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They Say the 'Other Bishop' Does Practice What He Preaches

May 09, 1999

It has been my privilege to know Episcopal Bishop Fred Borsch through social justice work in which we are both involved ("The Other Bishop," by Larry B. Stammer, April 11). He consistently exemplifies Christ's compassion, particularly for the poor.

Vicki Tamoush

Tujunga

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Four years ago on a bright June morning, I waited impatiently for the bell to ring out at the Chapel of St. Francis in Atwater Village. It was to be my first sight of Bishop Fred. We are a small inner-city mission led by a vibrant priest whom we fondly call Mother Toni. She welcomes all baptized Christians who believe Jesus is our Saviour. Consequently, we are a microcosm of the Diocese of Los Angeles. As I looked at friends and acquaintances, I was aware that we are WASPs, African Americans, Hispanics, Filipinos, Chinese, Japanese, lesbians and gays.

After the Eucharist that Sunday, the good bishop sat in our tree-shaded courtyard posing with the children, their delighted faces reflecting many ethnic traditions. The image I like to remember is of a hefty 2-year-old on the prelate's lap chewing on the gold pectoral cross. Bishop Fred beamed.

Phillip D. Robb

Hollywood

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As a gay man and an Episcopalian who has had the privilege and the pleasure of knowing Bishop Borsch personally for the last five years, I was pleased to see the Los Angeles Times Magazine's coverage of this remarkable Christian.

Borsch has always shown a simplicity of manner, a grace and an apostolic witness that have made it an honor to be in his company. To know that our bishop is willing to stand up and be counted on the thorny issue of the place of lesbians and gay men in the church is particularly reassuring to members of my parish, St. Thomas the Apostle in Hollywood, which has a substantial number of gay and lesbian members.

The great test of the Episcopal Church in the coming generation may well be twofold; not only is the Diocese of Los Angeles called to minister to what Stammer's article rightly calls the most diverse group in the Anglican Communion, but it is also called to transcend the prejudices it has entertained against the participation of gays and lesbians in the church.

Paul S. Marchand

Palm Springs

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My companion and I and our son recently became members of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena. The love and respect that Bishop Borsch and the rector have shown to my family and the gay and lesbian community have sometimes been overwhelming. I have never felt the power of God and His love so strongly. I have finally reclaimed my right to be a Christian that the fudamentalists stole from me as a youth.

Mark Satterlee-Turcios

Los Angeles

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Fred Borsch is a warm, caring and sensitive man. But as a Christian he is a sellout. He is trading his calling to stand for the God of the Bible in exchange for 15 minutes of fame. Don't leaders like Borsch ever ask themselves why, for the last two decades, as the mainline Protestant churches have strived to "go with the flow" of an overly sexualized society, their membership has steadily declined? And why those churches that uphold the traditional teaching of the Bible (evangelical Protestant and Roman Catholic) are actually attracting members in massive numbers?

Larry A. Carstens

North Hollywood

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