Nov 9, 2012

SHALL WE STAY OR FALL AWAY? ¨...hold open the possibility of changing my mind¨ The Rt. Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, designate

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 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

Bishop Justin,

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



David said...

having just finished reading your powerful post, i'm sharing dear Laura's tears, though in my case, as a 64yo gay Anglican they're tear's of profound gratitude, once again for your passionate articulate witness.

my sense is that our Church is entering a profound turning point when they- the official body will have to choose between perpetuating the irrelevancy of their self-generated 'power' and 'authority,' or living like the rest of us into the primary sacrament of 'everyday' Life itself, leaving themselves open to letting the Holy Spirit have her way with them and the Church.

you write: 'It's time for you to step up to and address one of the greatest ¨religious¨ issues/crimes of our time.' your words only confirm my sense, so thank you once again Len.

deep gratitude- merci


Leonard Clark said...

Thank you, David!

David said...

hey Len:
I don't know if you can expect to hear from him, but i've just emailed Justin with the link to your powerful letter (see below). my action is equal parts conviction that your letter must be read, and pain over Jonathan's account of Justin's ducking out on Jonathan's request for help.
stay strong, my brother


David@Montreal Ore

8:27 PM (3 minutes ago)

to bishop.of.durh.

dear +Justin Welby:

I write, not only as a fellow Anglican (Canada) but as a gay Anglican who has personally known the spiritual and physical costs of living into my vocation as a gay Anglican.

As a person of faith and hope, I welcome the news of your appointment, and in the months and weeks ahead, i hereby covenant to uphold you in prayer- one among millions of LGBTI Anglicans throughout the world looking to your occupany in the Chair of St. Augustine as a sign of hope, an opportunity for healing and reconciliation, and a new day in our vocation to be the living Body of Christ in the world.

Tonight, I would share with you a powerful letter addressed to you by one of the giants in our Church- a talented artist, a passionate, articulate life-long Anglican, his name is Leonardo Ricardi. Len's letter to you can be found at


David Ore

Montreal, Canada

Laura Sykes said...

Dear, dear Leonardo
Your letter is touching everyone and has scored nearly 300 hits already. Apparently if you Google 'Open letter to Justin Welby', it leads straight to your post!

There are four comments, at least two of whom are not part of the LGBT community other than, like me, being part of the Body of Christ together. I thought you might like to respond to them?

I suspect that (Arch)bishop Justin is enough of a pragmatist that, if faced with pressure from LGBT and non-LGBT simultaneously, plus I have great hopes of his former boss, the Bishop of Liverpool (James Jones) he might give in.

Let us keep praying for that also!

Leonard Clark said...

Dear Laura,

Thank you for the good news regarding the reception of the letter...the letter to +Justin, soon to be Archbishop of Canterbury Justin.

I awoke this morning thinking about the letter, about you and about the comments that have been made both here and at your blog.

Your first contributor said that my letter ¨said it all¨ and I think, at least from my personal perspective, it did. The key to both understanding myself and my religion and other people in the Anglican World better seems to be the need to smash difference, perceived difference by speaking out. Knowing the difference between LGBT people and Heterosexuals is something that LGBT actually know about quite well. Whereas, Heterosexuals often/mostly operate with fear/hate and foreboding directed against LGBT Anglicans/Christians/others (and we are everywhere).

Since WE, LGBT people, are in the actual position of KNOWING OURSELVES and SERVIVING in our relationships with society, in our various cultures, we ARE in a position to speak clearly and honestly to you. You, our families, our friends, our coworkers and coworshippers. We, LGBT people are becomming more open about who we really are.

WE have been open and will increasingly become more open and MORE unwilling to play pretend with frightened heterosexuals at Church/beyond...the leveling off place is near but it seems clear to me that not until we, LGBT Anglicans/others, are allowed ¨to be¨ welcome/equal members at the body of Christ. can anyone expect comple HONESTY/REALITY to be achieved. The deadly sickness of homophobia (and it is), plain discrimination and active viciousness directed against/preached against LGBT Anglicans/others MUST STOP! It must stop now, or Archbishop Justin will simply muddle along in a world of make believe as he sidesteps truth in favor of a dishonest unity twisted into being with quirky sensibilities...he, like WE, must operate with full clarity and openness on the LGBT inclusive issues at all levels of Churchlife. If not, false witness, insincerity/scorn/worse (particularly in the dangerously arrogant provinces of the Anglican Communion who boldly announce/hold they own TRUTH and know God best) will continue to be OUR undoing.

Until WE become rightsized and honorable with one-another and able to genuinely/open-to LOVING ONE ANOTHER, the rest is a prancing sham of religious pretend and blemishes Gods will for us. THE Mission, first, above everything else, is to begin to LOVE ONE ANOTHER (honestly).

Words and hallow rituals/outcasting mean nothing until everyone becomes WILLING to accept LGBT human beings as WE really are and not keep making US into second class Christians and/or worse.

WE are sitting next to you at Church and we always have been. The Archbishop designate must start his ministry at home, in England, and begin to clean up the inhumane Anglican discrimnation/marginalizing crisis directed against LGBT Anglicans everywhere.

Leonardo Ricardo said...


Interesting. Today I received many visitors to this very old post...I just reread it and all the comments and I feel quite certain that Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury has NOT yet measured up to the challenge of being a full-fledged spiritual leader at the Anglican Communion. When he visited Guatemala a few years ago I observed he had darting eyes...I think I know why..the mans behavior so far makes him the ARCHOBSERVER at the Anglican Communion and this he'd rather duck any serious stuff regarding LGBTI Anglicans at all levels of be it, Justin, I get it aka I caught your act and it's quite a shifty performance to date.