St. Peter and St. Paul, Martyrs
June 29, 2018
An Open Letter to The Right Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano
VIII Bishop of the Diocese of Long Island
Dear Bishop Provenzano,
I look forward to seeing you next week at General Convention to do the work of the Church. As you know, I will be volunteering as well as being a Clergy alternate.
I am sending this email to you to thank you for your efforts at trying to find the “via media” with your proposed resolutions in “Marriage for the Whole Church.” I find your work with the Bishops of Pittsburgh and Rhode Island as hope for Dioceses working together.
However, as one of your priests in the Diocese of Long Island in good standing, when I read the proposal, I felt like I, and the entire LGBTQAI Community, were just kicked in the stomach and then thrown under a bus. I believe your resolutions compromises core values which you have espoused. In your July 8, 2011, letter to the Diocese “A Theological Perspective and Practical Guideline on Marriage in the Diocese of Long Island as New York State Law Allows Same-Gender Marriage” which you mandated to be read at each service on August 7, 2011, you wrote, “The Gospel reveals in the words and actions of Jesus Christ the divine desire for unity: unity between individual persons, and the union of humanity with God. As in all else we do together as the Body of Christ, we are called today and in the future to continue to celebrate and live the sacramental nature of marriage as a gift of unity and a share in divine love.”
Your resolutions fall into the trap of separate yet unequal treatment of members of the LGBTQAI community – which is exactly what the Jim Crow Laws advocated. As the Supreme Court, our Congress, and our “Caesar” are moving more to the right and getting ready to reduce and eliminate many of the accomplishments of recognizing the dignity of every human being, I fear your compromise will simply play into the hands of “Jim Crow Episcopalians.”
Dear Bishop, in your ordination vows to the Episcopate you agreed to “follow him who came, not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Jesus was not afraid to stand-up to the Pharisees and Sadducees and their bastardization of Scripture. Please do not fall into this trap. We need the bishops now, more than ever, to stand fully behind Marriage Equality and against the hate and ignorance of society.
I would be more than happy to discuss this with you in Austin. I also wonder if you consulted any of your LGBTQAI clergy prior to producing these resolutions. Open communication is always a hallmark of healthy and civil debate.
I urge you to reconsider your resolutions and, instead, promote resolutions that advocate full equality.
I remain, your servant in Wantagh and Seaford,
Christopher D. Hofer+
VI Rector, The Church of St. Jude, Wantagh
Vicar, St. Michael and All Angels, Seaford