Jefferts Schori: Both Science & Religion Essential

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, spoke Thursday night before a crowd of about 250 people at Oregon State University, drawing on her experiences in both the scientific and the religious worlds and concluded that both are essential.

“Both science and religion have important things to say to all human endeavor … and at this stage in human history, we may not develop an adequate response to the dilemmas of existence without attention to both ways of knowing,” Schori said.

Creating a world of peace and justice and one in which human beings can survive physically depends on the ability of science and religion to talk to each other and build alliances that can respond to suffering the world, according to Schori.

“Both science and religion lead people to see the world with enormous awe. The response can either be a burning desire to understand the workings of the physical world, or an equally burning desire to connect with whatever has brought this world in existence.

“Both kinds of passion can help us to care for this world and all its inhabitants and both are going to be needed if we are going to relieve the suffering of many and bring increasing hope to our own species and all others,” Schori said.

Read it all.

PB: Keep questions about sexuality in conversation

The Boston Globe reports:

Saying "I don't believe that there is any will in this church to move backward," the top official of the Episcopal Church USA said yesterday that the election of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire has been "a great blessing" despite triggering intense controversy and talk of possible schism.

In an interview during a visit to Boston, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori compared the gay rights struggle to battles over slavery and women's rights, and said she believes that it has become a vocation for the Episcopal Church "to keep questions of human sexuality in conversation, and before not just the rest of our own church, but the rest of the world."

Read it all. Video of the interview is here.

Presiding Bishop: Communicators Called to Be Prophets

Tell the story, turn chaos to Shalom, Presiding Bishop tells Communicators

By Pat McCaughan April 25, 2007 [Episcopal News Service, Virginia Beach]

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori challenged a gathering of Episcopal Communicators April 25 to engage gifts such as proclamation, witness, storytelling, moviemaking, language, images to help usher in the biblical vision of shalom, of equality and justice for everyone.

"There is something gravely and sinfully wrong with a world where the division between the rich and poor continues to expand, where some still live in palaces and recline on ivory couches while others starve outside their gates," she told about 120 parish, diocesan and national church communicators from around the country.

"In our day, the prophets still speak for a world where the hungry are fed, the ill are healed, where all children are educated and no one is denied the basic necessities of life."

Read it all here.

Church Thriving

The Presiding Bishop in Iowa:
"...one of the great joys I've had in my first six months, getting to travel and see the health and vitality that exists in this church,'' she told a crowd of about 300 at Christ Episcopal Church [Cedar Rapids.] "I know it's not always what you read in the newspaper or hear on the news, but it's true.''

Read more »

The PB speaks in Texas

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, addressed the graduates of the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest on Tuesday in Northwest Austin. After the commencement, Jefferts Schori, the first woman to lead the national church, sat down with an Austin American-Statesman reporter to talk about her denomination's challenges, including tensions within the 2.4 million-member American province and with Anglicans worldwide and her recent public row with Nigerian bishop Peter Akinola. Jefferts Schori, 53, also touched on her view of smart church growth and why this is the "most exciting time to be an Anglican in generations." She's most passionate about what her church is doing that doesn't make headlines: feeding the hungry, empowering the poor, educating children.

Read the interview.

Virginia clergy meet with the Presiding Bishop

The blog "BabyBlueOnline" has a long report on the meeting that place on May 25th between the clergy of the Diocese of Virginia and Bishop Schori. The Presiding Bishop was in town for the consecration of the new bishop coadjutor of Virginia that happened on Sat May 26th. It's a wide ranging conversation between the Presiding Bishop and the clergy. After her opening remarks there follows a question period where a number of sharp questions were directed toward her.
"Opening remarks by the PB:

‘One of the great gifts of serving in this position is that I get to travel around the church and see what’s going on. I get to meet people and hear stories about how the church lives its life in different places and contexts. And there’s enormous good news in that. Every diocese I have gone to visit has stories of health and vitality to tell. I discovered … last week that some people were annoyed by my talking about that. But I talk about that certainly because it’s true but also because it, I think it’s essential to counteract what the headlines have to say about the Episcopal Church, which is a tiny fraction of what is going on … the stories of health and vitality come from congregations and people and communities who are paying attention to the needs of their neighbors and are engaged in that mission to serve the world. I think that’s great and glorious good news and there simply needs to be more of it, and teach the other parts of the church or challenge other parts of the church to be about that work as well.’"
Read the rest here: BabyBlueOnline

Presiding Bishop To Testify Before Senate Thursday A.M.

Thursday morning, June 7, the Presiding Bishop, the Most Reverend Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, will testify before the United States Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee on the urgent need for legislation to address Global Warming.
According to the Episcopal Church Public Policy Network, the hearing will be on-line via a Live Webcast tomorrow, June 7, 2007 at 10 a.m. ET.

To View the Hearing CLICK HERE and look for the red "Live Hearing" button on the front page at the time of the hearing.
You will need "Real Player" to view the hearing - it can be downloaded for free here

More information on the Episcopal Public Policy Network HERE

UPDATE: News report from Hearing HERE

Testimony from the Presiding Bishop HERE

Presiding Bishop on Bill Moyers' Journal

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori talks with Bill Moyers about science, the environment, and the rift in her Church over the ordination of gay and lesbian priests. According to the Religion and Ethics Newsletter from Thirteen: WNET New York, the Presiding Bishop, spiritual leader to 7,500 congregations and more than two million members, will be on "Bill Moyers Journal," airing Friday, June 8 at 9 p.m. (check local listings).

Thanks to The Diocese of Arizona Nature and Spirituality Program for the information.

Jefferts Schori shines on Moyers show

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori continues to be the Episcopal Church's best ambassador to the wider culture. Watch her appearance Friday night on Bill Moyers Journal. Or read the transcript.

Take the Long Calm View

In Vancouver, British Columbia for the annual meeting May 18 to 20 of the Anglican Indigenous Network (AIN), which includes peoples from Canada’s First Nations, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Australian and Torres Strait Islanders, Native Hawaiians, and Native Americans (U.S.), the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church discussed the current contoversies in the Anglican Communion and the work of indigenous communities around the world.

The presiding bishop ... unflinchingly predicts the high decibel back-and-forth currently pre occupying the top level of international church may well go on for another decade or more.

“I think the best outcome would be to ratchet down the level of conflict several notches,” Jefferts Schori said. “We have some very anxious people who need to have this resolved structurally right now.”

Those anxious people, personified by the 38 Anglican primates, have given ECUSA a September 30 deadline to cease-and-desist from same-sex blessings and the consecration of gay bishops. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, will arrive just days before that for the regular fall meeting of ECUSA’s bishops.

“I hope that he can hear and believe the church is far less divided than he believes it is,” said Jefferts Schori.

“I read Genesis and I see chaos as a necessary precursor to creation,” she said. “Anglicans embrace order and freedom. Both parts are essential. It’s a case of having patience to live with organic messiness to see what emerges.”

But she assured her audience that the work of the church goes on underneath the radar focused on the primates. A March meeting in Boxbourg, South Africa brought together 400 people from 33 Anglican provinces. “Nobody talked about sex,” she said. “They talked abut feeding people, about preventing disease, about how we can build constructive relationships.”

While she listened more than she talked to the AIN delegates, Jefferts Schori did suggest that true reconciliation with natives lies far ahead for the United States. “In some way, Canada has had a gift in wrestling with residential schools which the United States hasn’t done publicly,” she said.

For indigenous people, who feel themselves to be a powerless minority often quarreling among themselves, Jefferts Schori recalled members of the Latino community in California letting down their barriers to each other and uniting for the first time, only to discover they were then a large force in the church.

“Together, all the marginalized can change things,” she said. “The secret is those in power are relatively few.”

And to the plea for native priests ordained in and for their own communities, she said, simply: “Continue to challenge your church.”

Read it all Here

Barnstorming through Western Kansas

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori wraps up her 3-day 15-town tour of western Kansas today. As reported by The Hay Daily News she's been well received, and has not sugar-coated difficult subjects:

The audience [Monday night], which was about 75, questioned her about the best way to minister to rural, western Kansas.

“The question is whether a full-stipend priest is really needed or appropriate in a town of 400 when the congregation is 12,” she said. “There’s not enough for a priest to do there. But that said, there’s important ministry to do in that place — sacraments have to be provided.”

Perhaps a priest could minister to several congregations. Others, she said, have forgone owning their house of worship, instead choosing to meet in people’s homes or rented space.

“I think there are many answers that have to grow out of local context,” Jefferts Schori said. “The biggest challenge is often just opening our minds to new possibilities. The church doesn’t have to continue to look like it did 50 years ago.”

The Rev. Dennis Gilhousen, pastor in Norton, said Jefferts Schori’s visit is important — not just for her, but for the people in the diocese.

“We’re sort of out here, stuck in our isolated place,” Gilhousen said. ... “But with this visit, the presiding bishop actually came to spend time with the people of this diocese where we are, instead of at a gathering someplace,” Gilhousen said. “It gives us a genuine sense of being cared for and cared about.”

Jefferts Schori suggested the diocese could care for additional members, including non-English speakers.

“They may not look like many of you, but that is the field that is ripe for harvest out there,” she said. “I think the core of the Episcopal church is about living together with diversity, honoring that diversity and claiming it as a blessing. Many of the approaches we may take have to do with changing our ideas about what a normative Episcopalian looks like.”

Jefferts Schori said the community benefits from having members that speak different languages, have skin of different colors, have different ethnic background, and who represent a different social classes and ages.

“When most of our members are senior citizens, we tend to focus less on the needs of those less represented in the congregation,” she said. “My sense is that the young people are less well-represented than the other end of the spectrum. One reason is that Episcopalians do not do evangelization by reproduction. We also don’t do a terribly good job at retaining the offspring we do produce.”
...
Lifelong member of St. Michael, Jim Brooks has not been present at a presiding bishop’s visit before Monday.
...
“It is very easy for people to be kind of isolated out here,” Brown said. “I think we got to hear her pastoral heart and her heart for evangelism and the heart of the church not only for now, but for the years to come.”

Conservative blog readers, though, were not open to seeing the positives in the visit. And the Presiding Bishop's visit is not without controversy. The Hutchinson News (February 10, 2007) did a good job of telling that story. Some excerpts:
The Bishop of western Kansas has invited the highest-ranking official of the Episcopal Church to visit.

But not before receiving letters and phone calls from congregations making it clear they didn't want to miss the opportunity.
...
The invitation and the bishop's response came on the heels of a letter sent by Adams, saying he did not agree with Jefferts Schori's philosophy or the direction she is leading the Episcopal Church.
...
Bishop Dean Wolfe of the Episcopal diocese of Kansas...said it was wonderful the presiding bishop was making herself available. "It's a big deal for a couple of reasons," Wolfe said. "She comes from a smaller diocese, she more than others has an understanding of smaller and rural parishes."

Wolfe said her leadership shows a concern for the middle of the country, not just both coasts.

An earlier article in The Hutchinson News in January of this year spelled out Bishop Adams' pointed views:
Bishop James Adams has caught the attention of the newly appointed Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori with a letter stating he disapproves of her theology. In response, the first female primate in the 500-year history of the Anglican Church has offered to visit the Western Kansas Diocese, which has about 2,500 members.
...
The next move in their exchange will be up to Adams - under church protocol, Jefferts Schori cannot visit unless invited.
...
"I don't deny she is the presiding bishop; she was duly elected," Adams said. However, in his letter sent to Jefferts Schori, after her installation in November 2006, he denied her authority over him.
...
Adams struggles with Jefferts Schori's theology, worried that she and some others in the church seem to give up the claims of Christ to avoid offending anyone.
...
Adams may think he understands her theological positions, Jefferts Schori said, but "I have a broader understanding of how salvation works."
...
"It's not that she is not talented or smart," Adams said, "but she has little experience in the church."

He said Jefferts Schori had been a priest only since 1994, and never a rector before she was appointed bishop in 2000. During the 75th General Convention in June 2006, she was elected the 26th Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church.

"I didn't vote for her. That doesn't mean I don't like her, I just don't think she's qualified," he said.


16177_512.jpgTuesday she joined actor Steve McQueen, John F. Kennedy and all the company of 80 others when she was made an honorary sheriff of Dodge City. Of course, it's not the badge that makes the sheriff. It's the respect you earn and the hearts you win. [Photo credit: Dodge City Daily Globe]

The AP has also covered the visit.

Pilot to Peacemaker: podcast with the Presiding Bishop

Listen to a podcast of The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori interviewed by Cathy Lewis on HearSay, a program of WHRO broadcasting over an area from Richmond, VA to the Outer Banks. The Presiding Bishop answers questions of why it is exciting and challenging to be an Anglican in this time, difficulties with change, hopes for the future, legal issues, and being a Christian and scientist in the 21st century. HearSay is a call in show with questions from callers, baptism, combatting pedophilia and abuse, Windsor Report, fallout with churches who are breaking away, the Anglican Communion remaining one body and its importance for mission, growth, and immigration The Presiding Bishop talks about how she balances work and rest in a demanding position.

From the website:
Listen to Segment B: From Pilot to Peacemaker
In the second portion of the show, join Cathy for an intimate conversation with Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, spiritual leader to more than 2.4 million Episcopalians.

Listen to this Podcast here

HearSay website is found here

What is freedom without reconciliation?

At a "reconciliation Eucharist" held July 4 in Houston, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori talked about the relationship between freedom and reconciliation, saying that neither is fully experienced despite being "fully around us."


"We live in a world that is not yet whole, and we understand our vocation to be its healing or repair," she said in a sanctuary filled with both black and white Episcopalians. "Our Jewish brothers and sisters call it 'Tikkun Alam,' the repair of the world."

A healed world is an ancient dream, the presiding bishop said during her sermon. Telling stories of both joy and grief is part of the healing process.

"Over and over and over again, the prophets railed against those who brought greater divisions to the world, those who bring more injustice, those whose deeds sow destruction," she said.

Jefferts Schori said there are many kinds of reconciliations — "between individuals, within families, among nations, between politicians and, yes, even theological factions."

She also told the congregation gathered at at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Houston that when one is oppressed, all are oppressed. Also in attendance were members of the Union of Black Episcopalians, who were gathered for their 39th annual meeting.

Read the whole thing in the Houston Chronicle.

Bishop Jefferts Schori on salvation and evangelism

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori weighs in on issues of salvation and evangelism in her most recent column for Episcopal Life, expanding on statements she has made in interviews with the media.

She writes:

Is baptism necessary for salvation? Theologians have wrestled with this in a number of ways and made some remarkably gracious and open-ended responses. Vatican II affirmed that salvation is possible outside the church, even though some statements by Roman Catholic authorities in years since have sought to retreat from that position.

Karl Rahner spoke about "anonymous Christians," whose identity is known to God alone. John MacQuarrie recognized the presence of the Logos or Word in other traditions.

And:

When we look at some of the lives of holy people who follow other religious traditions, what do we see? Mahatma Gandhi and the Dalai Lama both exemplify Christ-like lives. Would we assume that there is no grace present in lives like these? A conclusion of that sort seems to verge on the only unforgivable sin, against the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:30-32).

If I believe that God is more than I can imagine, conceptualize or understand, then I must be willing to acknowledge that God may act in ways that are beyond my ken, including in people who do not follow the Judeo-Christian tradition. Note that I include our Jewish brothers and sisters, for Scripture is very clear that God made a covenant with Israel. That covenant was not abrogated in Jesus. Scripture also speaks of a covenant with Abraham that extends to his offspring, including Ishmael. Our Muslim brothers and sisters claim him as their ancestor. In some way, God continues to act in the tradition we call Islam.

Well, if God is already at work in other religious traditions, why would we bother to teach, make disciples or baptize? The focus of our evangelical work can never be imposing our own will (despite the wretched examples of forced conversion in the history of Christianity), but there is a real urgency to sharing the good news.

Can you imagine not saying to another, "Let me introduce you to my best friend. I think you would enjoy getting to know him"? We are certainly not loath to do that when it comes to the latest movie or book or restaurant we've enjoyed, and unless we are leery of sharing, we will not stay silent long.

We've argued before that those who say the Presiding Bishop's views on salvation are outside the Christian mainstream seem to believe that the Catholic Church is outside the mainstream as well. She makes that case indirectly here herself. Note especially the reference to Matthew 12, where she gently but firmly suggests that it is her Bible-quoting critics who have misread the Scriptures and are flirting with the unpardonable sin.

Presiding Bishop after one year in office

The Corvallis Gazette-Times in Oregon interviews Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori one year after her election as presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States. Jefferts Schori is still hopeful tensions within the denomination and the worldwide Anglican Communion can be resolved.

“I think as a Christian you have to live in hope of reconciliation always,” Jefferts Schori said during a brief stop in Corvallis at the beginning of a weeklong vacation.

“If we can get people to get out of a face-saving mode and refocus on the mission of the church, I think we can learn to live together and stay one body.”

During her many travels over the past nine months since her installation at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., however, Jefferts Schori said she’s seen a “softening around the edges.”

By the end of the year, the 53-year-old former oceanographer will have been in nearly a third of the 110 Episcopal dioceses in which she has oversight and more than half a dozen foreign countries including Tanzania, Cuba, Brazil, Ecuador, Honduras and Colombia.

She said she has been pleasantly surprised by how many primates from other countries have invited her to visit. Many of the invitations have come because of the work American missionaries did to help start Episcopal churches in other nations. But other invitations have sprung from common interests, she said.

Read it all here

Dream along with God

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori addressed the recent convocation of Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Basing her remarks on Isaiah 61:1-9 she encouraged the incoming class to "dream along with God." According to Mary Frances Schjonberg and Daniel Webster in Episcopal Life Online:

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told the incoming class ... that they need to consider, how theological thinking is going to help to shape the rest of your life.

The task of theological education really is to help us learn to do theology -- to relate our own stories, and the stories of those around us, to the great stories of our faith, so that we may be able to give an account of the faith that is within us. Theological education can bless us with the ability to see the need and hurt and injustice of the world, the ways in which God's dream is not yet being realized.

In his introduction of the Presiding Bishop, Union President Joseph C. Hough, Jr. said that her election is "emblematic of the determination of the Episcopal Church to embody a new church for the 21st century and to forge a model for a prophetic church in a radically changing world." ... a "prophetic statement to the church and the world at a time when aggressive misogyny has reared its ugly head in many Christian communions, determined to restore the full grip of male hegemony in the leadership of Christian Churches."

"She and her church in full view of the world have defied this trend and engendered hope for many of us Christians who abhor this sort of male exclusivism," Hough continued.

Hough said that "since misogyny is almost always accompanied by homophobia, it is hardly surprising that she has been the object of virulent attacks for her openness to gay ordination from some of her fellow bishops and clergy in the Anglican Communion."

"What is so wondrous for me to see is her refusal to engage in white hot polemics in response to this ecclesiastical skullduggery," he added.

Read the news story here

Read the address by Katharine Jefferts Schori here

Watch a brief video of the Convocation and read more here

From New Orleans: Eight bishops agree to serve as "episcopal visitors"

Eight bishops agree to serve as 'episcopal visitors'
by Bob Williams

[Episcopal News Service, New Orleans] Eight bishops have accepted Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's invitation to serve as "episcopal visitors" to dioceses that have requested this provision.

At her request, the Presiding Bishop's canon, the Rev. Dr. Charles Robertson, advised Episcopal News Service of this measure the evening of September 19. The announcement preceded the opening plenary session of the House of Bishops' September 20-25 meeting in New Orleans. Robertson said Jefferts Schori expected to announce the names of the eight bishops during that session, which is devoted to the bishops' private conversation with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, and is closed to the public and media.

Jefferts Schori has conferred with Williams about the invitations, which she extended after a process of consultation with bishops in the Episcopal Church, Robertson said.

"All eight are true bridge-builders who empathize with the concerns and needs of dioceses that are struggling with the issues of the current time," Robertson said, adding that "while all are sympathetic to to these concerns, each is clear that the Presiding Bishop's ultimate goal is reconciliation."

The eight are active diocesan bishops Frank Brookhart of Montana, Dorsey Henderson of Upper South Carolina (based in Columbia, S.C.), John Howe of Central Florida (based in Orlando), Gary Lillibridge of West Texas (based in San Antonio), Michael Smith of North Dakota, James Stanton of Dallas, and Geralyn Wolf of Rhode Island, together with retired Connecticut Bishop Clarence Coleridge.

Robertson said all have agreed to serve as official "episcopal visitors" (the lowercase adjective referring generally to bishops and their ministries rather than the church's denomination), or to provide "Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight" (DEPO), an option provided by the House of Bishops' March 2004 statement "Caring for All the Churches" and a concept affirmed by the General Convention in 2006.

Jefferts Schori's invitation to the eight bishops seeks to delegate the first of three primary canonical duties of the Presiding Bishop, that of visiting each of the Episcopal Church's 110 dioceses during each Presiding Bishop's nine-year term. The Presiding Bishop's other two principal canonical roles are to "take order" for ordaining and consecrating bishops, and to oversee certain disciplinary actions as needed.

The Presiding Bishop's invitation to the eight bishops "offers opportunities for dioceses to have an episcopal visitor other than herself," Robertson said.

"This gives dioceses the pastoral guidance and care they need while remaining faithful and loyal members of the Episcopal Church," he said. "It is also the Presiding Bishop's hope that at some point in the future she would be invited to visit these dioceses."

The action is "a significant effort at building a bridge while still honoring our uniquely American polity," Robertson said.

He added that Jefferts Schori is "comfortable letting the details be worked out by the bishops involved."

From among the Episcopal Church's 110 total dioceses, six stand by requests
initiated in 2006 for pastoral oversight other than that of the current Presiding Bishop. Those dioceses are Central Florida, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, Quincy (based in Peoria, Illinois), Springfield (Illinois), and San Joaquin (based in Fresno, California). A similar request by the Diocese of Dallas was later modified.

In all of these dioceses there has been expressed opposition to the 2003 election and ordination as diocesan bishop of New Hampshire Gene Robinson, who is openly gay and lives in a long-standing committed relationship with his male partner.

In three of these dioceses -- Fort Worth, Quincy and San Joaquin -- the bishops have not ordained women despite the General Convention's 1976 authorization to do so.

-- Canon Robert Williams is director of Episcopal Life Media, the new communication group that includes the Episcopal News Service.

Day 1

Updated: Interestingly, the Thursday night AP story quotes from the item below.

Not a lot to report from our friends who were in the room. At House of Bishops meetings, the bishops all sit at assigned tables with colleagues whom they have sat with at previous meetings. At tables this morning they were asked what were their greatest hopes and greatest fears for the meeting. Each table answered these questions and reported back to the meeting.

I am a little shaky on the time sequence here, but at some point during the course of the day, Archbishop Williams suggested that the Episcopal Church needed to exercise greater concern for its catholicity. Bishop Michael Curry at some later point replied that catholicity, by definition, cannot be built upon the exclusion of one class of people.

The archbishop made it clear that he believed the Episcopal Church had acted preemptively in consecrating Bishop Robinson.

In the afternoon Archbishop Williams asked the bishops how far they were willing to go to assure the rest of the Anglican Communion that the Church will refrain from a) consecrating another openly gay bishop and b) authorizing rites of blessing for same-sex unions. He also asked whether the bishops are willing to share episcopal responsibilities with other bishops when necessary.

The answer to those questions must ultimately be embodied in resolutions. For perusing other blogs, I sense that not much news was committed at the news conference.

From Episcopal Life Online news from the press conference.

House of Bishops: VOD

For the true Episcopal news junkie, video on demand from the recently completed meeting of the House of Bishops. Watch the final news conference, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's message to the Church and the bishops' day of service.

Tobias Haller, to no one's surprise

Sometimes in trying to figure out what one thinks, one comes across someone who has already thought it.

The Joint Standing Committee Report: some flashpoints

Our nominations for the passages of The Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates of the Anglican Communion Report on The Episcopal Church House of Bishops of Meeting in New Orleans include:

On same-sex blessings
(page 6 of the pdf):

The Episcopal Church has acknowledged in the past, however, that “local faith communities are operating within the bounds of our common life as they explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex unions”. In answer to the way in which this resolution was understood in the Windsor Report, it has been said that this statement was to be understood descriptively of a reality current in 2003 and not as permissive, and the Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion prior to the 75th General Convention (2006) specifically denied that it was intended to authorise such rites.

It needs to be made clear however that we believe that the celebration of a public liturgy which includes a blessing on a same-sex union is not within the breadth of private pastoral response envisaged by the Primates in their Pastoral Letter of 2003, and that the undertaking made by the bishops in New Orleans is understood to mean that the use of any such rites or liturgies will not in future have the bishop’s authority “until a broader consensus emerges in the Communion, or until General Convention takes further action, a qualification which is in line with the limits that the Constitution of The Episcopal Church places upon the bishops.

On this basis, we understand the statement of the House of Bishops in New Orleans to have met the request of the Windsor Report in that the Bishops have declared “a moratorium on all such public Rites”19, and the request of the Primates at Dar es Salaam that the bishops should “make an unequivocal common covenant that the bishops will not authorise any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses” since we have their pledge explicitly in those terms.

The interpretation of the phrase: "the use of any such rites or liturgies will not in future have the bishop’s authority" will be hotly disputed. Does that constitute a prohibition? Is it opaque on purpose? Note also the phrase "On this basis" at the beginning of the last paragraph in the quotation.

Conclusion to Part One
(page 9)

By their answers to these two questions, we believe that the Episcopal Church has clarified all outstanding questions relating to their response to the questions directed explicitly to them in the Windsor Report, and on which clarifications were sought by 30th September 2007, and given the necessary assurances sought of them.

Obviously the breakaway right and the Primates aligned with Akinola will dispute this. Will others join them?

Regarding incursions by Primates of other provinces
(Page 11--the second sentence):

At Dar es Salaam, the primates sought to address these matters by proposing that The Episcopal Church turn to a particular group of bishops living and ministering within its life, who had publicly declared that they accepted both the standard of teaching expressed in the 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10 and were unreservedly committed to the recommendations of the Windsor Report. In other words, the primates were indicating to those who felt alienated from the leadership of The Episcopal Church that there were identifiable bishops within The Episcopal Church able to meet the needs identified by the groups seeking alternative pastoral provision without the need for “foreign intervention”.

A pretty straightforward repudiation of the Peter Akinola/Henry Orombi/Benjamin Nzimbi/Emmanuel Kolini incursions that won't sit well on the separatist right.

Support for Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori's "episcopal visitors"
(Pages 11 and 12)

In her opening remarks to the House of Bishops, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori indicated to the assembled bishops that she had appointed eight Episcopal Visitors. ... We believe that these initiatives offer a viable basis on which to proceed. Bishop Jefferts Schori indicated that she deliberately left open and flexible the operation of the ministry of the Episcopal Visitors, believing that it was best for the visitor and the diocesan bishop concerned to work out an acceptable scheme. The Presiding Bishop laid down only two conditions: first, that such Episcopal visitors did not encourage dioceses or parishes to leave the Episcopal Church, and second, that the Episcopal Visitors would report occasionally to the Presiding Bishop. By leaving this ministry flexible for negotiation and development, we believe that the Presiding Bishop has opened a way forward. There is within this proposal the potential for the development of a scheme which, with good will on the part of all parties, could meet their needs.

Another blow to separatists.

Law suits
(page 12):

We are dismayed as a Joint Standing Committee by the continuing use of the law courts in this situation, and request that the Archbishop of Canterbury use his influence to persuade parties to discontinue actions in law on the basis set out in the primates’ Communiqué.

A plea unlikely to be heard by either side, except when there is a tactical advantage in appearing to be the more peaceable party.

The Pastoral Council Scheme from Dar es Salaam is dead, but the Panel of Reference may be resurrected.
(page 13):

We believe that the House of Bishops is correct in identifying that the co-operation and participation of the wider Communion, in a way which respects the integrity of the American Province, is an important element in addressing questions of pastoral oversight for those seeking alternative provision. We also believe that a body which could facilitate such consultation and partnership would meet the intent of the Pastoral Council envisaged by the Primates in their Communiqué. We encourage all the Instruments of Communion to participate in a discussion with the Presiding Bishop and the leadership of The Episcopal Church to discern a way in which to meet both the intentions behind the proposals in the Dar es Salaam Communiqué and this statement by the House of Bishops. The Archbishop of Canterbury may wish to revisit the work and mandate of “The Panel of Reference” and to explore whether this body, or a reconstituted version of it, may have a part to play in this respect.

It is difficult to believe that the Committee sees potential in the PofR, which is disliked and mistrusted by left and right. The acknowledgment that the Pastoral Council Scheme, foisted on the world by the Anglican Communion Institute violated the integrity of a member province of the Communion is most welcome, however.

The flashpoint among flashpoints as far as the separatists are concerned
Page 14

As a Joint Standing Committee, we do not see how certain primates can in good conscience call upon The Episcopal Church to meet the recommendations of the Windsor Report while they find reasons to exempt themselves from paying regard to them.

"In good conscience" is very, very strong language. And not to put too fine a point on it, on Page 15, the Committee quotes the previous Archbishop of Canterbury George's Carey who wrote that the bishops consecrated for the Anglican Mission in America during his tenure were no bishops of the Anglican Communion, and in the following paragraph adds:

The current instances of consecrations which have been taking place in African Provinces with respect to “missionary initiatives” in North America would seem to fall into the same category. We understand that, in addition to contravening the authorities quoted above, the consecrations took place either without consultation with or even against the counsel of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

That's enough for now. There is ample language in this document to trouble proponents of the full inclusion of all of the baptized in the sacramental life of the Church as well. More on that tomorrow.

Update: one member of the Joint Standing Committee who disagrees with this report has made his voice heard. Is it maybe just a little curious that Bishop Mouneer Anis could not get his comments to the writers of the Standing Committee report in time for inclusion, but was able to get them into the hands of the Times of London two hours after the report was published?

TV interview with our presiding bishop

A truly delightful video interview with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on KOCO TV in Oklahoma: watch it here.

Four additional Episcopal visitors

Per Episcopal Life Online, "four additional bishops have accepted Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's invitation to serve as "episcopal visitors" in dioceses requesting this provision." They are: Bishops Philip Duncan of Central Gulf Coast, Duncan Gray of Mississippi, Rayford High (suffragan) of Texas, and Rodney Michel (assisting) of Maryland. They join eight other bishops who accepted the role during the House of Bishops meeting.

The report is here.

Presiding Bishop warns Bishop Duncan

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is making public a letter of warning that is being sent to a bishop who is actively seeking to withdraw his diocese from the Episcopal Church, and has stated that letters to other bishops will follow.

According to Episcopal Life Online the Presiding Bishop released the following letter:

The Rt. Rev. Robert Duncan Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA

Dear Bob,

There have been numerous public references in recent weeks regarding resolutions to be introduced at your forthcoming diocesan convention. Those resolutions, if adopted, would amend several of your diocesan canons and begin the process of amending one or more provisions of your diocesan Constitution. I have reviewed a number of these proposed resolutions, and it is evident to me that they would violate the Constitutional requirement that the Diocese conform to the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church. It is apparent from your pre-convention report that you endorse these proposed changes. I am also aware of other of your statements and actions in recent months that demonstrate an intention to lead your diocese into a position that would purportedly permit it to depart from The Episcopal Church. All these efforts, in my view, display a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between The Episcopal Church and its dioceses. Our Constitution explicitly provides that a diocese must accede to the Constitution and Canons of the Church.

I call upon you to recede from this direction and to lead your diocese on a new course that recognizes the interdependent and hierarchical relationship between the national Church and its dioceses and parishes. That relationship is at the heart of our mission, as expressed in our polity. Specifically, I sincerely hope that you will change your position and urge your diocese at its forthcoming convention not to adopt the resolutions that you have until now supported.

If your course does not change, I shall regrettably be compelled to see that appropriate canonical steps are promptly taken to consider whether you have abandoned the Communion of this Church -- by actions and substantive statements, however they may be phrased -- and whether you have committed canonical offences that warrant disciplinary action.

It grieves me that any bishop of this Church would seek to lead any of its members out of it. I would remind you of my open offer of an Episcopal Visitor if you wish to receive pastoral care from another bishop. I continue to pray for reconciliation of this situation, and I remain

Your servant in Christ,

Katharine Jefferts Schori

Read Jan Nunley's article for Episcopal Life here.

Comments from the blogosphere:

Father Jake is concerned with the slow process of working through the canons and asks how faithful Episcopalians can be supported in this time:

First the Title IV Review Committee will consider the matter. That could take a couple of months. The bishops would then have two months to recant. Then the entire House of Bishops would have to meet and vote. It looks like the faithful in San Joaquin will be in a kind of limbo for at least five to six months. That is not good. In a time of crisis like this, it is critical that the Church move swiftly to assure that her members receive the kind of pastoral care such a traumatic situation will demand.

Mark Harris at Preludium raises the issue of danger in the mean time of the continued CANA incursions and making of more bishops for the US.

Thinking Anglicans has comments at their site.

Presiding bishop gives thanks in Guam

Fresh from her visit to the peace conference in Korea (coverage here), Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori visited Guam, which is estimated to have about 250 Episcopalians, according to the Pacific Daily News. Yesterday, she visited St. John's School and delivered a sermon to the more than 500 students there:

"The basic reason you and I have come to a place like this is to say, 'Thank you,'" she said. "Thank you for our blessings from God. Thank you for the abundance of life, ... for our family, friends and neighbors."

While children know the history of Thanksgiving as a civil holiday, the religious roots of its teachings run deep, she said. "Our faith is learning to say thank you in all times, places and circumstances," she said. During the sermon, St. John's students donated more than 100 items of canned goods to the Salvation Army to give away during its Thanksgiving feast today.

Before Jefferts Schori's sermon, Ben Helmer, archdeacon of the Episcopal Church in Micronesia, was giddy. He said he didn't think a presiding bishop had visited Guam since 1977.

"Most Episcopalians never get to meet the presiding bishop. It's really very exciting," he said. "There are a lot of people who never thought they'd meet anyone this important."

The article is here, and we'll follow up in this space when more information about the Guam visit becomes available.

In the meantime, the editors of the Lead would like to extend our thanks to you, our readers, and our hopes that you are enjoying a wonderful and safe holiday. We invite your prayers of thanksgiving.

I am a runner

For Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori running is a form of body prayer and a time of reflection according to an interview in this month's issue of Runner's World. From the interview:

Why did you start running?

I'd been a competitive swimmer, played water polo in college, and was active. In the fall of 1978 I met the man [Richard Schori] I eventually married and he was an avid runner, and he got me started. I started running probably in November of '78 and ran a marathon in February of '79 [in Seaside, Oregon, with a time of 3:54:55].

That must have been pretty tough.

It was an adventure.

How do you feel running helps with your work? Do you like to use the time to brainstorm or solve issues?

Absolutely. It's focusing for me. In my tradition we might talk about it as body prayer. It's a meditative experience at its best. It's a sort of emptying of the mind. That's probably why I prefer running in the wilds rather than in the middle of the city.

Now that you've been elected presiding bishop, do you think your weekly runs will become more necessary or more fulfilling?

Well, it's an essential part of my health. I don't function as well in any part of my life if I'm not exercising regularly, and running is probably the easiest and most enjoyable way I've found to do that.

Do you have a favorite Bible passage that inspires you to get out and run?

There's a wonderful passage in the Psalms that says, "Beautiful are the feet of one who brings good news."

Read the interview here.

Christmas message from the Presiding Bishop

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has released her Christmas message calling us to "[find] Immanuel as immigrant, wanderer, child." Many make an extra effort to reach out to others in need at this time of year. The Presiding Bishop asks us to allow our seasonal "seeing" become a year 'round challenge.

The complete text in English and Spanish is here.

Katharine Jefferts Schori for President

We never asked Episcopalians to take up our fight. Rather, it seems, their spiritual path has led them to believe that we aren’t any less deserving of ministry or recognition or even consecration simply because we happen to be unpopular sexual minorities. I wish that weren’t an extraordinary concept in 2007, but it is. And Bishop Jefferts Schori has hardly blinked in a year of denominational strife that has seen her character and her commitment to her religious office questioned, challenged, dismissed, and maligned.

Teresa Morrison writing in The Advocate praises the difficult path that the Episcopal Church has taken standing in solidarity with gays and lesbians.

Read it all here.

Fr. Jake comments here

Katie Sherrod comments here.

Presiding Bishop podcasting

During Christmastide the Presiding Bishop made two appearances via podcast and radio. One with State of Belief on Air America is available now on podcast and the other is available on BBC Radio 4. [The PB's segment of the BBC program is available here.]

The State of Belief interview featured questions for the Presiding Bishop on the current state of the Episcopal Church, religious liberty, and the future.

Notes from the interview:

Why are we where we are?
The immediate background is the ordination of women and emphasis on ministry of all the baptized in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. Looking at the history of the church - decisions about inclusion from Peter and Paul's debate about the Gentiles to today.
Another factor is the current polarization of society politically and reflected in the church impatience with diverse ideas plus external groups set to undermine and polarize in all mainline denominations.
The current division seems to be between those who believe their salvation is at stake if they don't separate and those who believe an inclusive body expresses the reign of God.

What about the Diocese of San Joaquin?
We are in a between time, limbo -- as soon as the status of the bishop is determined then the status of clergy can be determined.

Will we resolve our current divisions?
Not in our lifetime -- so we need to learn to live together.

Why keep going?
There is work to be done - plant churches, preach the gospel, help healing of world.

What would you tell people about The Episcopal Church?
It is multi-national, multi-cultural, values diversity and finds hope in diversity, believes in the Incarnation - which means life in this world is important - justice, peace, mission of solace, feeding, comfort, healing; offering a challenge to those who are more comfortable, there is work to be done.

Thinking Anglicans reports on the BBC interview here.

The BBC news reports that "The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katherine Jefferts Schori, told the BBC her church is paying the price for its honesty over sexuality."

Link to State of Belief interview here

The easiest way to download the interview with State of Belief is through the iTunes store online - free. Search "State of Belief".

Link to BBC Radio 4 interview here

Lisa Fox comments at her blog, "This is one of the very finest interviews I've heard or seen with our Presiding Bishop."

Update: The AP adds,

"Those services [blessing of same sex unions] are happening in various places, including in the Church of England, where my understanding is that there are far more of them happening than there are in the Episcopal Church," Jefferts Schori said.

A link to just the Presiding Bishop's BBC interview here. No waiting 45 minutes to her part.

What was she thinking?

The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Fort Worth has determined that there were no wise women visiting the infant Jesus and has sent out this letter to the diocese:

To the Clergy and 2007 Convention Delegates,

The members of your Standing Committee thought you should be aware of this.

The Presiding Bishop has done something which defies explanation. This is the Christmas card she sent to Bishop Iker and presumably other TEC bishops. Given the increasing polarization in TEC (and the Anglican Communion) today, the only reason we can see for her to make this choice is that she is only interested in pushing the polarization just that much further.

The Presiding Bishop is an intelligent woman, so this re-interpretation of Scripture to exclude masculine images must be intentional. This card illustrates in many ways the core problem of the General Convention Church. Scripture cannot be made to conform to us, we must conform our lives and our faith to Scripture. We will continue to stand for the traditional expression of the Faith.

The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth


Here is the card available for purchase here:

card.jpg


Andrew Gerns comments here. Danger: Wise women ahead!

Fireside chats with KJS

Father Jake offers a recap and commentary on his "fireside chat" with the Presiding Bishop on Tuesday . A sample:

Bp. Katharine reminded us that there are two stories of creation in Genesis. One begins with the creative act of God, after which we are told that God looked upon creation and declared that "It is very good." The other creation account focuses on the fall in the garden.

The divisions among Christians today can be seen to be loosely along the lines of which of these stories we choose to emphasize. Do we begin with recognizing that we were created "very good," that the intention was always for us to be "God's beloved," or do we begin with the story of the fall, beginning our relationship with God with the idea "I am a miserable sinner." Where we begin influences the nature of our conversations, not only among other Christians, but with the world, and with God.

Another way to sum up these differences among Christians today would be to suggest that there are those focused on "the depravity of man" and those who choose to focus on "the glory of God." Of course, in the end it is not a matter of "either/or" but "and/also." However, if we choose to begin the story of God with a blessing, that will lead us to quite different conclusions about the nature of our relationship with God in comparison to beginning with a story whose conclusion involves judgment and punishment.

Read it all here.

Presiding Bishop wows them in Roanoke

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, elected leader of the nation's 2.7 million Episcopal Church members, roused an audience of her denomination's regional leaders in Roanoke on Saturday.

"Pester your legislators" to be more aggressive in battling poverty and hunger across the globe, urged Jefferts Schori. "Annoy them."

The 53-year-old former oceanographer, who is said by religious scholars to be the only female top-ranked official of a major denomination -- except for Queen Elizabeth II, whose crown makes her head of the Church of England -- spoke with the conviction of a street preacher.


That's this morning's Roanoke (Va.) Times reporting on our Presiding Bishop's address to the delegates assembled at the annual council of the Diocesese of Southwestern Virginia. Jefferts Schori had a busy day.
Later in the day, Jefferts Schori joined a group of about 180 youths at St. John's Episcopal Church to help pack dry meals for shipment to Third World nations.

To be sure, one afternoon's preparation of meals won't go far among the Earth's underfed masses, but Jefferts Schori recognizes the importance of symbols. She is one, after all, embodying a new era among Episcopalians.

And, as The Lead earlier reported, she also addressed Episcopalians in San Joaquin by a live video link yesterday.

Presiding Bishop visits South Carolina

Episcopal Life Online reports on the Presiding Bishop's visit to the Diocese of South Carolina:

The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina welcomed Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori during her short visit in February through open forums, open houses, and open hearts.

The Presiding Bishop had not been invited to the January consecration of diocesan Bishop Mark Lawrence, and the February 24-25 visit was an opportunity for Jefferts Schori and the people of the diocese to explore their common areas as well as their points of disagreement.

Through a series of public events and private gatherings, the Presiding Bishop was able to meet and speak with diocesan officials, clergy and lay people, deans, elected Standing Committee and Council members.

Accompanied by her husband, Dr. Richard Schori, and the Rev. Canon Dr. Charles Robertson, canon to the Presiding Bishop, Jefferts Schori expressed enthusiasm about the visit. "It's wonderful to meet and talk to people face-to-face," Jefferts Schori said about her visit. "That's how we learn to know each other and learn about each other."


The Presiding Bishop was present for Evensong and the following day for Morning Prayer. The overflow crowds came to see and hear the Presiding Bishop and many stayed to have her sign her book A Wing and a Prayer. Clergy were invited to a private meeting with the Presiding Bishop:
The private conversation for active clergy at St. Andrew's, called Charity and Clarity, drew nearly 100 active priests and deacons from all areas of the diocese. After a presentation by Lawrence and an invitation to conversation from the Presiding Bishop, Jefferts Schori and the clergy engaged in an open, honest and frank discussion, ranging from biblical interpretation and church politics to congregational growth.

Read it all here.

UPDATE: Tuesday evening - Links to the audio of the Presiding Bishop's visit are here.

Presiding Bishop preaches in Jerusalem

Marking the annual Palm Sunday celebrations and the start of a week-long visit to the Holy Land, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preached March 16 at St. George's Cathedral in Jerusalem at the invitation of Bishop Suheil Dawani of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.

Here is an excerpt:

In this land called holy, we still wait for that prince of peace. We still seek a Lord who will work a reconciled peace with justice, here and around the globe. No wonder that, as the gospel says, when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole town was in turmoil. Who is this prophet? He promises another kind of kingdom, another realm where there will be no longer be any hungry or sick or imprisoned ones, no unemployed, none who are segregated from their neighbors and treated with a different justice because of ethnicity or religion.

The turmoil Jesus stirred up ended in his execution as an enemy of the state. Prophets tend to do that -- stir things up and end up dead. That is part of the invitation Jesus offers each of us, to pick up our cross, to die to self, to proclaim the word of God in human flesh and that divine dream of peace, and to be willing to die to everything else. Stir things up, for this world certainly hasn't yet reached that divine dream of salaam and shalom. And, yes, recognize that death will be involved. There is no possibility of new life, of resurrection, without death. We will never know a healed world unless the systems that depend on violence or armed guards to maintain them die.

And...

We share the great hope of Jesus the anointed one, because we are made of the same mortal flesh, and we, too, have been anointed to preach peace to the poor and deliverance to the captives. We died with Jesus in the waters of baptism, and we rise with him as well. We have been invited into this journey with him, this blood-red and passionate journey of sacrifice, making holy this yet unhealed world. His road into the eternal city of peace leads past the cross. It includes turmoil and threat, but it is meant to be answered by the methods of peace -- palm branches and donkeys, truth-telling and the unexpected wind of the spirit.

Read the sermon here.

Here is an audio file.

See also this accompanying story of her visit. One portion:

On behalf of the Jerusalem diocese, Dawani expressed his appreciation to the Presiding Bishop for her pastoral visit, noting that they "will work together with all Anglicans to promote peace, justice and reconciliation in the land of the holy one.

"I am sure it is really a joint effort," he said.

The Rev. Canon Hosam Naoum, acting dean of St. George's, described the Presiding Bishop's visit as a historic moment. "With all the differences in the Anglican Communion today, I see her as a uniting figure who brings beliefs and understandings and cultures of other people around the world," he said.

Episcopal Life has a video update of the Presiding Bishop's visit to the Holy Land here.

Holy Land video update from the Presiding Bishop

Episcopal Life Online is offering video updates from the Presiding Bishop during her visit to the Holy Land:

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori offers an update from her visit to the Holy Land that has included the Palm Sunday celebrations in Jerusalem, meetings with religious leaders and Israeli and Palestinian human rights advocates; and a visit to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The Presiding Bishop also met with Lutheran Pastor Mitri Raheb of the International Center in Bethlehem.

Watch it here.

Presiding Bishop's pilgrimage

Matthew Davies, writing for the Episcopal News Service, filed this story about the Presiding Bishop's visit to the Holy Land this week:

"Good Friday in Jerusalem was a day filled with many blessings and a solemn reminder of Jesus' painful journey to his crucifixion as Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and an Episcopal Church delegation joined pilgrims and Christians in the Holy Land to share in Christ's Passion.

Shortly after sunrise, a crowd representing Anglican, Lutheran and Presbyterian Churches gathered at St. George's Cathedral in Jerusalem before embarking on Jesus' passage along the Via Dolorosa -- a Good Friday devotion known as the Stations of the Cross.

The Presiding Bishop and Bishop Christopher Epting, the Episcopal Church's ecumenical and interfaith officer, offered readings and prayers at some of the 14 stations that represent chief scenes of Christ's suffering and death.

'Our morning journey through the Old City was interrupted by shopkeepers opening their shuttered shops, small tractors chugging through the narrow lanes, and other pilgrim groups taking their equivalent journeys, singing and praying in a variety of languages,' said Jefferts Schori.

In addition to readings and prayers alternating in English, Arabic and German, the crowd sang familiar hymns telling of Jesus' final hours and crucifixion.

The journey culminated at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, where representatives of the Churches, including Holy Land Lutheran Bishop Munib Younan, led the final prayers."

Read the rest here.

Presiding Bishop celebrates Easter in Holy Land

Episcopal News Service reports:

On Easter Sunday at St. George's Cathedral in Jerusalem, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, local Christians and pilgrims of many nationalities shared in the joyful Eucharistic celebration of Jesus' resurrection following the Paschal mystery of his suffering and death.

Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem Suheil Dawani, who had invited the Presiding Bishop to spend Holy Week in his diocese, preached in Arabic and English about the need "to live our lives more fully and minister more faithfully."

The congregation included United States Members of Congress, Episcopal missionaries and a delegation from the Christian Association of Nigeria, including His Royal Majesty Ogidiga Ifite Ogwari of Anambra State.

The Presiding Bishop gave thanks for the ministry of the local Church and "its wonderful leadership," the hospitality she and her delegation had received, and the friendships formed throughout her March 16-24 pastoral visit. "We take you home with us in our hearts and we will never be the same," she said, emphasizing the need to build a kingdom of God -- of peace -- around the world.

Read it here.

PB lobbies for global health bill

Dear Members of the House of Representatives:

As Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, I write to offer our Church’s strong endorsement of the U.S. Global HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act passed by the Foreign Affairs Committee and awaiting House floor consideration. The committee-passed bill builds on the successes of our nation’s efforts to fight deadly disease around the world over the past five years, and forges a new bipartisan consensus for expanding and intensifying those programs in the years to come.

The Episcopal Church is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion, more than half of whose members live in countries hardest hit by AIDS, TB, and malaria. Through our relationships with churches around the world, we are deeply aware of the suffering and upheaval experienced by communities affected by deadly disease, and we are actively involved in efforts to restore health and healing through prevention, care, and treatment. A world that has conquered AIDS, TB, and malaria would be not just healthier and more prosperous, but more stable and secure.

As vital as the work of faith communities and other private actors are in the fight against poverty and disease, however, true transformation can only come when the resources and energies of governments are brought to bear. That’s why the United States government’s efforts over the past five years – along with the work of multinational organizations like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria – have been so vital.

Read it all.

Bishop Katharine supports Jubilee legislation

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori sent a letter to the House of Representatives on April 6 offering the Episcopal Church's "very strong endorsement" for H.R. 2634, the Jubilee Act for Responsible Lending and Debt Cancellation, which is scheduled for consideration on the House floor this week.

Here is the text of the letter provided by Episcopal News Service:

April 7, 2008

Dear Members of the House:

As Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, I write to offer my church's very strong endorsement for H.R. 2634, the Jubilee Act for Responsible Lending and Debt Cancellation, which is scheduled for consideration on the House floor this week. This critical bipartisan legislation begins the process of canceling the debts of poor countries around the world that currently are unable to gain traction in the fight against poverty and disease as a consequence of crippling debt burdens.

The Episcopal Church is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion, more than half of whose 80 million members live in countries suffering under the weight of widespread and life-threatening poverty and diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria. These countries spend more than $100 million per day repaying old debts to rich countries like the United States, and to multilateral lending institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Astonishingly, Africa alone spends more money each year on debt repayments than it receives in foreign aid focused on fighting poverty. Foreign aid initiatives, like the landmark Global AIDS bill passed by the House last week, must be matched with initiatives to cancel decades-old debt, much of it accrued by corrupt regimes long gone. Today, this debt is creating a slow bleed of precious resources from desperately needy countries.

Recognizing this dire situation, the Episcopal Church, Pope John Paul II, and many other faith leaders and communities played central roles in the Jubilee 2000 movement, which resulted in a first round of limited debt cancellation for some poor countries. Now, nearly a decade after the Jubilee 2000 movement spurred the historic international agreement on debt relief, the fruits of that effort are clear in countries that benefited. Mozambique increased rates of childhood vaccination by more than 80 percent and brought electrification to rural schools and hospitals. Uganda and Kenya were able to increase primary-school enrollment nearly two-fold, providing a future for children -- particularly girls -- who would otherwise be denied access to learning. Cameroon implemented a groundbreaking national HIV/AIDS initiative that has made significant inroads against mother-to-child transmission of the virus. These lives saved are a direct consequence of the generosity of nations like the United States in implementing the Jubilee 2000 debt package and the follow-up initiative of the 2005 G8 meeting.

Today, however, more than 65 countries still need complete cancellation of their debts if they are to meet the poverty-eradication targets adopted by the U.S. and other nations in the Millennium Declaration of 2000. The Jubilee Act begins that process, directing the U.S. Administration to work with other creditor countries to remit both the multilateral and bilateral debts of poor countries. Significantly, the bill requires countries to demonstrate sound governance and fiscal management before qualifying for debt relief, and requires savings to be invested directly in the programs that lift people out of poverty.

Thanks to strong bipartisan leaders like Reps. Waters, Bacchus, and Frank, the Jubilee Act has strong backing among both Democrats and Republicans, and was passed without objection last week in the Financial Services Committee. Its passage by Congress would be a significant and meaningful contribution to the stability and security of our world, and to the lives and full flourishing of millions of God's people across the planet.

In the Christian tradition, the Scriptures tell us that Jesus preached the very first sermon of his public ministry on the expectation of Jubilee, drawing from Isaiah's prophecy of liberty for the oppressed and a season of God's favor for all people. Our nation, in its finest hours, has been a bringer of Jubilee to neighbors in need around the world, and our present engagement in the fight to rid the world of death-dealing poverty and disease is a signal of how deeply that spirit of Jubilee is inscribed in the hearts of our own citizens. Debt cancellation is a critical step in that fight, and I urge your strong support for the Jubilee Act when it comes to a vote this week.

Please know that you are ever in my prayers, and that I remain

Your servant in Christ,

Katharine Jefferts Schori

Episcopal Life Online: Presiding Bishop endorses debt cancellation legislation in letter to House of Representatives

Jefferts Schori Q&A in Seattle Times

More from the Weekend of everything in Seattle: The Seattle Times has a Q&A on Katharine Jefferts Schori, noting that her participation in the "Healing Our Planet Earth" conference signals how she is merging her vocations as a former oceanographer and presently as Presiding Bishop.

Among the things the writer looks at are why Jefferts Schori left oceanography to become a priest, why she's participating in the conference, what's going on in San Joaquin, and other topics that bring some of the matters of the Anglican Communion to a more general news audience. An excerpt:

Q: Why are you participating in the "Healing Our Planet Earth" conference?

A: As a scientist and as a person of faith, I am interested in these issues. Faith organizations, faith traditions that have a concern for these issues have an ability to motivate their adherents to do something about caring for creation.

Q: What do you hope this conference will achieve?

A: Educate and motivate Episcopalians and other people of faith.

Q: You recently went to the San Joaquin Diocese in California (which voted to secede from the Episcopal Church) to speak with those who remain Episcopalian. You said that healing is possible. How, when the issues seem so intractable and the divide getting wider?

A: The experience of the people present at the convention in San Joaquin is that healing is happening there. In groups of people with a variety of opinions about some of these hot-button issues, it's remembering what it is that originally calls them together.

Q: Property disputes with breakaway churches are a big issue and getting bigger. What do you say to people who feel it's unbiblical to take fellow Christians to court over issues like property?

A: We have a fiduciary and a moral responsibility as leaders in this church to use and steward the gifts ... for the purposes for which they were given. ... Generations before us gave permission in the name of the Episcopal Church and intended them (gifts and properties) for the benefit of communities and generations to come. (The breakaway churches) are clearly saying they're no longer part of the Episcopal Church.

You can read the whole thing here.

The Good Communicator

Doesn't the Presiding Bishop remind you of Ronald Reagan?

Not, obviously, in her politics, but in her ability to work through the media to amplify her message. One of the things tht the people around Reagan understood was that the press corps was not monolithic, and that reporters at local newspapers were often interested in issues that left the national media cold. Heck, sometimes they were simply interested in the fact that you had visited their town, or spoken on an issue that their readers cared about.

During her first year-and-a-half as Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori has visited dozens of dioceses, granted interviews to the influential dailies in those areas, and generally emerged looking good--and having made the Church look good, too. She's trading, partly, on the fact that, as our first female Presiding Bishop, she is something of a novelty. But in the process, she is establishing herself as someone whom the media looks to as an interpretter of religious and environmental issues, and that is likely to pay dividends in the future.

Here are some recent articles some of which we've pointed to earlier:

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Question authority, says bishop.

From The Seattle Times: "Schori, an oceanographer before she was ordained in 1994, is a compelling guide to lead an exploration of environmental topics and faith."

This, from the very capable Peggy Stack at The Salt Lake City Tribune: Episcopal leader: We need to talk about sexuality

There's this from The Palm Beach Post: Katharine Jefferts Schori's biography notes that the 54-year-old is an instrument-rated pilot, a former oceanographer, the wife of a retired theoretical mathematician and mother of a grown daughter, who is also a pilot. But tellingly, The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori defines herself as a peacemaker.

This, from The San Diego Union Tribune: Church leader battles division

And a Q and A in the South Bend Tribune.

That's six media markets, most of them major. Not a bad couple of weeks' work.

In the Garden

The Dallas Morning News asks, "Why would the busy, some might say embattled, leader of the 2.4 million-member Episcopal Church travel to Dallas for a 300-member congregation's garden blessing service?

"Well, I was asked," said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman to lead the Episcopal Church.

The Episcopal Church of St. Thomas the Apostle invited Bishop Jefferts Schori for what was her first official visit to Dallas.

Wearing sunglasses and a white robe, the oceanographer-turned-priest helped preside over an elaborate afternoon service, blessing a garden whose raised-bed vegetable plots will help supply local food banks.

"Coming here to bless a garden, especially at this time in the history of humanity, when we're focused on how the church can be a more proactive voice in caring for the rest of creation, is an important message," she said before the service....

The Dallas Morning News also reports:

The blessing service Monday near Dallas Love Field, attended by about 400, was to some degree a rally for the Episcopal Church and Bishop Jefferts Schori.

"Everyone at St. Thomas the Apostle is standing taller and feeling prouder because she's [here] with us," said Harry Anderson, head of the vestry for a congregation that has long taken progressive stands on race, women's rights and gay rights.

Two buses came from Fort Worth, and many of the visitors wore stickers saying, "Fort Worth Episcopalians Honor Katharine."

"We want to make it clear that the Diocese of Forth Worth is not monolithic," said Katie Sherrod, adding that she considers Bishop Jefferts Schori "fabulous."

Click here for Video.

Read it all here.

Katie Sherrod comments at her blog Desert's Child.

Venables visit to Fort Worth "unwarranted invasion"

Episcopal Life Online reports that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has advised Southern Cone Presiding Bishop Gregory J. Venables that his planned May 2-3 visit to address a special convocation of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth "with the expressed purpose of describing removal to the Province of the Southern Cone is an unwarranted invasion of, and meddling in, the internal affairs of this Province." Copies have been sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Dear Gregory,

I write to urge you not to bring further discord into The Episcopal Church. Visiting a special convocation of the Diocese of Fort Worth with the expressed purpose of describing removal to the Province of the Southern Cone is an unprecedented and unwarranted invasion of, and meddling in, the internal affairs of this Province. I ask you to consider how you might receive such a visit to your own Province from a fellow primate. The actions contemplated by some leaders in Fort Worth are profoundly uncanonical. They also prevent needed reconciliation from proceeding within this Province.

I urge you to focus your pastoral ministry within your own Province. May your ministry there be fruitful. I remain

Your servant in Christ,
Katharine Jefferts Schori

Read the rest of the story here.

Presiding Bishop writes to the House of Bishops

Updated

A letter to the House of Bishops from the Presiding Bishop:

April 30, 2008

For the House of Bishops

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

Inasmuch as the past several weeks have involved some significant situations, I thought it would be helpful to review and comment on process. First, regarding deposition for “abandonment of the communion of The Episcopal Church,” it is important to remember that such an act is not by definition punitive, but does give formal recognition to a reality already taking place. Once the Title IV Review Committee has certified that a bishop has abandoned the communion of this Church under Title IV, Canon 9, the bishop in question is given sixty days to respond.

During this sixty day period, Title IV has a provision for temporary inhibition of the bishop by the Presiding Bishop with the consent of the three senior active bishops of the Church. These bishops who must consent to the temporary inhibition do not, however, have a veto over consideration of the merits of the deposition by the House of Bishops, any more than those who must consent to temporary inhibitions in other circumstances have a veto over consideration of the charges by a trial court. This understanding of the canon is held not only by my Chancellor, but also by members of the Title IV Review Committee including an attorney who is an original member of the Committee, the chancellors of several dioceses who have been consulted, and the former Chair of both the Standing Commission on the Constitution and Canons and the Legislative Committee on the Canons at the General Convention.

As the actual vote regarding deposition draws near, it is important to recognize what does and does not constitute a relevant response by the bishop in question. A letter of resignation from the House is irrelevant to the charges brought forward by the Review Committee and the deposition proceedings, since deposition concerns a person’s ordination in this Church, not simply participation in the House of Bishops. Resignation from the House thus has no bearing on following through with the charges brought forward by the Review Committee. Deposition in this situation makes clear in an official way that the bishop in question is no longer permitted to exercise ordained ministry in this Church.

Regarding how the vote is to be taken, the canon is clear that a vote on deposition must occur at “regular or special meeting of the House.” Although we have other canonical consent provisions where consents may be secured by written ballot through the mail, that process does not satisfy the canons here. Every bishop entitled to vote is invited to the meeting and given ample notice that there will be a vote on depositions. Materials surrounding the deposition in question are posted in the “Bishops Only” section of the College for Bishops website. The canon is read that a quorum be present and a majority of all bishops present who are entitled to vote consent to the deposition, as was done in the case of Bishop Davies of Fort Worth in the 1990s and Bishop Larrea of Ecuador Central in 2005. In terms of parliamentary rules of order, any questions about the propriety of a vote are to be raised before the meeting or, of course, during it.

These are weighty matters, and it is important that we take seriously our procedures, as well as their purpose and intent. It is also important that we remember the reason that such canons and procedures are in place. These matters with which we are confronted have ramifications for many outside our House. For those who would like an alternative to deposition, we already have one, in the form of renunciation of vows in this Church, so that anyone may pursue his or her conscience and desires in another part of Christ’s Body. This option makes clear and clean an individual’s departure from The Episcopal Church. Resignation from the House is quite different, since it only deals with the person’s relation to the House, not to The Episcopal Church. Thus, to resign from the House while still claiming jurisdiction over a diocese with its property and assets is not a viable alternative.

Some have misunderstood the impact and intent of deposition. It is this Church’s formal way of saying to the world that the deposed cleric is no longer permitted to act as a sacramental representative of this Church. If vows to uphold the doctrine, discipline, and worship of this Church are not voluntarily renounced, how otherwise can a cleric take up new vows to uphold the doctrine, discipline, and worship of another Church?

These are indeed difficult decisions that we at times are called to make, and I have no doubt that all of us would wish things were different. We must respond to the situations with which we are faced, compassionately but not naively, knowing that we make these decisions not for ourselves alone but for the people whom we are called to shepherd and oversee. I remain

Your servant in Christ,
Katharine Jefferts Schori

Credit: Episcope

Update, Wednesday afternoon, from the for-what-it's-worth department: according to George Conger at The Living Church,

Sufficient legal grounds exist for presenting Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori for ecclesiastical trial on 11 counts of violating the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church, according to a legal memorandum that has begun circulating among members of the House of Bishops.
...
Prepared by an attorney on behalf of a consortium of bishops and church leaders seeking legal counsel over the canonical implications of the Presiding Bishop’s recent actions, it is unclear whether a critical mass of support will form behind the report’s recommendations for any action to be taken, persumably as a violation of the Presiding Bishop’s ordination vows.

The PB writes at Pentecost

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has written to the Church in advance of Pentecost. The letter is available on Episcope. This passage may stir some discussion among those who parse her every utterance for evidence of heresy.

Jesus is Lord. In the same sense that early Christians proclaimed that Jesus, not Caesar, is Lord, remember that no one else - not any hierarch, not any ecclesiastical official, not any one of you - is Lord. We belong to God, whom we know in Jesus, and there is no other place where we find the ground of our identity.

PB: "Same-sex blessings in our lifetime"

The Dallas Voice reports:

Speaking at the predominantly gay parish that was the site of her first official visit to Dallas, the leader of the Episcopal Church said Monday, April 28 that she expects the denomination to sanction same-sex union ceremonies “in our lifetimes.”

Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the U.S. branch of the 80-million-member worldwide Anglican Communion, also said she believes openly gay bishop Gene Robinson’s exclusion from the upcoming Lambeth Conference will only serve to increase his impact on the event.

And Jefferts Schori assured supporters from Fort Worth that the church hasn’t forgotten them even though their diocese took steps last fall toward leaving the denomination as a result of a dispute about the role of gays and women.
...
“A number have people have asked me, ‘How did you decide to come here?’” said Jefferts Schori, who was invited by members of the congregation to bless the garden. “Well, somebody asked, and that’s really all it takes — that and the consent of your bishop here in Dallas.”

Read it all here.

Presiding Bishop speaks out on crisis in Zimbabwe

epiScope is carrying a statement from the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori on the ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe. The Presiding Bishop calls for action by the international community to ensure a fair resolution of the March 29 elections and to stand for an end to political violence, torture and human rights abuses. Joining with the Archbishops of Canterbury, York and Capetown Jefferts Schori calls for an arms embargo.

Also see, Zimbabwe Anglicans face 'communist-style' persecution, says Zimbabwean bishop.

The Presiding Bishop's complete statement follows:

Read more »

Episcopal, Lutheran PBs urge prayers, donations for Sudan

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church and Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) have released a joint statement on Sudan.

In the coming days, we urge all Americans to pray for peace in the Sudan and to call for strong action from the international community to restore stability in a land whose people have been entangled far too long in violence.

Read more »

Jefferts Schori at S.D. reservation this weekend

Thought we'd kick off the summer here at the Cafe with this piece, even though the season technically turned over at 7:59 pm EDT last night: Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is visiting Eagle Butte, S.D., for the Niobrara Convocation this weekend. From a story in the Rapid City Journal:

About 3,000 Native American Episcopalians and others are expected to greet Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, on her first trip to a South Dakota reservation. They will come from St. Julia’s Church at Porcupine; from St. James at Enemy Swim Lake; from the Church of the Epiphany at Wolf Creek and from Holy Innocents Church in Parmelee.

“My primary purpose is to be with the people, to listen to their experience and to learn about this diocese,” Jefferts Schori said after arriving at the Pierre airport Thursday. She’ll be on the Cheyenne Eagle Butte Reservation through Sunday, where she’ll preach at the closing Eucharist. “I’m still working on it,” the bishop said of her Sunday sermon. “I’m going to do a lot of listening in the next few days so that what I say is relevant.”

The Niobrara Convocation is an annual summer gathering of Lakota and Dakota Episcopalians that dates back to 1870, when the Episcopal denomination played a leading role in christianizing the territory’s tribal reservations.

A notable quote from the Presiding Bishop (which I copyedited slightly since it wasn't a sic):

“It’s a time of ferment, which can be enormously positive,” Jefferts Schori said. “You look at a vat of beer and sometimes it doesn’t smell very good – but there’s a lot of good work going on there, and the product smells better than the process. Something like that’s going on in the Anglican Communion.”

Read the whole thing here.


The Presiding Bishop responds to GAFCON

Updated with Reuters report.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori responds to the GAFCON statement:


Much of the Anglican world must be lamenting the latest emission from GAFCON. Anglicanism has always been broader than some find comfortable. This statement does not represent the end of Anglicanism, merely another chapter in a centuries-old struggle for dominance by those who consider themselves the only true believers. Anglicans will continue to worship God in their churches, serve the hungry and needy in their communities, and build missional relationships with others across the globe, despite the desire of a few leaders to narrow the influence of the gospel. We look forward to the opportunities of the Lambeth Conference for constructive conversation, inspired prayer, and relational encounters.

T'graph creates controversy where none exists

This Telegraph story on Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is a classic example of an ideologically-motivated newspaper writing conflict-mongering headlines that the text of the story cannot support.

The PB didn't "wade in" to anything; she was asked a question and she answered. She didn't say those who oppose having women as bishops "simply don't like them," she said that was among the issues for some opponents. And she doesn't "accuse" the English Church of going too slow, as writer Martin Beckford has it. She said that the English way of proceeding on this issue looks slow to Americans.

Strip away the T'graph's bluster. Read only the PB's quotes. Then decide if you would characterize the interview as they did.

Notes from the PB's Web cast

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bishop Mark Sisk of New York spoke about the Lambeth Conference today on a web cast. The conversation, a kind of modified press conference with viewers e-mailing questions, will be available soon at episcopalchurch.org

Here are a few things that struck me, feel free to add your own observations in the comments, but remember, we require you to use your full name.

Read more »

Struggling to reach a new level of maturity

Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church has a long-view column in the Guardian. Her conclusion:

The Anglican communion's present reality reflects a struggle to grow into a new level of maturity, like that of adult siblings in a much-conflicted family. As we continue to wrestle, sufficient space and respect for the differing gifts of the siblings just might lead to greater maturity in relationship. This will require greater self-definition as well as decreased reactivity. Jesus' own example in relationships with his opponents and with his disciples will be instructive.
Read it here.

Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori's reflection on the Lambeth Conference

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's has written a reflection on the recently concluded Lambeth Conference for Episcopal Life. She concludes as follows:

The challenge for us will be sorting out how we live together in this diverse communion. That is not a new challenge, but it is exacerbated by the rapidity and pervasiveness of today's communication and the need to honestly confront the legacy of colonialism. The coming months and years will bring invitations to enter more deeply into challenging relationships. Those invitations will annoy, sadden or frighten some of us, yet that is where God has always called us to go.

We are a pilgrim people, and we are not invited to settle down in comfort until all God's people are able to do the same. This Lambeth Conference was a profound reminder that we are responsible to and for each other, and that the journey is about being companions of Jesus on the Way. Along the way, we are meant to listen for the call of the Spirit, in seagulls and the stranger.

UN to look at MDG progress Thursday

On Thursday, the United Nations will convene for a special session to discuss the Millennium Development Goals. The Archbishop of Canterbury has invited all interested parties to attend an Interfaith Service of Recommitment and Witness of the Achievement of the MDGs at the Cathedral of St. John's the Divine in New York City. While it is not clear whether Archbishop Williams will himself be present as some outlets have reported, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will officiate at the service and Archbishop of York John Sentamu will preach. (The event is not on Williams' posted calendar.)

The service is one of the activities for the day sponsored by the Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations and will be preceded by a rally and teach-in on the Cathedral steps, according to a release from the Anglican Communion News Service. These activities, as well as a noontime walk and "prayerful witness" at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, are in support of the prayer, fasting and witness called for on this day in the 2008 Lambeth Conference Reflections Document.

More information on the service is here and here. The Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation has more on the day's events here.

Jefferts Schori speaks on Pittsburgh, racism and more

The Columbus Dispatch reports on Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's visit to Trinity Episcopal Church--the site of her election as presiding bishop:

On Saturday in Philadelphia, Jefferts Schori apologized for the Episcopal Church's role in perpetuating and profiting from slavery.

There is a parallel between the historic oppression of black people and the challenges that gays and lesbians face, she said.

"It's an age-old human struggle over who's an accepted member of the community," she said.

Jefferts Schori's appearance at the National Cathedral's Sunday Forum is also online.

Watch and listen to the Presiding Bishop's sermon at the Day of Repentance here.

Voting is an act of stewardship

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori calls voting "an act of stewardship" as the United States approaches its general election on November 4. In bulletin inserts available to congregations, the Presiding Bishop reminds all Episcopalians to approach the election with prayer, remembering their baptismal vows.

As caretakers and stewards of all of God’s creation, each one of us is responsible for the flourishing of the rest of the human family. As in all elections, on 4 November we have the opportunity to continue working to reconcile and heal the world. I urge every citizen to use this opportunity to motivate our government to respond to, and participate in, building the Reign of God. We prepare the ground for the possibility of more abundant life through our part in the ministry of governance.

Voting and political participation are acts of Christian stewardship, in which citizens can engage in a common conversation about the future of our nation and the world. I urge you to exercise your right to vote, and to encourage and help others to do so as well
.
Read it all here.

Bulletin inserts are available here.

Presiding Bishop on Idaho Public Television

The Presiding Bishop participated in an extensive interview on Idaho public radio. Here is a description of the program:

Organized just before the American Revolution, the Episcopal Church in the United States claims more than two million members. But the Episcopal Church today faces a serious rift, one that causes dissent within and could dissolve its historical alliance with Anglican communities elsewhere in the world. Host Joan Cartan-Hansen speaks with Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori about this division and the role of the Episcopal Church in the world.

You can watch or listen to the program here.

PB to address National Press Club today

The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church, will address the National Press Club today at noon on Religion in the Public Square.

Minnesota Public Radio reports:

Bishop Jefferts Schori will give a speech entitled "Religion in the Public Square."

Two years ago, she was elected the church's 26th Presiding Bishop and Primate, becoming the first woman to hold the office.

Bishop Jefferts Schori serves as chief pastor to the Episcopal Church's 2.4 million members, spread across 16 countries and 110 dioceses


Listen here.

Video here.

Here is the text of the Presiding Bishop's address.

Read more »

Sally Quinn interviews Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

The Washington Post is featuring highlights from an interview with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. The full interview will presumably run soon.

Presiding Bishop visits military personnel

epiScope reports:

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is in the middle of a Pastoral visit to some American troops and Episcopal chaplains in the Washington DC area.

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Presiding Bishop interviewed by KNPR

The Presiding Bishop, Katherine Jefferts Schori, is home in Nevada for Christmas visiting family. She sat down for an hour-long interview with KNPR. Listen here.

PB concludes 3-day visit to military chaplaincies

ELO:

Jefferts Schori arrived at Bolling Air Force Base on December 20, and spent the following day there, preaching at the 8:15 a.m. service and learning about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the Rev. Michael McEwen, an Episcopal Army chaplain.

Touring the Walter Reed Army Medical Center on December 22, the Presiding Bishop spoke with soldiers who had lost limbs in service and met with the families of those suffering from traumatic brain injuries.

"It's been very, very good," Jefferts Schori said as she traversed the Pentagon's corridors with the Rt. Rev. George Packard, the Episcopal Church's bishop suffragan for chaplaincies; the Rev. Gerry Blackburn, director for federal chaplaincies; and members of the Pentagon's Episcopal community. "We had long discussions with the chaplains about the work they do."

But this day she was quiet, thoughtful.

Putting on sunglasses and turning up her collar, she stepped outside into the bright, cold morning to visit the memorial to the victims of the September 11 attack on the Pentagon.

Read it all here. Episcope has more pictures.

Earlier Cafe post here.

Presiding Bishop on Gaza attacks

A statement on the attacks in Gaza from the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church:

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Bishop Jefferts Schori's statement on Gaza fighting

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on the fighting in Gaza:

We are deeply saddened by the first-hand reports we are receiving from Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza about the casualties they are treating under the most horrific circumstances. Not only do they lack basic medical supplies, but with windows blown out they are even struggling to keep patients warm. The high number of civilian deaths and injuries, which continue to include noncombatants, women, and children, will only prolong the violence years into the future. Israel’s disproportionate response to the rockets being fired into its cities may well encourage violence beyond Gaza and Israel. The first steps toward peace will only come if all parties unite behind an immediate ceasefire. Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded the world that “an eye for an eye soon leaves the whole world blind.” May we seek to end this blinding violence.

January 5, 2009

2008 reviewed by Presiding Bishop

The Presiding Bishop, The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, reflects on this past year with Editor of Episcopal Life, Solange de Santis:

The year 2008, it seemed, was crammed more-than-usually with momentous events for the Episcopal Church and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Internationally, Anglican bishops gathered for the decennial Lambeth Conference and the church continued to work for the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals for social progress. Domestically, some members left the church due to theological differences and the church confronted its past with an apology for involvement in slavery.

As the year drew to a close, Jefferts Schori's thoughts turned toward the Middle East, where Israeli and Palestinian forces were battling in Gaza -- a place she had visited the previous spring.

On Lambeth and the Anglican Communion:

Six months later, Jefferts Schori said what continued to resonate with her was "the ability to learn about contexts in other parts of the [Anglican] Communion … what the challenges are in other dioceses, what the opportunities are … what the needs and hungers of the local population are. In most parts of the Anglican Communion, those needs and hungers are far more basic than in much of the Episcopal Church -- adequate food to eat, education for children, any semblance of health care, a peaceful society … Those are things we tend to take for granted in the United States part of this church," she said.

On the Millennium Development Goals:
Jefferts Schori said she's seen positive developments in the past year. "Every diocese I visit knows something about the MDGs; that wasn't true five years ago. Increased numbers of congregations and dioceses are building relationships with developing parts of the world. They are learning what it is like to live on less then one dollar or two dollars a day," she said.

On church growth and plans for the future of the Episcopal Church:
Recent statistics have shown that Episcopal Church membership -- along with that of some other mainline denominations -- is declining. What plans are there to address this trend? "There are many plans to address that trend. Among the new staff at church center [in New York] are ones dedicated to church planting work, one dedicated to work in evangelism, one for work with small congregations. We're going to bring aboard another person who will help to teach the rest of us and challenge the rest of us to think about emergent church models -- how the church can as a whole be more effective in presenting the gospel in language and images and idioms that can be more readily understood by new generations," she said.

On the future with those who are in disagreement with church's stance on same sex blessings and inclusion of gays and lesbians.
Is there hope for reconciliation with disaffected Episcopalians or former Episcopalians? "When we're clearer about our identity, there is abundant room for reconciliation. The challenging part of the environment is that some have said they can no longer be Episcopalians because the Episcopal Church believes 'X.' The Episcopal Church has always had a wide range of belief. The challenge comes when some find that range too wide for their own comfort. There have always been times in the church when some have decided to follow their spiritual journey in another faith community. We are embracing, we are a wide tent. If you are reasonably comfortable with that diversity, you are more then welcome," she commented.

On the passage and possible repeal of B033:
The 2006 convention passed a resolution called B033, which called upon the church to use restraint when electing and consecrating bishops "whose lifestyle poses a challenge to the wider church." It was seen as an uneasy conservative-liberal compromise and there have been calls for its repeal or modification in 2009. "I've said I don't think it's helpful to revisit B033. It is far more helpful for us to say something significant about where we are in 2009. Conventions have passed resolutions in the past and they have rarely been revisited. New resolutions have been passed that state where the church is at that point," said Jefferts Schori.

Many other items are discussed by the Presiding Bishop on the video of the interview here.

Presiding Bishop on the inauguration of Barack Obama

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori offers the following statement on the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States:

As Episcopalians, we pray for the President of the United States each time we gather for worship. In the years ahead, we will continue to pray for President Barack Obama, for his wise and inspired leadership and that he may know himself as a beloved child of God. May he both guide this nation and be a partner in leading the world to a greater justice for all.

We give abundant thanks for his historic election, and pray that his ministry may encourage others in the prophetic search for a just and peaceful world.

January 20, 2009

PB nominates Gulick as provisional bishop in Fort Worth

A press release from the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth:

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori has recommended the Rt. Rev. Edwin F. "Ted" Gulick Jr., bishop of Kentucky, to be the provisional bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth. If elected by the special meeting of the convention of the diocese, Bp. Gulick will be installed during the meeting. Bishop Gulick will serve part time as he continues to serve as bishop of Diocese of Kentucky.

The special meeting of the convention of the diocese has been called for Saturday, Feb. 7, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 3401 Bellaire Drive S., Fort Worth, 76109, because the former bishop and some diocesan leaders have left the Episcopal Church and the diocese.

Delegates also will fill other diocesan vacancies, including members of the Standing Committee, deputies to General Convention and trustees of the Corporation for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth.

Read more »

Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori preaches on Day One

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was the featured homilist on the Day One radio broadcast yesterday. Read her sermon, and see if you don't hear echoes of Bill Carroll's recent essayon the Daily Episcopalian blog.

Presiding Bishop on different understandings

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori reflects on the variety of understandings she encounters around the world. The Bible, the Prayer Book, gender and sexuality all are seen through lenses of culture:

The primates' meeting has come and gone, and I'm sure there will have been abundant commentary by the time this is published. I'd like to reflect on some of the deeper issues behind our conversations about sexuality, particularly the influence of our understanding of gender.

On gender roles she notes:
As I traveled from the airport to the hotel where we met, I noticed that almost every woman on the street past childhood was veiled, with at least her hair covered with a scarf, and in a not-small number of cases, covered head to toe in a long, flowing garment. I even observed a couple of women whose coverings were so thorough that I couldn't even see a slit for their eyes -- the fabric must have been thin enough for them to see through, but not for others to see in. The hotel had only a handful of female employees, mostly professional women who worked behind the desk. Only a couple of them wore no scarf.

The striking thing was that the meeting room where the primates' deliberations took place, the hotel's largest and principal conference room, was bedecked with several large paintings of half-naked women. It was a space that, in normal circumstances, apparently was used only by men. I found it striking that public expectations of women are modest dress and covering, yet there is evidently a rather different attitude toward men's entertainment.


During her visit to the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth she experienced more thought provoking encounters:
I had one other pertinent encounter in Fort Worth, Texas, after the primates' meeting. I was greeting a long line of people at the end of the day of the reorganizing convention for the diocese. I spoke with a man in a wheelchair who appeared to have had a stroke.

The next person in line began by telling me that the guy in the wheelchair was a retired obstetrician/gynecologist and that "he's the most interesting gay man I know, and I'm proud to call him a friend." Rather an unusual conversation starter. And then he went on to say, "All of this is really about male supremacy, isn't it?" His words, not mine, but worth consideration.


Read it all at Episcopal Life Online.

Faith in the Balance: A Call to Action

From the Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs:

A groundbreaking report, Faith in the Balance: A Call to Action, which calls on The Episcopal Church to address the issues and concerns of the poor in this country, was released today.

The report, based on the outcomes of 2008 Presiding Bishop’s Summit on Domestic Poverty, presents a Model for Domestic Poverty Alleviation, with an initial endeavor in Native American communities. This innovative Model works in tandem with the Episcopal Church’s global poverty initiatives of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Click Read more to see the full release.

Read more »

Presiding Bishop meets Pennsylvanians

For two hours on Sunday afternoon (March 30), Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori held a conversation with lay people in the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia Cathedral, listening to their views and responding to their questions about the diocese, the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

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PB: "we are going to have to pay attention to our neighbors that don't look gray and white"

Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori visited Wilmington's Cathedral Church of St. John. Her visit included an open question and answer session.

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Blessings in hard times

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori writes in Episcopal Life Online on gratitude and looking for abundance in the midst of economic hard times.

Read it all below:

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A conversation about conversation with the Presiding Bishop

Nancy Haught of the Portland Oregonian talks with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori:

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Episcopal Church disputes don't shake Presiding Bishop

Bob Smietana in the Nashville Tennessean:

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Presiding Bishop writes the church

[Episcopal News Service] Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued a letter to the church about General Convention, which was held July 8-17 at the Anaheim Convention Center in California. "Above all else, this Convention claimed God's mission as the heartbeat of The Episcopal Church," Jefferts Schori says.

The full text of the Presiding Bishop's letter follows.

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Letter from the Presiding Bishop discusses property issues

The Presiding Bishop sent a letter the bishops of the Episcopal Church late last weekend, summing up conversations held during General Convention and with her Council of Advice. In the letter she discusses the strategy that is governing the way the Episcopal Church responds to legal challenges regarding diocesan and parish property.

From her letter:

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More on the great western heresy

In the opening address at the last General Convention, Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori spoke of the "great Western heresy" of individualism and, in her view, an excessive focus on individual salvation. This made for much comment in blogs, columns and sermons ever since.

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Q and A with the Presiding Bishop

The York Daily Record interviewed the Presiding Bishop who will be visiting the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania this weekend. From a portion of the Q and A:

Q: The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the global Anglican Communion, wrote on his Web site just after the U.S. church voted to allow same-sex blessings and to gay bishops in late July.

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Presiding Bishop: 'We are all essential'

The Presiding Bishop visited the Diocese of Central PA over the weekend. Judging from the press coverage it was quite the event.

The main gathering had to be held in a Lutheran congregation in Camp Hill because of the numbers of people who were expected to attend. The 500 or so who did show up filled the nave.

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Episcopal Church Center staff respond to budget cuts

Smaller triennial budget requires new ways of working
Church Center staff discerns how best to support mission, ministry

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TEC Executive Council expresses concern with current draft of Anglican covenant

Executive Council expresses concern with covenant's disciplinary section
Response to communion outlines divergent views on current draft
By Mary Frances Schjonberg in Episcopal Life

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The PB on the proper use of salt

The Presiding Bishop was in Topeka over the weekend, preaching at Grace Cathedral on Sunday. Her sermon was based on Jesus' words in the Sermon on the Mount: "You are the salt of the Earth". She called on her hearers to use salty language when necessary to call attention to injustice. Toward the end of the sermon she pointed out the danger that salty language such as Fred Phelps (a Topeka resident) can pose as well.

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Evensong and healing the world

Mark Guydish, writing in The Times Leader of Northeastern Pennsylvania, reflects on Evensong and the Presiding Bishop's clear message of mission:

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Chicago Consultation asks PB, ABC to oppose anti-gay bill in Uganda

CHICAGO, IL, November 20, 2009—The Chicago Consultation today asked the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury; the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church; Dr. Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies; and the Most Rev. Henry Luke Orombi, Primate of the Anglican Church of Uganda, to speak out against draconian anti-gay legislation introduced in the Ugandan Parliament last month.

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Advent message from the Presiding Bishop

An Advent message from the Presiding Bishop:

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PB interviewed on NPR in Atlanta

The Presiding Bishop was interviewed on the Atlanta National Public Radio affiliate on the state of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion:

from WABE in ATLANTA, GA

6 years ago, Eugene Robinson became the first openly gay Episcopal bishop. But internal battles continue. Some parishes left the church, to join other parts of the Anglican Communion. This summer, the church's General Convention resolved that the screening process for new bishops is open to gays and lesbians. Two years ago, Episcopal leaders had said they'd hold off on gay bishops. Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told WABE's Denis O'Hayer that's not a contradiction.

Listen to the interview

Presiding Bishop speaks out on Uganda anti-gay law

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued a statement expressing concern about the pending Ugandan legislation that would introduce the death penalty for people who violate portions of that country's anti-homosexuality laws.

Here is the full statement from Episcopal News Service:

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Presiding Bishop's Christmas Message

The Presiding Bishop's annual message for Christmas was published this morning.

Jesus is already abroad, even in the darkness. The hungry one fed, the street people who have their feet cared for, the humble and honored guest at your dinner table – each one offers a glimpse of that dawn, if you look closely enough.

The full message follows:

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Bishops debate in Dallas

Bishop Stanton, the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, recently invited the Presiding Bishop and retired Episcopal bishop Bill Frey to debate their understandings of how we are saved by God and the role of Jesus in that work. There have been charges that the Presiding Bishop doesn't hew sufficiently to the idea that Jesus is the definitive savior of the world.

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PB increases her attention

Over the years you may have encountered snarky comments around the web about our presiding bishop's pattern of doing embroidery in meetings. Katharine Jefferts Schori has embroidered at primates meetings, in the House of Bishops and elsewhere. The gist of the snarky comments is that she's not listening, and is communicating that she is bored.

In fact, she may be doing needle work to intentionally increase her attention to what is transpiring.

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Presiding Bishop in Liberia

Episcopal Life Online reporter, Lynette Wilson, on Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in LIberia:

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Decoding the Anglican Covenant by Lionel Diemel

Lionel Diemel takes a stab at decoding the controversial Section 4 of the Anglican covenant, and even offers some quite interesting diagrams to try to answer the $64,000 question of, "What would really happen when serious disagreements arise among churches of the Anglican Communion?" Curious? Read on.

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Our hearts are broken

The Presiding Bishop joined Bishop of Washington John Bryson Chane, Cathedral Dean Samuel T. Lloyd III, The Honorable Susan E. Rice, US Ambassador to the United Nations, His Excellency Raymond Alcide Joseph, Ambassador of Haiti, and others at "Strength through Unity -- L'Union fait la Force: A Service of Prayer for Haiti" at Washington National Cathedral. From Episcopal News Service:

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PB: "Haiti has already experienced Good Friday"

Bishop Duracin and I talked about foregoing Lent this year, for Haiti has already experienced Good Friday. Their task is to practice resurrection, find hope, and dream together of a restored world. That is our own task as well. The nations of the world, under Haiti's direction, can help to rebuild a stronger and freer nation, where all people have hope of a more abundant life. - The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church.

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Presiding Bishop: Easter 2010

An Easter message from The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori:

Easter 2010

The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. (Isa 9:2; Matt 4:16)

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Presiding Bishop featured on VOA

Voice of America brings the story of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to its listeners around the world:

It's been a busy year for Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

The presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, Jefferts Schori is the first woman ever elected chief pastor of that denomination, which has over two million members in 16 countries.

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PB at the Scottish Episcopal Church synod

Raspberry Rabbit has an audio of Katharine Jefferts Schori's address to the synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Listen to it here.

PB at Middle East Prayer Breakfast

From ENS the speech of the Presiding Bishop at the Congressional Prayer Breakfast for Peace in the MIddle East:

“We are urgently committed to helping to build a society of peace with justice.”

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PB calls for Justice, Dignity and Equality for immigrants

From ENS - the Presiding Bishop speaks on Immigration today in Washington, DC

[June 15, 2010] “The Episcopal Church seeks justice, dignity, and equality in these matters, and we will partner with any and all who share those values and priorities,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said at the Brookings Institute in Washington DC on June 15.

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PB gives steady, expansive interview in Raleigh

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was her usual steady self in an interview with David Crabtree of WRAL TV, himself an Episcopalian. The interview touched on the ecological devastation of the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the still-spreading BP oil spill, earthquake recovery efforts in Haiti; relationships in the Anglican Communion, and "mitregate", which she said was not painful, but was "silly."

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PB visits Australia and New Zealand

Episcopal News Service reports that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will be visiting the Anglican churches in Australia and New Zealand over the next two weeks.

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'In my cathedral you can wear your mitre' -- NZ bishop to PB

As mentioned here late last week, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is spending a fortnight visiting Anglican churches in Australia and New Zealand. Her first Sunday looks to have been a fruitful one.

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The Gospel is straightforward when you reason about it

Our presiding bishop preached in Brisbane, Australia on July 4th. While she was at it our Katharine showed her oceanographer's teeth, too. Here's some of what she had to say:

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PB preaches in London

The Presiding Bishop preached yesterday at St. Paul's Cathedral in London, England and challenged her hearers to speak out with a prophetic voice against the injustice in the world:

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Webcast: Conversation with PB set for Wednesday

The Corvallis, Oregon, Gazette Times, reports on the interactive webcast with the Presiding Bishop set for Wednesday July 28 at 3 P.M. EDT:

Featured topics will include the Anglican Communion, the environment, domestic poverty, immigration and Haiti.

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PB offers webcast

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, offered a webcast yesterday in New York City:

Presiding bishop featured in wide-ranging live webcast
From Episcopal News Service

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A very busy Presiding Bishop

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church is not letting any grass grow under her feet. She's a keynote speaker at a number of conferences, all of which will give her a chance to speak about our faith in Jesus to the leaders of this nation.

The Episcopal News Service has the details:

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Presiding Bishop among interfaith leaders gathered to ponder happiness

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori today joined His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, and George Washington University Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr at Emory University for an interfaith summit, "Understanding and Promoting Happiness in Today's Society."

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"Suicide by governance"?

Updated at 1 pm: Executive Council discussed the Presiding Bishop's opening statement of yesterday in an open session today. Details to come.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori made some provocative remarks in her opening statement to the meeting of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church, which concludes today in Salt Lake City. ENS has the story.

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Executive Council talks it out

Updated with Mary Frances Schjonberg's story:

The Episcopal Church's Executive Council Oct. 25 approved a reduced 2011 budget for the church and continued a discussion of church governance begun the day before. The 2011 budget is five percent lower than the version adopted by General Convention in 2009.

The budget decision came during the council's final sessions of its Oct. 23-25 meeting here.

Council spent more than a half hour discussing Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's remarks from the previous day concerning the tensions inherent in the Episcopal Church's governance structure. Twelve members of council spoke during the conversation.

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Open meetings

Last weeks’ meeting of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church sparked more conversation than such meeting usually do, much of it about Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s remarks about church governance and the debate about the manner in which the church should carry its debt.

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Presiding Bishop's Advent Message

Advent and prayer:

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Faith, science and the healing of our world

Today, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will spend time in Chicago focusing on the faith, medical science and the healing of our world.

The Chicago Tribune reports on two events taking place today: a lecture at Rush University Medical Center where she will describe the healing ministries of the Episcopal Church around the globe, and her participation in the ordination of Carol Reese, a trauma chaplain at Stroger Hospital, to the priesthood.

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Presiding Bishop's Christmas Message

UPDATED: with Spanish version

Christmas 2010
A message from the presiding bishop

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. —Isaiah 9:2

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PB writes to Obama

The Presiding Bishop wrote to President Obama on January 16th urging him to revive stalled middle east peace process and to not veto an upcoming UN resolution on Israeli settlements in occupied territory.

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She's good at this

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori sat for an interview with the Houston Chronicle during a recent visit to Texas. As usual, she acquits herself--and represents our church--well.

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PB statement on David Kato's murder

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has released a statement from Dublin on the death of human rights activist David Kato saying “His murder deprives his people of a significant and effective voice.”

Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori’s statement:

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In Dublin, Presiding Bishop's mitre stays on

In Dublin for the meeting of primates, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preached at Christ Church Cathedral Sunday.

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PB reflects, Primates expound: video from the Primates meeting

In this two minute clip, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori says the Primates Meeting in Dublin was "wonderful" and "filled with grace." She said the Primates have arrived at a clear sense of how they will work together, and that she hopes the primates who boycotted this meeting will "come back to the table."

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Light meets bushel in the Diocese of Albany

The Rt. Rev. William Love of the Diocese of Albany is in a quandary. The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, who is extremely popular with the faithful, but not with Bishop Love and the leaders of his diocese, is coming to town. He can't tell her to stay home--the visit is canonically mandated--but he doesn't want her appearance to energize the moderate and progressive Episcopalians who constitute a far larger portion of his diocese than he would like to admit. What to do?

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Presiding Bishop on Lent

Noting that the season of Lent has traditionally been in “solidarity with those to be baptized,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori offers an invitation to deepen our Christian practices in her Lent 2011 message. While challenging us to “be attentive to how you live on this earth” with respect to our uses of resources, such as water and fuel, the Presiding Bishop asks if we are like Jesus Christ: “Are you traveling light on the earth?”

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PB: Practice solidarity with others

In her message for Lent, the Presiding Bishop encourages to practice solidarity:

"I would encourage you this year to expand the realm of that practice; to think about your solidarity with those who walk the way of Christ, with those who walk the way of Jesus, in particular concern for those beyond your local community.

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Happy Birthday to Katharine Jefferts Schori

We understand a certain Presiding Bishop has a birthday today. She has the Café's best wishes!

Rather than ask "How old are you now?" we're wondering what she's wishing for as she blows out candles at the House of Bishops meeting in North Carolina. We'll leave the speculation to you.

The Presiding Bishop's Easter message

Episcopal News Service:

The Resurrection must be understood in significantly different images and metaphors in the southern hemisphere, when Easter always arrives in the transition from summer to winter.

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Repenting the sin of racism

From Episcopal News Service:

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori celebrated and preached at a Service of Repentance, Healing and Reconciliation April 9 at Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Asheville, marking the end of a two-year period of study and conversation on the sin of racism in the Diocese of Western North Carolina.

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Presiding Bishop visits Pittsburgh

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori visited the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh:

Episcopal bishop juggles rift, ministry
In the Pittsburgh Post Gazette (PA)

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Presiding Bishop on the future of "catholic beyond boundaries" churches

The Presiding Bishop is in Utrecht this week, preaching, delivering the annual Quasimodo lecture and representing the Episcopal Church. The Old Catholic Church, which was formed by elements of the Roman Catholic Church that could not accept the doctrine of Papal Infallibility, has its historic center in the Netherlands at Utrecht. They are one of the Episcopal Church's oldest full communion partners.

From the ENS report:

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The Church waits for answer from Presiding Bishop

Questions remain unanswered surrounding the Presiding Bishop's knowledge of the sexual-abuse history of a Catholic priest she made an Episcopal priest while bishop of Nevada. Her office refers questions to the Diocese of Nevada. The Bishop of Nevada has issued this statement:

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The time has come for transparency in the handling of abuse cases

On June 24, Bishop Paul Marshall of Bethlehem left a comment on at item on The Lead that concerned the case of the Rev. Bede Parry, an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Nevada who had sexually abused young men in his charge while a Catholic monk.

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Second lawsuit filed against Parry's former abbey

The Kansas City Star has the story:


A second lawsuit has been filed against a northwest Missouri abbey alleging cover-up of sexual abuse by a former monk who directed its boys’ choir in the 1980s.

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Presiding Bishop sees seeds of hope in the Congo

The Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Revs. Margaret Rose, associate director for mission, and Petero Sabune, Africa partnerships officer, have been visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo and the programs of the church that are helping women and children to recover from the trauma of rape used as a weapon of war.

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'Shalom, salaam, may your peaceful kingdom come' - Presiding Bishop preaching in New York City

At St. Paul’s Chapel in the shadow of Ground Zero, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said at the 7:30 am service:

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The Presiding Bishop wins praise from the right

Here is something you don't see every day. Or, for that matter, any day. A writer from the National Review liked the sermon that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori gave yesterday at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.

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Presiding Bishop preaches in Quito

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preaches Sept. 18 at Catedral de El Señor in Quito, Ecuador, on the fourth day of the House of Bishops' fall meeting.

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A lead is not a story: more on the Bede Parry case

A story has been making the rounds in the last few days that purports to demonstrate that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori knew that the Bede Parry, a former Roman Catholic monk, had sexually abused minors and was likely to do so again when she received him as a priest into the Episcopal Church while she was serving as the Bishop of Nevada.

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Bede Parry confesses

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests has released a confession apparently written in May by Bede Parry, the former Benedictine monk and Episcopal priest who sexually abused minors while a monk. The confession was obtained by clergy abuse survivor Patrick Marker who runs a website called Behind the Pine Curtain.

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Presiding Bishop on Occupy(ing Churches)

A sermon from November 18th by The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church, at Christ Church Cathedral, St. Louis.

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Dioceses respond cautiously to latest letter from Church of Sudan

Episcopal dioceses that have relationships with the Episcopal Church of Sudan have begun to respond to a letter recently released by Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, in which he rescinded an invitation to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori to visit with his church.

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Presiding Bishop to preach on CBS

Episcopal News Service reports that the Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will preach at the Christmas Eve service to be broadcast on CBS. The service will air from General Theological Seminary:

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Video of GTS, +KJS on CBS

In case you missed it, here is the video of the service broadcast on CBS on Christmas Eve from General Theological Seminary with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preaching.

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PB interviewed on LCMS radio

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is interviewed by Pastor Todd Wilkens on the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod radio program "Issues etc."

You can listen to her conversation here.

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Must the PB be CEO?

In commenting on an earlier item at the Cafe, Lionel Deimel asked:

Why should our church be led by a bishop? I would feel very much better if our highest officer was a layperson. The Church does not exist for the benefit of clergy. Moreover, experience suggests that most mischief in the Church is initiated by bishops.

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A Katharine Jefferts Schori doll? Why didn't we think of that?

Word that Iran is cracking down on stores selling Barbie dolls has Leesha Faulkner thinking...

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A one-sided conversation about reform

I continue to be dismayed by the manner in which Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the Rt. Rev. Stacy Sauls, formerly Bishop of Lexington, and now chief operating officer of the Episcopal Church, are pursuing their efforts to reform the structures of the church. Bishop Sauls has proposed legislation requesting that a special committee be created to devise resolutions regarding the restructuring of the church, and that this committee’s recommendations then be debated at a special General Convention to be held before the date of the next regularly scheduled General Convention in 2015.

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What the PB and Bishop Sauls misunderstand about mission

One of the more thoughtful critiques of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bishop Stacy Sauls' plan for restructuring the Episcopal Church in ways that would vest more authority in the offices they currently hold, was written by Tobias Haller. He is particularly good on the two bishops' faulty understanding of mission, a word they use as a weapon against those who think it is worth spending money to include clergy and lay people in the decision making bodies of the church.

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Lenten Message from the Presiding Bishop

From Episcopal News Service

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori invites a focus on the Millennium Development Goals for Lent 2012.

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Katharine Jefferts Schori: faith and culture

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori discusses contemporary issues and the church with the Huffington Post:

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A dream of holy community

The Episcopal News Services reports a three day visit to the the U.S.-Mexico border between Arizona and Sonora by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

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What the PB is saying at provincial synods

The presentation that Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is making at provincial synods is now online. Here is an excerpt, what do you think about it?

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Presiding Bishop on communion and baptism: 'Don't separate them.'

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori believes that the sacraments of communion and baptism should not be separated. At a townhall meeting in North Carolina a few months ago, she said, "If we're aware that there are people coming to the table who have not been baptized, it's time to do something.

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A brief commentary on the budget commentary

Late Friday afternoon the Episcopal Church’s Office of Public Affairs released a commentary on the church’s draft budget including a foreword by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, commentary by Bishop Stacy Sauls, the church’s chief operating officer, and a line-by-line explanation of the budget produced by Kurt Barnes, the church’s treasurer, in consultation with Bishop Sauls.

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102 Episcopal bishops ask Obama to intervene in Gaza hospital crisis

From the Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs:

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Breaking: Presiding Bishop releases her own budget

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has released her own budget, developed in consultation with the Church Center staff as an alternative to the budget developed by Executive Council and currently under consideration by the legislative committee on Program, Budget and Finance.

It is not clear if members of Executive Council members or members of PB & F were aware that an alternative budget was under development.

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Executive Council, the PB, the COO and the budget: one member's story

Katie Sherrod, a member of Executive Council, and one of the people most responsible for keeping the Episcopal faith alive in the Diocese of Fort Worth has written an anguished in-depth account of her experiences on Executive Council during the development of the draft budget for 2012-2015:

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Presiding Bishop preaches opening Eucharist

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori preached at the General Convention opening Eucharist. From Episcopal News Service:

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Presiding Bishop promotes 2012 'Hours Against Hate'

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is among leaders touting 2012 Hours Against Hate, a U.S. State Department initiative to promote diversity:

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Presiding Bishop asks candidates to address Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Dear Mr. President and Governor Romney,

As each of you prepares for the two remaining presidential debates, I write to urge you to use the debate forum to articulate strong support for a just and peaceful resolution to the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as a clear plan for how you would work to support that goal in the next four years.

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PB clarifies comment on 'thick' interpretion of General Convention

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said earlier this week that Executive Council members "can't always take General Convention decisions literally." Asked about this at a press conference today, she offered some clarification. From Episcopal News Service:

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The saints we celebrate today are lamps along the way

The Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs has released Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's sermon at Waikato Cathedral Church of St. Peter in Hamilton, New Zealand. She said in part: “The saints we celebrate today are lamps along the way – the lights of every generation who let us see that living presence in our midst.

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Bishop urges both sides in SC to 'step back from the brink'

Bishop Dan Martins of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, blogs today about the situation in the fractured Diocese of South Carolina, asking both sides to "step back from the brink." (He has received a response from the Presiding Bishop that no one in her office has in fact made any declarations of vacancy regarding the Diocese.) To the Diocese of South Carolina, meeting in convention this Saturday, he writes:

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Presiding Bishop issues pastoral letter to South Carolina

The Presiding Bishop the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued a letter regarding the Diocese of South Carolina:

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Next PB nomination committee announces Facebook and Twitter links

The Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop in the interest of better communication about the process and progress of nominations for the election of a new Presiding Bishop has opened a
Facebook page and a Twitter account. You can "like" the Facebook page to receive messages from the Committee and follow them on Twitter. Their hashtag is #JNCPB.

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Christmas message from the Presiding Bishop

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori issued her 2012 Christmas message today:

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined. Isaiah 9:2

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Presiding Bishop journeys to Jerusalem for Christmas

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will celebrate Christmas in Jerusalem, preaching at Midnight Mass Dec. 24 at St. George's Cathedral. From Episcopal News Service:

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Presiding Bishop's Christmas Eve Sermon

“A child is born, a prince of peace who will establish justice, here and around this earth,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said in her sermon on Christmas Eve, December 24 from St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem.

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Letter on TEC's Middle East policy stirs controversy

From Episcopal News Service:

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Tutu, Anderson, others urges Executive Council to "hold Israel accountable"

Last night the Cafe published a story from Episcopal News Service that began:

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Presiding Bishop: Please join Monday push for sensible gun laws

From the Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs:

[February 1, 2013] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued the following statement. ______________________________________________

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Don't forget to call your congressional representatives tomorrow

A reminder: Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and other leaders of the Episcopal Church have urged Episcopalians to contact their congressional representatives tomorrow on Interfaith Call in Day to prevent Gun Violence.

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PB to host online forum on human trafficking

Media release from The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs:

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Presiding Bishop submits testimony on gun legislation

From The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs:

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But will she wear her mitre?

The Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will attend the enthronement of the new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. From Episcopal News Service:

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Presiding Bishop to visit Central Florida

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will visit the Diocese of Central Florida March 3 through 5, at the invitation of Bishop Gregory Brewer, according to a release from the Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs. She will meet with clergy of the diocese on March 5 from 10 a.m. through lunchtime, a meeting the bishop wishes all clergy to attend. It's interesting to note that the bishop asks to be informed if any clergy wish to be excused "because of conscience."

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PB nominating committee seeking input

The group charged with nominating the next Presiding Bishop is soliciting comments to specific questions prior to its next meeting on March 18.

From the Office of Public Affairs:

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Presiding bishop on the enthronement of Justin Welby

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori describes the enthronement of Archbishop Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury.

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Presiding Bishop offers keynote at Worldwide Anglican Peace Conference

From the Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs:

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Jefferts Schori, other leaders, meet to promote civil discourse

From Religion News Service:

WASHINGTON -- Twenty-five top Christian leaders gathered in the U.S. city with perhaps the worst reputation for civil discourse Wednesday (May 15) and committed themselves to elevating the level of public conversation.

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Executive Council: Opening remarks from the PB and PHoD

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, Presiding of the House of Deputies, have given opening remarks at the meeting of the Episcopal Church's Executive Council, in session until Monday near Baltimore.

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Next Presiding Bishop: caretaker or visionary?

The Rev. Susan Snook and Dean Tom Ferguson offer differing perspectives on the election of the next Presiding Bishop and the work of restructuring the church.

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Presiding Bishop's sermon controversy

Back in May, the Presiding Bishop preached a sermon in Curaçao that made waves around the blogosphere, setting some people's hair on fire.

The New York Times tells the story:

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Presiding Bishop joins the Social Media world

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has joined the world of social media, opening Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can find her on Facebook here and on Twitter @KJeffertsSchori.

What quality and skills would you most value in the next PB?

The Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of a Presiding Bishop is asking for your opinion.

They write:

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Presiding Bishop issues statement on Syria

The Presiding Bishop has issued this statement on the situation in Syria.

The situation in Syria continues to evolve. The death and violence that have been wrought on the Syrian people are a humanitarian tragedy of the first order. I do not believe further violence is likely to end the tragedy, but rather seems likely to increase or prolong the disaster. I applaud President Obama's restraint and willingness to look for diplomatic solutions -- changing position requires courage of the first order. It is a sign of profoundly care-filled leadership both to test the possibility of other, more creative and life-giving solutions and to put the needs of vulnerable populations ahead of one's own image or reputation.

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Faith leaders hit the Hill to lobby for immigration reform

More than 300 faith leaders from 39 states will be visiting members of Congress on Capitol Hill today to push for comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform. The group includes Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies.

Lynette Wilson of Episcopal News Service has the story:

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Presiding Bishop, UTO president statement

A statement from the Presiding Bishop and the President of the UTO Board:

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Advent Message from the Presiding Bishop

An Advent message from the Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori:

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Joint Nominating Committee for Next Presiding Bishop update

The Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Next Presiding Bishop has issued a report of their work to date onEpiscopal News Service:

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Presiding Bishop preaches on racial reconciliation

The Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preached at the Cathedral in New Orleans at their Service of Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation. Episcopal News Service publishes her sermon:

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Presiding Bishop honored by Oxford Univesity

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori will receive an honorary degree at the University of Oxford in June. The Archbishop of Canterbury immediately welcomed the news as "a powerful model for women seeking to pursue their vocations in the church."

From the Univeristy's web-site:

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Re-imagining the Office of Presiding Bishop

The history of the Office of the Presiding Bishop (PB) shows a variety of configurations and responsibilities as well as length of term. Currently the Presiding Bishop is the chief pastor and primate of the national church and its nine ecclesiastical provinces, is charged with responsibility for leadership in initiating, developing, and articulating policy and strategy, overseeing the administration of the national church staff, and speaking for the church on issues of concern and interest. She is the President of the House of Bishops and is elected by the church's General Convention to serve a nine-year term. (from the Constitution and Canons) As the Task Force for Re-imagining the Episcopal Church (TREC) looks at various models of doing church, one wonders how our leadership model might change. As TREC reports to General Convention 2015 and we elect a new Presiding Bishop (or re-elect the current one), is this the time to make changes?

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Presiding bishop on science, creation and meaning

Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, a gifted scientist, offered words of wisdom this week as the C.S. Lewis Legacy Lecturer at Westminster College:

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A call to peace and prayer in Ukraine

A call to peace and prayer for Ukraine

From the heads of The Anglican Church of Canada, The Episcopal Church, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada


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More thoughts on TREC: What is the proper role of the Presiding Bishop?

In its recent paper on church governance and administration, the Task Force for Reimagining the Episcopal Church (TREC) suggests three models in which executive authority in the Episcopal Church might be configured.

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Presiding Bishop joins letters promoting two-state framework in Middle East

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has in recent weeks signed on to two letters to Secretary of State John Kerry that seek to support the current negotiations toward a framework for a two-state solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

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Easter message from the Presiding Bishop

The Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori Easter Message from Episcopal News Service:

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Presiding Bishop visits Nashotah House

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori visited Nashotah House yesterday. It was a visit marked by controversy since the board consists of both Episcopalians and members of churches that broke away from the Episcopal Church.

Still, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports, she was received graciously by the seminary community.

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Joint Nominating Committee provides update, first essay

Press release by The Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs concerning the election of the 27th Presiding Bishop at General Convention in 2015:

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Democracy, the church and the "long process of liberation."

The Church Times interviewed Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. She makes an observation that is interesting to ponder on this Independence Day.

She sets out her view of the Episcopal Church's history and charism: ever-widening circles of inclusion into the full life of the Church. A path that parallels the struggles and tensions throughout our nation's history.

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Presiding Bishop urges humanitarian response to crisis of children at the border

From the Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs via email:


[July 10, 2014] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued the following statement on the current crisis of unaccompanied children and families at the United States border.

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Presiding officers to create General Convention committee on marriage

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies sent the follow letter yesterday through the General Convention office to all deputies and bishops.

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Who should exercise day-to-day authority in Episcopal Church governance?

As the 2015 General Convention draws closer it may be time for another look at three scenarios describing how executive authority over the day to day operations of the Episcopal Church might be constituted. These scenarios are excerpted from the Taskforce for Reimagining the Episcopal Church's paper on governance and administration.

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Presiding Bishop among 12 women who shaped Christianity

The Telegraph names The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church as one of 12 women who shaped Christianity:

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Joint PB Nominating Committee releases 2nd essay.

The Joint Nominating Committee for the Next Presiding Bishop has released the 2nd in its series of essays on the Office of Presiding Bishop:

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PB Katharine Jefferts Schori: seeking equality and justice for all

jeffertsschori_300_0-1.jpgThe Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori writes in the Huffington Post about equality and the recent rulings against contraception coverage and other women's health issues:

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3rd Essay from the Jt Nominating Committee for the Next PB

PB27.jpg"This essay discusses how the constitutional/canonical role of the office has changed and evolved from being the senior bishop by consecration who presides over meetings of the House of Bishops to the complex multifaceted position it is today.

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Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop calls for prayer for Iraq

From The Episcopal Church, Office of Public Affairs, Tuesday, August 12, 2014:

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Call for nominees for next Presiding Bishop

The Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop calls for nominees

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