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LS: Our Easter Letter to the HoB

In the light of events so far, I invite you to revisit the letter which
Fred and I wrote to all but the presenting bishops this spring.  The
advice which we gave to the bishops we now offer to ourselves. 

May God fill us with a sweet, sweet spirit.  There is no time like right


                                               Easter, 1998

Rt. Rev. fullname
ty2 See
City, state2 Zip

Gentle Bishop surname,

We invite you to join eighty-three other bishops--including the Primus of
Scotland and three of the last four Presiding Bishops of ECUSA: John
Hines, Edmond Browning, and Frank Griswold--in signing the irenic
<a href="../koinonia.html">Statement of Koinonia.</a> 

You are much in the prayers of gay and lesbian Anglicans the world over as
you prepare for Lambeth this summer.  We are sensitive to the hostility
that you will face from other parts of the Anglican Communion because of
the Episcopal Church's welcome of gay and lesbian people.  These are
precisely the times that Jesus bids us, Rejoice and be exceedingly glad. 
We urge your loving patience with those who passionately disagree with the
stand now taken by the Episcopal Church.  Such once were many of us. 

It is especially important that none of our discourse belittle or diminish
the faith statements of Christians in the Two-Thirds World.  Many of them
have not yet had the opportunity to observe the Christian witness of
lesbians and gays among them.  Seeing us as aliens from afar, some have
seized this occasion to heap upon us the same hostile judgments which the
Church has so freely given to them.  For example, only at the last Lambeth
Conference did bishops reverse over a century of unqualified condemnation
of polygamy.  Before 1988, ignoring the anguished and faithful requests of
Africans, the Anglican Communion demanded that any new convert who was a
polygamist abandon all but his first wife.  In practice most often the
other wives, typically younger, became destitute.  Many turned to
prostitution, often receiving as their major customer the new Christian
who had abandoned them. 

In much of the world, the Church encourages promiscuity in the gay and
lesbian community by supporting no alternative by which gay and lesbian
people may faithfully join in holy union.  Long before the Church can hope
to reach a consensus about what to call them or how to celebrate them
liturgically, it is important to call lesbian and gay Christians into
loving, committed, faithful, monogamous relationships.  Many in the
Two-Thirds World now misunderstand the Episcopal Church and think we are
blessing promiscuity, the only homosexuality that they have noticed. 
Understandably they are alarmed. 

Please also keep us in your prayers as we prepare for a different witness,
one similar to yours at Lambeth. As secretary of the Standing Commission
on Anglican and International Peace with Justice Concerns, in December
Louie will attend the World Council of Churches Jubilee Assembly in
Harare, Zimbabwe.  Zimbabwe bans homosexual acts and punishes them by
twelve months in prison.  Zimbabwes president, Robert Mugabe, has referred
to homosexuals as worse than dogs and pigs.  Louie has elected to stay not
among the other official Episcopal visitors in the hotels, but in the
University dormitories with pilgrims from the Two-Thirds World. 

     O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look 
     favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and 
     sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your 
     providence, carry out in tranquillity the plan of 
     salvation;  let the whole world see and know that things 
     which were cast down are being raised up, and things 
     which had grown old are being made new, and that all 
     things are being brought to their perfection by him 
     through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus 
     Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the 
     unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  



Louie Crew, Ph.D., Founder of Integrity

Fred Ellis, President of Integrity
921 Crowne Oaks Circle
Winston-Salem, NC 27106

1910-759-7929 h; 1910-744-6882 w

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