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Louie Crew
377 S. Harrison Street, 12D
East Orange, NJ 07018

Phone: 973-395-1068 h


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Louie & Ernest Clay-Crew
Married February 2, 1974


Louie Crew's Natter [BLOG]

Louie Crew's Natter [BLOG]

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RE: What would be lost if The Episcopal Church pulled out of the Anglican Communion?

In a couple of places I thought you might be thinking me to be
willing to yield our convictions or our polity as a way of staying in
the Anglican Communion.   I do not for a moment believe that.  For
example, you in Canada and we at the Executive Council in TEC chose
to attend the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in
Nottingham as observers, without seat or voice.  I spoke forcefully
against that decision before we made it in Executive Council.  Our
straw vote initially was one-third for going and keeping seat and
voice, one-third for not going at all, and one-third for going as
observers without seat of voice.  IN the real vote, people went for
the 'middle' of those three.  That proved itself to be a mistake: 
when we were out of the room, the primates seized that opportunity to
push for more power for themselves.   I completed my term on
Executive Council in 2006.  I doubt that Executive Council would vote
the same way again having been burned.
I believe that our two provinces should stand by our principles. 
Nothing in the constitution of the Anglican Consultative Council
gives authority to it, or to the primates, to require conformity. 
Unity is an important goal; conformity is not.  Jesus did not pray
that "you all may agree"!
We are a communion, not a church.  The Anglican Communion has no
curia.  We have always embraced comprehensiveness.  At this
historical juncture, it is especially important to be at the table to
argue for that position.  If we must leave the Communion, let our
adversaries do their own dirty work; force them to violate their own
constitution, which has no mechanism for removing a province, only a
mechanism for adding a province.
Nor am I trying to say that all networks would be impossible if we
cease to be  a part of the Anglican Communion.  I would rather stay
and work for what we can achieve in this one.  Any network will be
flawed.  I am not interested in church shopping.   I would prefer to
be as faithful as I can be with those of us who choose to remain in
this one.
While I understand your conclusion that the Communion networks are
not working, I think that conclusion is premature.  Our job is to
plant seeds, not to harvest them.  Almost all of us grow and change
our mind, but few of us require a Damascus Road conversion to be
prompted to do so.   I am amazed at the dozens who write me every
month telling them how I helped them change their minds of these very
issues, by something I wrote or said 10, 20, or 30 years ago, and
often I never knew these people.  Some whom I did know never seemed to
budge when we had these discussions which they now remember as
I agree with you that some of the flaws in our Communion deserve
urgent attention, especially in The Episcopal Church where we have
tended to send money, not people.  I was shocked at how few in the
Communion came personally to help following 9/11 or Katrina.   We in
TEC rarely let ourselves be vulnerable:  we too often portray
ourselves as the fixers, not as those in need.  Perhaps we have
ourselves to blame that with a few exceptions we had only a few nice
notes regarding these disasters.  (I expand this paragraph a bit
more in a new post in my Natter collection at "Why do so many in the
Anglican Communion hate the Episcopal Church?" at
https://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/natter/msg00118.html  Everything
I say in this regard is tentative, as I struggle to come to a better
Lastly, do not judge the effect of conversation by listening mainly
to the replies of the day or the month or even the year afterward.  
Have great expectations of those who are watching and listening and
for now, and maybe for a long time, saying nothing at all.  
The Episcopal Church as late at 1979 held views that are close to
those of Lambeth 1998.  If we could wait patiently for our own
province to come to new understandings, cannot we wait just as
patiently, persistently, and lovingly for provinces elsewhere to
reach new understanding?    Conversations are beginning locally all
over the world.   One of the reasons our adversaries are so frantic
about that (and do their best not to participate in them) is that
they know in their heart of hearts they cannot stop the changes
effected by conversations  --  if not  changes of minds, changes of
heart, our hearts.   It's much harder to make a scapegoat out
of someone you know as a person.   
Joy to you.  Whatever we decide about the Communion and whether we
want to be part of it, may we be stretched to see God's face in
those who most disagree with us.