and so, in many of our communities, denominational boundaries have been transcended. Gay and lesbian Christians from different churches have been able to be together, respecting one another's traditions while acknowledging unity in faith and baptism. We must deepen this unity in fidelity to the Spirit of the Gospel.

We will continue to reach out to those who are alienated from the Church. We feel a responsibility toward those who have shared the faith and love of Christ but who no longer walk with us. We must show them understanding and compassion and the love of a God who cares too deeply ever to let go. We grieve especially for those who despair of God's love because they have not felt Christians' love and for those who have died without the Eucharist because they felt excluded from the Church.

We must reach out to those who cannot understand why we remain part of a faith community that seems to have no room for us. We must speak to them the Gospel message and show that the Church's truth is greater than its error. We have a special responsibility to lesbians and gays, believers or not, who, in whatever way, show in their persons the suffering Christ, especially those with AIDS. God's love for them must be evident in our concern and compassion.

Finally, we seek integration within our Church as Christ's gay and lesbian disciples. We offer forgiveness to those who have misjudged and hurt us, and we ask forgiveness of those whom we have hurt. As Church we commit ourselves to maintaining and strengthening the bonds of communion that unite us with all disciples of the Risen Savior. If we are united and live in peace, the God of love and peace will be with us (see 2 Corinthians 13:11).