In the midst of such an historic week in which our freedom to marry has been upheld by SCOTUS, I thought it appropriate to seek out one of our community's spiritual leaders, Reverend Clinton Crawshaw, permanent senior pastor of the Metropolitan Church of the Coachella Valley.
The pro-marriage equality decision came down precisely one week before publication of this column, so the Reverend has clearly been with his congregation multiple times since. I asked, “How is your congregation feeling about these dramatic developments in our civil rights?”
“The decision of the Supreme Court enforcing marriage equality was transformative,” explained Revd Crawshaw. “To many of our members and congregants the fact that our relationships are being lifted up as something valuable – something that the nation wishes to enshrine in law and recognize as both a right, and a social good is almost unbelievable. To those of us who were brought up in the bad old days it is pure sweetness to read the majority opinion of Justice Anthony Kennedy, and just as sweet to hear the unequivocal words of President Obama in support of the decision.”
He continued, “For MCC’s founder, Rev Troy Perry, this is a special sort of victory. In 1968 he performed America’s first public same sex marriage, and in 1970 he sued California to recognize it. He and the church he founded has been fighting for this for decades, and continues the fight now in countries all over the world – not just for marriage equality, but for the right to life, healthcare and basic dignity It was a good week for America and a very good week for MCC!”
As his official bio expalins, “Revd Crawshaw was born in Woking, in the county of Surrey just to the southwest of London (UK) in 1970. He has two sisters, Natalie and Donna, and both parents, Alwyn and June Crawshaw are professional artists, broadcasters and authors.
He moved with his parents to Devonshire at age eleven, then to London at age 21, where he lived for many years in Islington. Revd Crawshaw went forward for ordination in The Church of England in 1997 after experiencing ‘The Glorious Vision’ at Holy Cross church, Cromer Street, London. He studied at St Steven's House, Oxford and was ordained by The Rt Revd Richard Chartres – The Lord Bishop of London at St Paul’s cathedral on Petertide 2002. He served as curate at St Alphage's church, Burnt Oak for 18 months, during which time he began to question the Anglican position on human nature, pastoral imperatives and its established status.
After much soul searching and a period of extended illness he transferred his credentials to MCC in 2006 (while remaining an Anglican priest, of valid but irregular orders!) and has worked as chaplain at Carl Bean House, an HIV hospice in South Central Los Angeles, and interim Pastor of The MCC Church in New Orleans, which he saw grow from a post Hurricane Katrina low of 11 members to a thriving congregation of 95 members.
In May 2011 he was called to serve the congregation of MCC of The Coachella Valley as intentional interim Specialist, and is privileged to have accompanied that church through a period of nurture and revival. In March 2013 he was invited to remain at MCCCV as permanent Senior Pastor.
He loves the wilderness, the mountains, the sea, Purcell and Croft, art – both great and small, the snow, and his three dogs.”
Clinton says, “PS I love you because…”
- You are amongst the most beautiful cities in the world – you are drowned in the paradoxical green of gardens and palms, surrounded by the vastness of the desert and encircled by operatic mountains. The sun setting on the Little San Bernardino Mtns to the east, and the snow on the high ranges to the West, the hummingbirds and plumerias, and the smell of the creosote bushes after rain. Beautiful…
- We can all be pretty much who we are, what we are, and pursue our dreams, passions and destinies here. Tolerance is a poor substitute for acceptance, and here we have even more than that. For the LGBT communities that live in Palm Springs this place is often the fulfillment of a dream and the end of a journey. I love Palm Springs for its oddness and for its broadness, its permissiveness and its occasional wildness!
- ‘I lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help…’ Psalm 121 is of great comfort and inspiration to me, and here it is made vivid in the magnificent backdrop of Mt San Jacinto. I love Palm Springs because of its mountain – its ever changing tone and colors, its coolness and its forests next to our summer furnace, the tramway and an easy escape from everyday life into something sublime and restful.
- Of your grand climate – the near world beating heat that sizzles your nose hairs and scorches your ankles, the hot wind that feels like a hairdryer on ‘high’ and the sheer unbelief that you feel when you walk out of the door or first sit in your car!
- You are convenient. This city has the glories of the wilderness adjacent to gay resorts and excellent restaurants, it is a world class destination and it is within a manageable drive to Los Angeles. Clamped onto the I10, I like to be able to imagine where that ribbon of asphalt and concrete could take me if I let it – all the way to Jacksonville if I wanted!
Reverend Crawshaw as photographed at his ordination 13 years ago this week (July 2002).
His bio also explains, “Revd Crawshaw is a strong believer in the need to reexamine and refresh the historic legacy of the Christian church for each generation, but emphatically not to abandon it, or to deny future generations their inheritance of faith.”
Thank you, Reverend Crawshaw, for your service!
Want to be featured in the “PS I love you because…” column?
To be considered, email me (Nicholas Snow, SnowbizNow@gmail.com) your top five answers (they can be short or long) to the statement, “PS I love you because…” and/or “PS I love you because I enjoy…”, along with two or three biographical paragraphs. Also, send some photos of things you love about the area including, ideally, you doing something you love in the area. Your submission does not guarantee publication. Thanks!