It's hard to know where to even start to celebrate the life of the inimitable Louie Crew Clay. Teacher, preacher, poet, mentor, friend, husband, son and prophet, Louie was quite literally an icon of the integrity he named the LGBTQ advocacy group he founded in 1974. He died peacefully on Thanksgiving Eve with Ernest -- his husband of nearly 45 years -- at his side and with a great cloud of witnesses surrounding him with prayers, love and light.
This montage is but the tip of the iceberg of photos representing untold hours, months and years of his life at work in the fields of the Lord -- striving for love, justice and compassion for the human family in general and for God's LGBTQ beloved in particular.
There will be many more stories to tell, many more tears to be shed and much more to be learned from the legacy of this extraordinary leader as we celebrate his life and mourn his passing from this realm to the next.
In this moment, Claiming the Blessing (CTB) simply joins with all of those throughout the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion -- and indeed the wider human family -- in marking the loss of this giant of justice. We give thanks for his commitment to the mantra "Joy Anyway" which inspired and invigorated the struggle for the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the work and witness of the Episcopal Church and beyond. And we pray for the strength, courage and wisdom to continue the work yet to be done to make that vision a reality.
A founding member of Claiming the Blessing, Louie was a seminal force in pulling together both individuals and organizations from around the church to form our collaborative ministry committed to "promoting wholeness in human relationships, abolishing prejudice and oppression, and healing the rift between sexuality and spirituality in the Church."
While that work is far from done, it is inarguable that Louie's inspiration, leadership and mentorship was a primary force in moving the Episcopal Church closer to that goal. We simply would not be where we are today without his vision, his courage and his grace-filled tenacity.
In 2015, CTB convener Susan Russell collaborated with Integrity USA to produce this video tribute to Louie's work and witness. Edited by Vic Vinson, it debuted at the Integrity Eucharist in Salt Lake City where Louie received the House of Deputies medal from President Gay Clark Jennings. We commend it to you.
Rest in peace and power, dear one. There is so much more love in the world because of you. May we be given the grace to be wise stewards of your legacy and ... as you would want it ... find "Joy Anyway" as we move forward into God's future.