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Re: Request for a List of Bishops Who Will Ordain Lesbigays
I get requests for such a list all the time, especially from people who
want to enter the ordination track. I advise them to look at bishops'
voting records as I have recorded them for each bishop at
More important, I advise them to contact lesbigays in the 3-4 dioceses
that most interest them to get the most current assessment of the bishop's
practice in each.
And at some point, the sooner the better, they need to write to any bishop
a very clear letter of inquiry.
If I were a bishop reading such a letter, I would not be impressed if the
person focused primarily on jeopardy as a lesbigay person. I would want
to know about the lesbigay identity as part of the whole vision for
ministry, especially in my diocese, and I would look particularly at
evidence of ministry already being done.
Our sexual orientation is integral to who we are but not definitive of who
we are. Each aspirant is a complex person, and any COM process needs to
be holistic. We already have on the books a canon that says that sexual
orientation is not a barrier to ACCESS to the ordination process.
Obviously an arch conservative will read that very differently from a
liberal. But even within those polarities, there are many anomalies that
might disappear if someone has made a public statement about the matter.
Several conservative dioceses now allow qualified lesbigays to be ordained
(and the bishop is not the only person who has to be convinced!) and
several liberal dioceses would have trouble approving lesbigays who are
I don't want to stomp on the kitchen floor while the yeast is working.
I like polls more than most people, but I will not be polling bishops with
the question that you raise. Public statements tend to get recorded (as I
have done in my reports on bishops) and then some people have difficulty
moving beyond their earlier statements.
Movement towards inclusion usually comes one importuner at a time, one
candidate at a time. We have strong evidence that more and more dioceses
are ordaining lesbigays who would not have thought they ever would a few
years ago. They are doing it not to be trendy, but as a response to the
evidence of God at work in the lives of lesbigays coming before them. I
expect that trend to continue, given the Holy Spirit's strong use of the
lesbigays coming before COMs -- not with a guarantee of approval, but with
an opportunity to manifest the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Lesbigays have no monopoly on those gifts. I am president of the Standing
Committee in a diocese that is certainly one of the 3-5 most open to
lesbigay ordinations and deployment. We have been blessed in having many
fine lesbigay candidates who come to us rather than their hostile home
dioceses. We also get more than our share of lesbigays whose calling we
I am reminded of the hoaky anecdote I heard as a freshman ministerial
student at Baylor in 1954. A young man presented himself to his pastor
saying that he had been called to preach. Baptists in those days still
honored their heritage of a strong belief in the priesthood of the
individual believer. The young man had had a vision, and he felt that no
Baptist could properly challenge his claim to a call. However, his pastor
knew many things about the young man that made him doubt his fitness.
"How do you know that you have been called?" he asked.
"I saw in the clouds 'CTP'; clearly it mean 'Called to Preach.'"
"Ah no," replied his pastor; "I have known many occasions when that meant
'Called to Plow.'"
May God give us discernment.
P.S. See my earlier "Advice to Lesbigay Aspirants" as published at
the Oasis site: http://www.dioceseofnewark.org/theoasis/lbgasp.htm
Louie Crew, 377 S. Harrison St., #12D, East Orange, NJ 07018-1225
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