North Dakota church dedicates window commemorating LGBTQ ministry

April 11, 2017
Stained-glass window

The Integrity Window, or St. Aelred Window, was dedicated April 2 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Fargo, North Dakota. Photo: St. Stephen’s

[St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church press release] St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Fargo, North Dakota, dedicated and blessed a new stained-glass window on April 2 commemorating the congregation’s longtime LGBTQ ministry.

The Integrity Window (also known as the St. Aelred Window) was designed by St. Stephen’s parishioner and local artist Gin Templeton. Michael Orchard Studio of Fargo built and installed it.

St. Aelred of Rievaulx (1110-1167) is the patron saint of Integrity, the LGBTQ organization in the Episcopal Church. The window features an overarching rainbow, the Pride flag and a depiction of the St. Stephen’s Noah’s Ark float used each year in the Pride Parade.

The window also references the Baptismal Covenant of the Book of Common Prayer, with the message, “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people and respect with the dignity of every human being?” A verse from the book of Galatians also included. The window is dedicated in memory of “those who died trying to be their authentic selves.”

“Loving God, loving your neighbor as yourself, that’s really the basis for all Christian ministry as I see it, and I think that’s the basis for how we see GLBTQ inclusion,” the Rev. Jamie Parsley, priest-in-charge at St. Stephen’s, told local TV station KVLY-TV.

St. Stephen’s has a long history of being committed to gay and lesbian causes, and in 2015, it sought Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight in the Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota so the congregation could offer same-sex marriage rites. Bishop Carol Gallagher was appointed to provide that episcopal oversight of the congregation.

The congregation also was a trailblazer in the Diocese of North Dakota in including women in its leadership, clergy and liturgical ministries. It was the first congregation in the diocese to have female senior wardens and acolytes, and it was first to welcome a female priest. The congregation dedicated a window to these milestones in September.

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