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

Phone: 973-395-1068 h


LGBT Christian
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Louie & Ernest Clay-Crew
Married February 2, 1974


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Re: [epdionwk] A new paradigm for ministry is urgently needed in TEC


Voluntary church organizations often experience much the same rise and 
decline in participation, but in large measure we can be resilient 
precisely because we don't have real estate. 

Admittedly, when Integrity/NYC died a few years ago, their collection of 
splendid hand-made vestments presented some problems for the attorney who 
oversaw the dissolution, but those problems were solved expeditiously with 
no real headache. No more than five years later, a new group with energy 
and vision formed another Integrity/NYC, which is thriving.

It was sad to see one chapter die; it was exhilerating to see 
resurrection. What a shame that bondage to real estate makes that cycle so 
much more difficult and protracted for congregations.

If Integrity/NYC had been a parish with similar decline, it would have 
taken years for the decline. Only when it had absolutely no assets left 
would the diocese be able to come in and take on the indebtedness, further 
jeopardizing support of congregations with skills and energy for mission 
but not for raising money.....

Integrity/NYC had no staff or rector, but clergy galore, many of them 
refreshed by being able to be out with one another and not scare the 
heteros whom they served tiredlessly during the rest of the time.

The early church had little property. Jesus had no place to lay his head. 
Was he a failure?

Korean Christians typically move into neighborhoods all over Northern New 
Jersey starting first with house church. The house church across from us 
when we lived in the north ward of Newark grew so large you could not find 
a parking place for half a mile. Only when they had the money base did 
they buy a 'proper' church building -- one which had been closed long ago 
by a Lutheran or Presbyterian congregation. They were driven first by 
mission, not by property.

Grace Church in Newark was founded in 1837 without a building. The 
congregants bought an old store and met there for eleven years before they 
hired Upjohn to design our current structure. At the beginning they were 
driven by mission, not by real estate.

We very much need to Gideonize the church, to strip ourselves of all but 
the most fundamental property constraints, and become materially lean, 
lapping our water while poised for the next move.

Clergy who will thrive in the next paradigm for ministry would be wise to 
train to be worker priests, as so many already are. Today a worker priest 
is often viewed as second-class by her/his peers, for not having 
'achieved' a sinecure. St. Paul would be a failure by today's professional 

We need to switch the way we revere clergy. At the moment we honor and pay 
best those with the most comfortable assignments. We need to honor and pay 
best (or at least fund best their missions) those who take on the toughest 
assignments. There still plenty of empty stores all across our diocese 
where innovative Christians can meet and interact with people, some of 
whom may never want to get near our 'proper' real estate. 

For a starter, look at what St. John's in Boonton is doing with "Light on 
Mainstreet." Go have coffee there and talk to folks. See 

For generations the Episcopal Church has treated lay folks not as 
disciples of Jesus but as clients of the Church. TEC pays only lip service 
to lay ministry, and acts as if the most important thing a lay person can 
do is to be a lector or usher or cross bearer. We make young people 
acolytes, but rarely let them preach or talk to us about their spiritual 
struggles and insights. Is it any wonder that so many of them never come 
back once they go off to college?

We need more than an ersatz liturgy to 'honor' lay Christians. 
Ordination-lite has no rightful place in the church. We need to get far 
more serious: we need to encourage and enable lay ministries, especially 
ministries in the world. We lay folk get into far more places than do 
clergy, and we have credibility that clergy sometimes lack when we act as 
disciples of Jesus in those places, because as lay people we are not being 
paid to do it.

Episopalians living in some of the areas already materially the leannest 
have much to teach us. Listen to Bishop Tom Ray (retired in Northern 
Michigan) talk about Mutual Ministry at 
https://admin.na3.acrobat.com/_a204712264/tom. It runs for about an hour 
and sixteen minutes. Don't visit unless you have at least another half 
hour for reflection afterwards. It may change your life. The interviewer 
is Chris Carr. The quality of the video is so-so; the quality of the 
content is outstanding.

Louie, lay priest after the order of Melchizedek

Louie Crew, 377 S. Harrison St., 12D, East Orange, NJ 07018
http://queereye4lectionary.blogspot.com/ Queer Eye for the Lectionary

We make his love too narrow
By false limits of our own
And we magnify his strictness
With zeal he will not own.

-- Frederick William Faber