by the Rt. Rev. Jack Spong
at the 126th Convention of the Diocese of Newark
January 28, 2000
The Bishop's Cross
The Bishop's Cross is the highest honor this diocese can convey to its leadership people, both clergy and laity. In its history this award have been given only eight times and the name of every recipient is a household word in diocesan circles. The Bishop's Cross is presented not for a single activity, but for service to this diocese over a significant number of years and in a variety of ways. Today it is my privilege to present the Ninth Bishop's Cross and the one which will be the last presentation in my Episcopal career. I am particularly pleased that this honoree will share this moment in my life.
I would like the recipient to stand when the name is announced and to
remain standing while the citation is read.
Louie Crew moved to this diocese only eleven years ago after a lifetime of service to this Church in other places. But in the eleven years that he has been in this diocese he has exercised a tremendous leadership.
Louie Crew was born in the deep South in 1936. He received his B.A. degree from Baylor University, a Southern Baptist School in Texas, his M.A. in 1959 from Auburn and his PhD from the University of Alabama in 1971. His dissertation was entitled "Dickens' Use of Language for Protest." In his career Louie Crew has taught in England, Hong Kong, and China, as well as at colleges in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Chicago in this country. Since 1989 he has been a professor at Rutgers, Newark.
His publishing activity is voluminous, from article to essays, from poetry to full length books. He has been recognized nationally by having a scholarship bearing his name established at Episcopal Divinity School and that institution has also conferred upon him an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree. He has lived with his partner, Ernest Clay, in a relationship of love, mutuality and life commitment for 26 years.
Dr. Crew is a member of Grace Church in Newark and has served his parish as a member of the vestry, a deputy to diocesan convention and as a member of the rector search committee. In his diocesan life he as been a member of the Companion Diocese Committee with Hong Kong, a member and chair of the Task Force on Electronic Technology, a member and secretary of the Standing Committee, a member of the Cathedral Chapter, a member of the Task Force on Minority Vendors, a member of the Resolutions Committee, a member and secretary of the Bishop Coadjutor Nominating Committee, a member of the Diocesan Council, the Diocesan Historiographer, a member of the Oasis Board, Co-Chair of the Oasis Search Committee, and a member of the Task Force on Episcopal Identity.
There are other things which would be too long to list, but clearly Louie Crew has been at the center of leadership in this diocese. This Convention has elected him on three occasions to represent us as a deputy to General Convention. In that national assembly he has served as secretary of the Committee on Social and Urban Affairs. He will chair our diocesan delegation to the General Convention next summer in Denver by virtue of having received the largest number of votes of any nominee.
He also has served the National Church as an appointed member of the Standing Commission on Health and Human Affairs, a commission that deals with all the hot button issues from abortion to genetic engineering to all questions regarding human sexuality.
But no recitation of Louie's achievements would be complete without referring to the one accomplishment that may well be his most lasting contribution to the life of the Episcopal Church.
In 1974 Louie Crew founded the National Organization for gay and lesbian Episcopalians known as Integrity. Today Integrity has chapters all over this nation and in Canada. He has committee his enormous energy to improving the quality of the Church's life by seeing to it that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people are not invisible, marginalized or rejected. I doubt it there have been many members of our Church in the entire 20th century who have had the influence on this Church that Louie Crew has had. He is known throughout this Communion. He is feared by some, loved by man more and admired by friend and foe alike.
We feel a particular pride that he represents this diocese everywhere he goes, and I take delight when he has risen to defend the one he describes so affectionately as "my Bishop." Louie, I can think of no one who is more deserving than you are of this award that I present to you this day, and nothing could make me prouder than for my last official act as Bishop of the Diocese of Newark to be that of presenting to you The Bishop's Cross in recognition of your outstanding services to the Diocese of Newark, The National Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion, and the whole human family.
--The Rt. Rev. John Shelby Spong, Bishop of Newark