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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: Who WOULD Jesus Bury?

Regarding the fundamentalist mega-church in Texas that refused to conduct 
funeral services when it found out the deceased man was gay:

Am I missing something in this story?

I would not expect any church to bury me or someone dear to me if the one 
buried were not a member of that church.  I hope those dear to me will 
never seek to have my funeral at s church of which I was not a member.

Nor would I expect any organization (including my own parish) to suspend 
its own liturgy and let my family and friends write their own.  The BCP 
burial rite is quite fine for rich and poor alike.  If non-Episcopalians 
like it too, they are free to use it at funeral homes.

Would you want some fundelicals who were not even Episcopalians to bring 
their liturgy of judgment to a funeral for their lgbt family member from 
your own parish talking about how bad they were?  Fred Phelps tries to do 
that frequently, but usually the police keep him a decent distance away 
from the building and the mourners.

Again, maybe I am missing something, but if I am not, I hope the family in 
Texas will honor their dead by working to change attitudes within the 
church of their choice rather than taking cheap shots that distract the 


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


Follow-up on Sun. 8/19/2007 at 8:57

Thanks to several who online and off pointed out to me that the 
deceased's brother was a member of the Texas congregation.  I had 
missed that detail in reading the reports too fast.

I still have trouble with a concept that anyone has a "right" to a 
funeral at a church of which she or he is not a member.  I applaud 
churches who are generous in extending this ministry to those who seek 
it within the the church's own liturgy and faith tradition.

Some reports indicated that the Texas family had planned the service. 
I would not want even good Episcopalians to plan their own funeral 
liturgies to be used in an Episcopal parish.  We are a church of 
common prayer.

I am appalled by the prejudice of the Texas congregation, but I won't 
violate my other convictions in order to protest their prejudice.

Would not it be hypocritical for an anti-lgbt congregation to 
celebrate non-judgmentally the life of deceased lgbt person?  It seems 
to me that there are better ways to encourage reformation than trying 
to force people to violate their convictions?



Gay priest Michael Hampson points out that as the established church, 
the Church of England is required by law to do weddings and funerals 
for any citizen who requests them, whether or not those persons are 

"There is a saying that whenever two or three clergy are gathered 
together they will talk about funerals.  Many do over a hundred a 
year, all for strangers....  For the vast majority the faith and life 
of the church are irrelevant, and what is offered is often 
embarrassingly bad....

"Ask about their ministry and the catholic priest talks first about 
masses and those who attend them.  The free-church minister talks 
about membership rolls and activities.  The Church of England minister 
gives the population of the parish, and the number of weddings, 
christenings and funerals.  One of these three has taken the eye off 
the ball."

--from LAST RITES: The End of the Church of England, Granta Books, 
London, 2006, pp.21-23.  I highly recommend this book, especially for 
its insights about scores of matters unrelated to this quotation.


Follow-up on Sun. 8/19/2007 at 5:08 p.m.

[Someone in the group noted "the family claimed no right to use the 
facilities of that church, that the church could refuse to serve whomever 
it would. Members of the church offered them use of the facility and they 
accepted. Then parties unknown withdrew the invitation without notice or 

Thank you for these details.  I am still troubled by your account. Members 
of almost any church might offer someone use of the facility, but before I 
took it as an offer of the church, I would expect confirmation by the 
minister/priest known to be in charge.

"Parties unknown" clarifies nothing.

Suppose a member of Riverside Church or St. Barts were to say to a family 
member, even one employed there, 'Of course you can have access to the 
parish for a funeral for XXX, even though you plan to have Fred Phelps 
give a eulogy expressing your view that your family member got the death 
he deserved because he is gay.  We are an inclusive parish."

I do not want to hold the Texas congregation to a standard I am not 
willing to apply to yours or mine.


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