Kim Byham, long-time Integrity (Episcopal) leader, was born in 1948 in Parkersburg, West Virginia, where he grew up as an active member of Trinity Episcopal Church. After college (Marietta College) and law school (New York University School of Law), Kim began practicing law in New York City and at age 23 was elected to his parish's vestry.
That same year Kim was married and from that ten-year marriage has come two children and six grandchildren. Kim was active in his profession and in the Episcopal Church, both at the parish and diocesan levels.
In 1978, Kim began finally coming to grips with his sexuality and by 1981 his marriage had ended and he started a new life. Due to the Spirit, however, his involvement with the Episcopal Church remained constant and he became a member of a predominately African-American and Afro-Caribbean parish in Manhattan, which he served as Vestry member and Warden.
In 1981, he became a member of Integrity, the then seven-year-old lesbian, gay (and later bisexual and transgendered) ministry of and to the Episcopal Church. He immediately became involved in leadership of the New York chapter. His first national responsibility was to organize a national convention held in 1984 at the General Theological Seminary in New York City. That work was more than amply compensated by meeting at that convention a young man from Michigan who was attending the conference. Scott Helsel and Kim have been together since and will celebrate their 30th anniversary in August, 2014. They were married in a ceremony in the United Church of Canada in St. Catherine’s, Ontario, in May, 2007.
Kim was made chief fund raiser of Integrity and a member of the Board in the fall of 1984 and served on the Board, with a minor interruption, in various roles through 1997. Kim was elected President of Integrity in 1987 and put the organization on a sound financial basis, helped assure there was gender parity on the Board, and visited chapters in the United States, Canada, and Australia. After stepping down as President in 1990, Kim became Director of Communication. He coordinated Integrity's efforts at the General Conventions of the Episcopal Church in 1988, 1991, 1994 and 1997. Kim was part of the four-person Integrity presence at the Lambeth Conference of worldwide Bishops of the Anglican Communion in 1998. He was awarded the second Louie Crew Award for Significant Service to Integrity, following Dr. Crew himself.
In addition to Integrity work, Kim has and continues to serve in a number of functions on the parish, diocesan and national levels of the Episcopal Church. After moving to New Jersey in 1988, and changing parishes/dioceses in 1990, Kim became Warden of his new parish and was elected to Diocesan Council of the Diocese of Newark (1992), Alternate or Deputy from the Diocese of Newark to General Conventions (1994, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2006, and 2009), the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Newark (1999 and 2003), the Nominating Committee for Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese (1997). Since retiring in 2008 Kim has again changed parish and diocese and served on the Episcopal Election Committee for the Diocese of New Jersey (2013) and as Alternate Deputy from that Diocese for the 2015 General Convention.
At the Episcopal General Convention, Kim has been the most prolific author of lesbian and gay focused legislation, authoring over thirty successful resolutions, including calling for equal treatment for same-sex partners by the Church Pension Fund, amending the canons of the Church to prohibit discrimination in membership or access to ordination because of sexual orientation, and an apology to the LGBT community for the history of oppression by the Episcopal Church.
In addition to General Convention activities, Kim has served the National Church on the Joint Standing Committee on Nominations and the Standing Commission on National Mission and Evangelism. In 2003, Kim was elected by Province II (dioceses in NY, NJ, the Virgin Islands, Europe, and Haiti) for a six-year term on the Executive Council of the Church, the 38-member body which governs the Episcopal Church between General Conventions. He has served from 2009 as the Chair of the Church’s Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility.
Kim served on the Steering Committee of Claiming the Blessing, the coalition which put forward the successful resolution supporting the blessing of same-sex relationships by the Church in 2003. He has served since 2012 as Coordinator of the Consultation, the coalition of all the progressive groups in the Episcopal Church, including Integrity, TransEpiscopal, Episcopal Urban Caucus, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Episcopal Women's Caucus, Union of Black Episcopalians, Episcopal Ecological Network, Episcopal Appalachian Ministries, Episcopal Network for Economic Justice and Episcopal Asiamerica Ministry Advocates. The Consultation, which has no precise parallel in other denominations, is widely credited with greatly assisting in the success of LGBT issues in the Episcopal Church.
(This biographical statement provided by Kim Byham.)
Biography Date: September, 2003