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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


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RE: [HoB/D] Lesbian priest says she wants license to minister in ND (AP)

"******** wrote

> Louie, you have given us another great example of why conservatives are so
> concerned about current developments in our church's approach to
> sexuality.  For all the talk about diversity and via media and the
> willingness to have all at the table, it's clear that the goal is to have
> what's permitted locally today to be prescribed across the board tomorrow.
> It's not enough that bishops and diocese be allowed to bless and ordain
> priests in same-sex relationships; now it must be required to avoid the
> charge of bullying?

******, TEC changed the canons in 1994 to say that no bishop may use sexual
orientation as the reason not to give a license.  That canon did not specify
local option.  2009 will mark six General Conventions for which that canon
has been TEC's official position -- i.e., most of your adult life.  I'm
surprised that you would fault me for being innovative with it at this late

> I'm chilled to think that the bishop is accused of being a "bully"

******, I too would be chilled if I had accused Bishop Smith of being a
"bully."  That's a huge charge that I did not make.  I said:

> I have no doubt that Bishop Smith has canonical license to bully Gayle in
> this matter, but he has no such license as a Christian. I grieve that
> Gayle must yet take up her cross.

One act of bullying does not a bully make.  One becomes a bully only when
there is a consistent and sustained pattern of bullying.  I have heard no
evidence that is the case with Bishop Smith; nor did I suggest it.

> Bishop Smith hasn't ruled out that God might be doing a new thing, but
> neither does he desire to short-circuit our period of discernment.  He
> sounds open-minded but not yet confident in these new interpretations of
> same-sex relationships.

I share your presumption that Bishop Smith is "open-minded."  Here is a
draft that does not attempt to bully Dr. Baldwin and still expresses the
reservations you and I both want to allow Bishop Smith:

======= The letter that Bishop Smith still might write:

Dear Gayle Baldwin+,

You have asked me to license you to function as a priest in this diocese. I
am not able in good conscience to do so at this time, but I urge you to join
me in a period of mutual discernment, not only for our benefit, but also for
the benefit of those among whom we serve.

I do not know you or your partner, so I am certainly not in a position to
judge how God is at work in your life.  Might the two of you join Alisa and
me for dinner on XXXX XX?   Are you able to meet with me once or twice a
month for 4-6 months to talk in depth?

I acknowledge

o Many good Christians discerned in you a call to priesthood
o Your COM recommended you for candidacy, and your bishop ordained you
o Your scholarly articles, some of which I have read, reveal you to be
  passionately at work on a variety of gospel issues.
o I respect your courage:  for several years you have lived, at some
  risk to  yourselves in these parts, in a committed and monagamous
  relationship with another professor.
o The canons leave the final decision about licensing to the local
  bishop, and there is no automatic right thereto.
o The canons specifically forbid the local bishop to use 'sexual
  orientation' as the reason to deny a license.

Like many other Christians, the hard part for me is not your identity but
your being in a sexual relationship which I believe God does not approve.  I
admit I would find it even  harder to license you if I knew that you avoided
being in a relationship to gain my approval and at the same time had lesbian
sexual relationships outside of a commitment.

I hope that we can mutually inform each other's consciences so that we can
both be faithful to our convictions and still affirm the dignity and worth
of each other as clergy in the Episcopal Church.

We have much to talk about. We both bear responsibility in influencing the
formation of many people I look forward to sharing vulnerablity with you as
together we struggle to love each other as much as God, for Christ's sake,
loves both of us.

The Lord is Risen!

+Michael Smith

==== End of the letter that Bishop Smith might write