Episcopal News Service reports that a group of Episcopal Bishops fanned out across Capitol Hill on Wednesday to make the case for health care and immigration reform, and stricter environmental protection.
Together as "Bishops Working for a Just World" and organized by the Episcopal Public Policy Network's capitol-based Office of Government Relations, the seven bishops, guided by General Convention resolutions, made their annual trip to Washington, D.C., Sept. 14-16 to lobby Congress, meeting with more than 30 elected officials and/or their legislative staffs, on behalf of the Episcopal Church. "Our involvement says that it's appropriate for Christians to be involved in conversation about social issues and bring an informed, theological perspective to the discussion," said Connecticut Bishop James E. Curry, the group's convener. "We [bishops] model that, and I could make the case that that is more important than taking a stand [on a specific issue]."
Bishops Working for a Just World is a caucus within the House of Bishops devoted to fulfilling the baptismal covenant to "strive for justice and peace and respect the dignity of every human being."
"We began in 1993 to try to reclaim our public voice," Curry said.
The bishops' three-day meeting included a workshop on community organizing, guest speakers, and a legislative briefing by OGR staff, a prayer vigil and Eucharist. The visit also coincided with release of Montana Democratic Senator Max Baucus' and the Senate Finance Committee's plan to remake the health care system and offer coverage for millions of uninsured...
Racism and Carter's suggestion were part of the discussion during a meeting between Democratic Senator Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland and Maryland Bishop Eugene T. Sutton and Washington Bishop John Chane. Sutton reminded Cardin, who is Jewish, that he sent a Muslim staff member to represent him at a celebration commemorating the 325th anniversary of Diocese of Maryland's oldest church, Sutton said.
"We were celebrating the fact that a Jewish senator sent a Muslim to worship at our Christian celebration," he said. "And that's what Maryland is all about."
In his Sept. 16 homily given at the Simpson Memorial Chapel in the United Methodist Building across from Capitol Hill, Beckwith reminded those present that Jesus learned early on how the world worked and spent his life trying to level the playing field, "making the inequity less so."
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