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Obituary: The Rev. James R. Crowder, justice advocate

Obituary: The Rev. James R. Crowder, justice advocate

The Rev. James R. Crowder, an outspoken advocate for racial justice, has died at the age of 87.

The Baltimore Sun:

Called to the ministry, he entered Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, from which he earned a master’s degree in 1959 in divinity and was ordained an Episcopal priest.

Mr. Crowder returned to Mississippi and was appointed an assistant at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Meridian, where he became a ”point person for busing organizers from Atlanta to Jackson, Mississippi, in an effort to register Black voters,” his wife said.

…“The Crowder phone was regularly tapped, and when you picked it up, you could hear a series of clicks, and there were death threats,” Mrs. Crowder recalled. “It was the Episcopal bishop of Mississippi who told Jim to get out or he would be killed, leaving a young widow with two children. He needed to get out.”

And on women’s ordination:

While in New England, he chaired the Crowder Commission, which reorganized the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut and hired one of its first ordained women priests.

And he co-authored a 1992 Diocese of Maryland report on human sexuality.

Photo: Handout.

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William Andre Trevathan

Thanks to Episcopal Cafe for preserving and sharing reminders that there have been clerical leaders in the Episcopal Church who have denounced systemic injustice and announced the coming of the peaceable communities. The seeming lack of and/or inaccessibility to national and diocesan archives is not only unhistoric but promotes a mindset that “the Church” supports and speaks only to the powers that be.

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