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Does the Episcopal Church Welcome Lesbian and Gay People?

I have learned that 12 states prohibit recording calls without the knowledge
of the one called.  That is not the law in New Jersey, but obviously the law
would apply to calls made into states that forbid such recording.

Once I learned the law, my report was removed.  That is why you cannot find
it anywhere now.

I disagree with the law, but did not, and will not, knowingly disobey it.

I believe that the law conflicts with freedom of the press by forcing
investigative journalists to _describe_ what they hear rather than to allow
the rest of us to hear what they hear.  I do not trust my own interpretation
of what I heard in many of the responses when I called. That is part of what
makes them so intriguing.

The entire point of this exercise was to obtain candid evidence of what a
gay person actually hears across TEC.  I asked whether lesbians and gays are
welcome at one parish in each of 100 dioceses, each a parish of a deputy.

I never deceived anyone.  When asked who I was, I always told, but I
volunteered that information only twice, each for a person that I felt would
recognize my voice.  Most never asked.

I was not concerned with reactions to me personally and wanted to minimize
any influence my personhood might have.  For almost all of them, I was a
person who might be calling locally.

Church telephones are not private.  Those who answer them do not pay the
phone bill.  They answer on behalf of an institution that enjoys enormous
advantages by virtue of offering services to the community. For more than 40
years the Episcopal Church has advertised, "The Episcopal Church Welcomes
You."  It seems a worthy goal of any journalist to test that welcome.

As I said in my recorded introduction to the series, all of us are called to
prophesy, and I urged others to call parishes with similar questions:  "Are
undocumented aliens welcome in this parish? Are the poor welcome in this
parish?  Are the homeless welcome in this parish?  Are the divorced welcome
in this parish?...."

Those who answer church phones bear an awesome responsibility.  Often they
are the only contact that a needy inquirer might have, and they are called
to manifest Christ's welcome to absolutely everybody -- regardless of any
theological differences.

In this particular series, I was moved by how clearly at least 90 percent of
the respondents did welcome me.  Many from varying "sides" of the issues
managed to respond to a person.  Some of the clearest statements of welcome
came from custodial and kitchen staff who happened to be near the phones.

I was also moved by the occasional anguished candor. I appreciated the
willingness of some to tell me about clear limits to the welcome.

But these are only my interpretations. No others will be now able to hear
the evidence and draw their own conclusions.  The series might have made a
marvelous exercise for a seminary class or a parish ministry team to hear as
a prompt to strategies for evangelism.

Joy anyway!


Louie Crew, L1 Nwk, Member of Executive Council
377 S. Harrison St., 12D, East Orange, NJ 07018-1225. 973-395-1068
http://newark.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/queers.html Queers!  For Christ's Sake!

From: EMKaeton@aol.com [mailto:EMKaeton@aol.com] Sent: Friday, May 19, 2006
9:06 AM
To: BishopsDeputies@hobd.org; INTEGNEWS-L@LISTSERV.AMERICAN.EDU;
Subject: Does the Episcopal Church Welcome Lesbian and Gay People?

Does the Episcopal Church Welcome Lesbian and Gay people?

Does YOUR church?

Want to know?

Louie Crew asked his computer to randomly choose 100 Episcopal Churches and
then called them to ask.  He also asked his respondents: "Would gays and
lesbians be elected to Vestry or allowed to perform in any other leadership

The audio files on the CD are now fully online at
-- together with a list of the parishes/diocese in each track.

Give a listen and discover what he found.

Check out the parish listing and see if YOUR church, and the voice of YOUR
parish administrator, volunteer or clergy is recorded.

Make a guess as to what you suspect will be the response of a particular
church in a particular area and then see if you are correct.

It's fascinating.

(Brought to you from the one man in the entire Anglican Communion who gets
very little sleep but is rarely bored.)

Elizabeth +
(the Rev'd) Elizabeth Kaeton
The Episcopal Church of St. Paul
200 Main Street
Chatham, NJ 07928
(973) 635 8085
www.stpaulschatham.org "Come. Grow. Celebrate."


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