Integrity USA

St. Aelred Sermon Contest Winner Announced

Heather OBrien - Head ShotIntegrity is pleased to announce a winner in our St. Aelred’s Day Sermon Contest.  The Rev. Heather O'Brien (pictured) from the Diocese of Ft. Worth was recognized for her sermon, “The Heartbeat of God” which was preached at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in the city of Ft. Worth Texas on January 12th. 

The jury, which consisted of Integrity's founder, Dr. Louie Crew; our treasurer, Elisabeth Jacobs; and VP for National Affairs, the Rev. Jon Richardson; selected O’Brien's sermon due to not only its personal narrative, which ties closely to Integrity’s ongoing work of first-person engagement, but its ability to relate our mission to both the Gospel and St. Aelred’s teachings about “particular friends” which led us to adopt him as the patron of our organization.

Heather-OBrien---preachingIn the sermon, O’Brien -- who was ordained in October of 2012 -- shares a childhood story of encountering homophobia among family members as a spiritual awakening which led her on a quest for “the God I knew had to exist... who loved as much as I was told God would love.” She cites Aelred’s writings about the trusting, physically intimate expression of friendship between Jesus and the apostle John as a celebration of how we, yes even people of the same gender, can find the love of God in one another.

Integrity offers its profound gratitude to each participant in the contest.  We encourage all of our chapters and congregational partners to use the feast day as an opportunity to offer witness in your community about the work of inclusion.

Read “The Heartbeat of God” by clicking here.