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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: Seminaries

  • Subject: RE: Seminaries
  • From: Louie Crew <>
  • Date: Fri, 23 May 2008 14:07:41 -0400

No insult is intended.  I respect them as strong enough to face serious
discussion, even disagreement, without retreating into hurt feelings.

I have no doubt that I could be ministered to well, perhaps better, by some
who did not attend seminary.

Being ministered to well is not the primary reason for having a seminary.
Formal theological instruction of minds is.

I admit that for several decades seminaries have been under enormous
pressure from dioceses and from General Convention to become trade schools.
Some seminary graduates now leave delighted that they'll never have to do
anything like class work again.  Instead of disciplining themselves for life
to continue a schedule of formal intellectual growth, nurture, and
productivity, some gladly flush from their minds all except the few details
they will cull for tidbits in 10-15 minute sermons and notes to parish
bulletins for the next 4-5 decades.  Such priorities set them up to be
experts in violating the Third Commandment.

I can well understand how someone -- e.g., a physician who has become a
priest skipping seminary -- might well be more engaging and spiritually
nurturing than someone who used seminary graduation principally for

I do not want an intellectually alive priest to take up doctoring without
formal training, and I do not want a good physician to take up priesting as
a nice add-on or retirement opportunity.

The physician can minister to me, even as I often minister to others, as a
lay priest and apostle.   Ordination is not required.    Do some seek
ordination because otherwise the church will not take their lay priesthood
seriously?  Is it because we have convinced them that without a collar what
they have to say about God or what they do in God's name is of no value?

Our church has paid almost no attention to the lay order of priesthood, and
when some do notice it, a few rush to create a faux liturgy to make the
laity feel important.   From such deliver us!

Those who have had a real experience of Jesus, know that their ministry is
vital, is far bigger than they are, and requires no collar.   If you are
blessed, you also profoundly respect the orders of ministry to which you are
not called.

While I have not lived in the rural West, I lived a big chunk of my adult
life in the rural South without the care of seminary trained clergy.  For
many years those within a hundred miles wouldn't go near Ernest and me
except in the most guarded ways.  Two rural parishes and vestries seriously
discussed the possibility of my excommunication.

The church too often ignores the ministry of angels, except to paint them on
ceilings and insist that they stay there.  I have often entertained angels,
with and without collars, was often unaware at the time that they were
angels .  Particularly when we are isolated, God never abandons us.


Louie Crew, 377 S. Harrison St., 12d, East Orange, NJ 07018.  973-395-1068