Integrity USA appoints new executive director, reveals expansion plan

August 11, 2010

Integrity USA announced Aug. 12 the selection of W.R. "Max" Niedzwiecki as its new executive director in an e-mail message sent to members, partners and friends.

Niedzwiecki, 43, a longstanding social justice advocate and builder of national network organizations, told ENS in an Aug. 11 telephone interview that the grassroots organization dedicated to the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Episcopal Church is also undergoing an organizational restructuring.

One goal is to expand from its current 57 chapters to one in each of the 109 dioceses of the Episcopal Church, he said.

"After General Convention 2009 the board adopted a new structure that centers on diocesan organizers. We intend to have a chapter in every diocese of the Episcopal Church and to have one coordinator per province, as well," he said.

Additional efforts will be made to disseminate information at the parish level, "to make sure that the information, passion, the voices of people in parishes and dioceses and provinces come up to the national level," he added.

"We will really focus on integrating our organization from the smallest parish anywhere in the country to General Convention."

Emphasis will also be placed on helping "people throughout the Episcopal Church raise their voice for equality in the wider society," he said. He cited as examples: creating welcoming environments in individual churches, and marriage equality and ensuring appropriate implementation of General Convention 2009 decisions concerning same-gender blessing and equal access to positions of authority.

Ongoing "Believe Out Loud" advanced leadership training for the Welcoming Church Movement will be part of those efforts, he added. A Believe Out Loud "power summit" is planned for Oct. 9-11 in Orlando, Florida; provincial trainings are also set for Austin, Texas;London, Ohio; and Denver, Colorado.

Integrity USA will also continue to support the ministry of retired Ugandan bishop Christopher Senyonjo and Integrity Uganda as much as possible, added Niedzwiecki.

Prior to beginning his new role Aug. 5, Niedzwiecki was a partner in the Daylight Consulting Group, which works with nonprofit and philanthropic organizations to improve performance. He has also served as executive director of several advocacy agencies, including the Rights Working Group, a coalition of more than 250 organizations dedicated to protecting civil liberties and human rights for all.

Niedzwiecki holds a doctorate in cultural anthropology from Boston University and a bachelor's degree in clinical psychology and Asian studies from Tufts University. He lives in New Orleans with his partner of 22 years.

"He brings to the position a professional background that is replete with successes in leadership of national membership organizations," said the Rev. David Norgard, Integrity's president, in the e-mail.

"Over the next few months, Max's priority is to begin to get acquainted with the great company of people who are the true strength of our organization -- chapter convenors and diocesan organizers, lifetime members and representatives of allied organizations, past presidents and new Proud Parish Partners, major benefactors and first-time donors. As occasions arise, I urge you to take the opportunity to meet or talk with him and offer your own perspective on this ministry we share. I know he will appreciate it," he continued.

John Clinton Bradley, who has served as acting executive director for the past two years, will continue on the staff, Norgard said.

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