Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Presiding Bishop" "No Outcasts"

Yesterday, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori offered a live webcast, which was co-produced by Trinity Church Wall Street and Episcopal Life Media. It is quite good. Here is part of her opening remarks:

...To those who argue from a perspective of justice that delay is immoral, I can only say that our ability to retain our connections within this church and around the Anglican Communion also continues our ability to advocate for the full dignity of gay and lesbian persons around the globe. It also means that our work toward the relief of human suffering, and to putting our gospel beliefs into action, has more possibility when we can work through the vast networks of the Communion than we can alone.

To those who argue that consideration of a change in our understanding of sexual ethics is inappropriate, I can only say that we have changed our understandings before, for example about divorce and remarriage, about contraception, and about polygamy. There is abundant reason to continue our theological exploration of this topic, and as our Anglican Communion visitors noted, it seems to be the vocation of the Episcopal Church to keep this matter before the rest of the Communion for discussion.

One of my predecessors was fond of saying, "in this church there will be no outcasts." I concur, and I challenge each one of us to consider who it is we would most like to be rid of. That person, my friends, is the image of Christ in our midst. There will be no outcasts in this church, whether because of sexual orientation or theological perspective. God has given us to each other, to love and to learn from each other. May God bless each and every part of this body.
Do watch the entire webcast. The question and answer segment will be of particular interest.

Regarding our previous discussion of the situation in Fort Worth, Bp. Katharine's comment can be paraphrased as:

Individuals leave the Church. If the leadership of a diocese leaves, they cease to be Episcopalians. It becomes the duty of my office and the remaining Episcopalians to reform in that place. We will tackle that issue if it shows itself.

I suspect that such a brief and vague answer was intentional. A similar short answer was given to the question of holding bishops accountable. Bp. Katharine mentioned a program now offered to new bishops called "Living Our Vows," which is intended to help our bishops more fully understand the nature of the promises they have made.

What did you find noteworthy in this webcast?


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