At this General Convention I am not on a committee. While I’d love to serve the convention in this way, there is a great deal of freedom that comes along with not being on a committee. Not being on a committee means that I can travel from committee to committee to listen to hearings and testify to various resolutions. This afternoon I attended the hearing for committee 10 – Social and Urban Affairs. One of the resolutions that was heard was resolution D022 (Churchwide Responce to Bullying). I’ve spent lots of time talking and learning about bullying. In my elementary and middle school days I was bullied and in elementary school I bullied others. What follows is one of the best testimonies that I’ve heard around the importance of the role of the Church in standing up for bullying.
Hello. My name is David Karpf and I am a member of the official youth presence and from the Diocese of Connecticut. It comes to no surprise to anyone here that I am gay. I am 16. My freshman year was one of the worst years of my life. I got death threats. People threw rotten fruit at me. Can you imagine walking to spanish class and having someone throw a rotten apple core at you? I tried to kill myself twice. I used to cut. But, church was a safe place. There I could be me. And that’s why D022 is so important. I still fear for my life. I walk down the street and hear insults yelled at me through dark, tinted windows of big SUVs. I am afraid for my life. But, the Church is my home, my safe space. D022 gives others the opportunity to find a safe, welcoming home.
To what David so eloquently said, let the Church say “Amen.”
I want to say a bit about David. I first met David last summer at the Episcopal Youth Event. He and I attended a workshop together, in the conversation during that workshop I was blown away by David’s witness, passion, and articulation. He is a wonderful example of the importance of the ministry of youth in the Church. David has found his voice and I hope all of us will listen to his powerful message.
For many of us the Church is our safe haven. Resolution D022 helps aid those working with youth, young adults, and all people tools they need to minister to those who bully and those who have been bullied.