Estimado Justin Welby, Bishop of Durham, Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury designate,
Onward we go. Yes we do. You do and I do. Forward we go by opening our minds/spirits and receiving, adjusting to one another and by being willing to grow into the greatest and newest discoveries amongst Gods constant revelations. What a challenge for mutual discernment we have before your enthronement March, 2013. Saint Augustine pray for us.
Bishop Justin Welby, are you willing to change?
Thankfully, I´ve arrived at some understanding of Gods will for me, and for some other Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people like me after a lifetime of trying to figure ¨God¨ out! I'm especially glad to share the God of my understanding with you today. You seem like a spiritually healthy soul to me and I trust the Crown Nominations Commission has not let me/us down after submitting your nomination to the Prime Minister and the Queen for approval as our next Archbishop of Canterbury.
I just watched an interview featuring you from Lambeth Palace on CNN International. It's nice to meet you, Bishop. Please come right in and have a seat in my home at the Foot of the Volcano in Guatemala, Central America.
There is a pressing personal matter that I'd like to discuss with you before you officially become another first amongst equals at The Anglican Communion.
I am 69 years old. I am a retired ¨Americano¨ and I am an active artist/painter, and a ¨Gay¨ (as opposed to Heterosexual) member of The Episcopal Church/Anglican Communion. I live in Central America and I am also a resident of Florida, U.S.A.. There you have it, the basics about me, or at least, it's a start:
I was born in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. I was born to heterosexual parents who loved one another until death when they did part. I have an older sister and we had a Cocker Spaniel named ¨Taffy¨ while growing up. We were a middle class family. We had a nice home with a lovely garden and the world shined and sparkled around us. We were a fortunate family in many ways. I knew it then and I know it now. Thanks be to God.
I was different even as a child into adulthood. I knew I was different but I lived with my ¨sexual orientation¨ secret, because, afterall, I agreed with people who said there could be something wrong with me/people like me. I felt shame, I felt guilt! I felt alone/different and I didn't even know why I was different or why God made me into being the way I was. It didn't make sense. I didn't make sense even to me as I grew up.
Best to pretend *things* were different than they really were in my very own customized/isolated reality. Onward.
Oddly, I was a very outgoing kid and young adult. My happy nature prevented me from being a cowardly and timid member of society. I was thrilled to be alive, that is, I was mostly thrilled to be me (except for a not-as-big-as-I-thought-it-to-be-secret that was eating away inside of me as I bit my fingernails). Inferiority? How could this be? I was a lively, healthy, creative, playful, loved/loving one of Gods beings (except I loathed me)?
Best to drink and make that part go away! Best it go away for the moment, for the evening or until another day. My difference faded when I drank them away. Presto, gone. Many enchanted evenings and a decade+ passed on as I tried to make *things* different than they were.
I drank alcoholicly from 18 years old until age 35. I was a success in my personal life but I loathed the innermost me. At age 35 I couldn´t hide anymore, there was no place left to hide from the homosexual shame inside of me. I was at the dropping off place and I wanted to die! I couldn´t pretend anymore. That is, I wanted to die but then I´d be dead. I didn't want to be dead! I just wanted to die or find out how to live. I prayed to God (with drunken pleading) to ¨take this away from me.¨ God did. The alcoholism that is.
So, from age 35 right up until this momento I've been relieved of my active alcoholism. I've not been relieved of being the authentic me. The biggest, and best, lesson I´ve learned in sobriety was/is that God wanted me to be me...in all my affairs. Not just sometimes. Not cowardly! Not just when it was convenient/safe. Not just when I was on the otherside of the need to tell you, in the church and beyond, what I thought you/they, we wanted to hear. I'm called to always to be me. Now that's a challenge. Personal authenticity! Imagine, being selfaccountable in my reality in front of you and everyone else on a regular basis! My shrinking away into someone else days/daze were over at last! Freedom at last! I got to be the whole person that I was born to be. Thanks be to God. Enter personal responsibility!
Bishop Justin Welby. It's time for you to step up to and address one of the greatest ¨religious¨ issues/crimes of our time. It's up to you to lead the Church of England/Anglican Communion by helping to introduce everyday reality, equality and mutual-accountability at Church. It's time for you and others to stop playing pretend that you are different than me (and Anglican people like me). The thinking/beliving must be reviewed that you are somehow more honorable than me and other Anglicans like me and our LGBT clergy. It´s your chance to HELP LGBT Anglicans at home and abroad by demonstrating your personal integrity and the open mindedness you wish to have. You pray to have. You ought not look the otherway when Anglicans like David Kato are murdered in Uganda nor when a innocent is beaten to death in Liverpool (while the Lambeth Conference is in session with no mention) or while preaching in LGBT bloodrenched Jamaica during the ACC meeting... and/or when Anglican Bishop Christopher Ssenyonjo is ex-communicated for ministering to the marginalized/suicidal LGBT Ugandans! Speak up against viciousness within the Anglican Communion. Anglican and MP David Bahati is currently promoting his ¨Kill all the Gays¨ legislation again at the Parliament of Uganda. Please don't play pretend, Bishop. Lifetimes of evil directed against LGBT Christians will not go away just because you are ¨holding open the possibility of changing your mind!¨
It's time for you to stand tall as our next Archbishop of Canterbury. It's time for you to cry out to God and ask God to help you/us find your/our way away from the active discrimination and the practicing of difference, fear and hate against LGBT Christians at the Church of England and various deadly outposts of Christianlike ministry at the Anglican Communion.
Very truly yours,
Leonard Clark aka Leonardo Ricardo
Here are two notes I received today. I'm forwarding them to you and they are from a former Anglicana in Central America:
¨ I think I should have told the BBC that the Church of England should learn from the Republican Party in the U.S. They moved so far to the conservative side that they lost the election.
The Church is not living in the present, and the members of the church are voting with their feet, walking out. There is a price to pay. You would think I wouldn't be so mad considering I left the church over 10 years ago, but it still resonates.¨
About the note to the BBC:
¨I just read on BBC that a new Archbishop is being ordained. But it looks like same old, same old in his views on homosexuality and gay marriage. I wrote a comment, and after i sent it it said they would use my name, but not my email should they decide to publish it. No big deal, but didn't like the fact that the information was given only after the message was submitted. My comment was something like "it's disappointing that the new Archbishop of Canterbusy hasn't changed his views on homosexuality and gay marriage. When will the Church start living in the present, or at least show compassion for homosexuals. I am 75 years old, not gay, and I have left the Church." I would word it differently now, but it's gone.¨ Love you