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

Phone: 973-395-1068 h


lcrew@andromeda.rutgers.edu

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Louie & Ernest Clay-Crew
Married February 2, 1974


12/21/1974
 
9/23/2009


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[HoB/D] This is very much a matter of stewardship




**** *******,

I agree with you that this is very much a matter of stewardship.  In
the post below, I wrote in 1996 to a gay person in your diocese to say
the same thing I am saying publicly on this list.  I am not impressed
when lgbt people vote with their tithes and offerings any more than I
am when straight Christians or dioceses do it.

You feel you have been violated.  Many gay and lesbian Episcopalians
feel they have been violated.  The money TEC and our dioceses ask us
to give is God's money, and if we vote with it, it is we who are
"using money as a politcal tool to manipulate and control the outcome
of the democratic process" (your poignant phrase).  That is indeed
wrong, as much when I or my "side" does it as when and when you or
your "side" does it.

Louie, L1 Newark 2009

Louie Crew, 377 S. Harrison St., 12D, E. Orange, NJ 07018 973-395-1068
http://www.gracechurchinnewark.org/  Home of "America the Beautiful"


                            A time for Candor

> From: Louie Crew To: TEC Quest et al.
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 1996 18:32:58 -0500 (EST)

Bishop John Howe and his diocese (Central Florida) are blackmailing the
Episcopal Church. With a strong arm they have said that if the Church does
not decide matters their way, they won't pay their dues. This is an
attempt to influence judicial process by threat of punishment.

The so-called Briarwood Group of 20, including three bishops, have also
used blackmail: we are the one righteous group of Anglicans and we will
undertake to organize economic war against any other group in the
Episcopal Church that will not be faithful as we alone define faithful.
The Briarwood folk too have spoken specifically in the context of
ecclesiastical court proceedings currently underway, in a clear effort to
try to influence those decisions with economic threats.

Blackmail is conduct unbecoming bishops and should be so named by General
Convention. I urge the House of Bishops to begin that process at its next
meeting.

A friend wrote recently:

> Louie,
>
> I love you dearly, but I must disagree with you strongly on this
> issue. I do not support organizations that have taken positions
> against me, such as Coors, Domino's Pizza, Target, and other such
> organizations that support the agenda of the Rediculous Reich. It is
> not blackmail. It is simply a choice of what my dollars will
> support.

I replied then as now:

I support your need to exercise your own conscience regarding
stewardship.

I do not personally see myself as the client of the church as I am of
the other organizations you mention. I AM the Church, not its client.
If I don't behave as the Church, many may never see Jesus.

The Church is not mine to command with my money. Nor is the church
ever to be made in the image of any one of its set of constitutents. I
am not merely buying pizza or a beer. I am on a pilgrimage with lots
and lots of difference among the pilgrims.

Nor has the Episcopal Church "taken positions against me" in the same
sense Coors and Dominos have. Even when officials of TEC have taken
hostile acts specifically opposed to me, I have presumed that they
have acted in good faith, trying to be faithful, even when they lacked
my particular understanding of faithfulness. I did not stop paying my
pledge when I was summoned for discipline by my bishop in 1976,
charged with disturbing the peace and good order of the church for
saying to the world that God loves me. I did not take stop paying my
pledge when that parish asked me to leave, nor when another later
discussed my possible excommunication.

Nor did I see myself as funding my oppression. When I give, I am
giving to God, and I give cheerfully, with no strings attached, either
to God, or to God's servants authorized in that place to determine how
to be stewards of everyone's gifts. My contributions are not a vote of
a stockholder: they are a gesture, however small, to give back from
the enormous bounty which I have received.

We in TEC are having this big struggle together as people largely
sincere on both sides, as to how to give to God and how to obey God. I
try desperately hard to respect the integrity of my opponent's motives
even as a growing number of persons who disagree with me have grown to
respect the integrity of my motives.

I do not possess the truth all by myself, and I certainly won't cut
out my stewardship of money or time or talent merely because people
ask me "to seek some other place to worship"--as one vestry once wrote
20 years ago next month [i.e., they wrote the letter in March 1976].
Three years later they repented of that statement and re-issued their
welcome. Then God sent me to yet another difficult vineyard. I had
never sought some other place to worship: I attended Sunday after
Sunday during that painful interval not at their invitation, but at
God's. And many, many of them grew to understand that.

Given your own point of view, I would not vote for you to serve on a
vestry of your cathedral parish in Orlando, nor, in fairness, do I
imagine that you would run for such an official position. In
respecting your choice, were I a voting member of that body, I would
conclude that you needed to accept some consequences that come along
along with your choice. Since you had exercised your vote with your
wallet, I would not approve giving you additional votes with the
wallets of others in that place.

That is what your bishop has done and what your diocese is doing.
While drawing their salaries from tithes and offerings of all people,
not just those who agree with them, they are saying that they want the
additional privileges of full and unencumbered membership in General
Convention, with the power to control how the tithes and offerings of
persons elsewhere are spent as well, and yet they are withholding
their fair share of responsibility for our common life.

Furthermore, they are are doing so in a move candidly connected to a
trial which they hope thereby to influence. That is blackmail.

As Jesus said of others who prayed loudly to show their righteousness,
"They have their reward!" All of it right here and now. That's not the
bargain of the faithful.

> A diocese has the sole right to determine what to do with its funds

You sound like you are speaking from the Southern Baptist or
Congregationalist polity of autonomous congregations: that is not an
episcopal understanding.

We are an Episcopal Church, not just independent dioceses. How the
Episcopal Church assesses funds from dioceses is an issue under
continuing re-evaluation each year; that the Episcopal Church may
assess funds is not an issue hitherto much in question.

How to deal with dioceses which don't pay their assessments is also an
issue under continuing re-evaluation. What is innovative in the case
of Central Florida, Texas, and the Briarwood Group is an effort
intentionally to punish the national church. That's a policy which, if
followed by all, would most certainly do away with any program worthy
of the name 'national.'  [Of course, TEC is not a 'national' province,
but an 'international' one. -- Louie in 2008]

Most dioceses, like my own, see the importance of supporting the
church in season and out of season, whether or not the powers that be
are running things according to our own vision. That is in large
measure a respect for the office and for the organization that
transcends our very real concerns about who occupies the office or
controls the organization at any one time.

Those who choose otherwise obviously have that right. They cannot have
it both ways, however. They cannot in fairness excercise credible
leadership in a body from which they have set themselves apart.

Lutibelle/Louie
House of Deputies





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