Bishops “accept” statements on prominent cultural debates

by

The House of Bishops has been meeting together, in retreat, in Texas.  Yesterday they accepted two statements, addressing gun violence and sexual harassment and gender bias.  It is not clear what, if anything, this “acceptance” means.

 

In their statement on sexual harassment and gender bias they acknowledged that some few of them are women and that these women have faced bias and harassment within the church.

“Many of us have experienced sexual harassment and perhaps sexual violence. Bishops who are women know the “me-too” experience. Some bishops who are men know it as well. We live with different experiences of the cultural endowment of power. We know the Church has fallen short of our responsibility to listen and respond. In this time of heightened awareness it is with greater intention that we now invite the church to a deeper examination of what God intends for our relationships.”

 

The “action” they did commit too is a listening process at General Convention, to last for a whole hour and forty-five minutes – at dinner time – on one day.

“We will offer a listening process in an open meeting at General Convention to hear more fully the stories of those who have been victims of sexual harassment and violence in the church. The date and time is July 4, 5:15 pm to 7:00 pm in the House of Bishops convention meeting space.”

 

Many bishops have shown leadership in addressing gun violence, both individually and through Bishops United Against Gun Violence.  Collectively though, they acknowledged that their actions don’t seem to be actually moving the debate along;

“At this critical moment young people of the United States are inviting us to turn away from the nightmare of gun violence to the dream of choosing life.  The young people of Parkland, Florida are calling for elected officials to:

   -ban the sale of assault weapons

   -prohibit the sale of high capacity magazines

   -close loopholes in background checks

Others are seeking to:

   -ban the sale of bump stocks

   -raise the age to 21 years to purchase firearms

   -challenge the National Rifle Association to support safe gun legislation.

 We, the bishops of The Episcopal Church, wholeheartedly support and join with the youth in this call to action.”

 

While acknowledging that youth of color have long been working to address the issue without their support, the Bishops have now decided to support the youth actions inspired teens from Parkland, FL.

“At the same time, we acknowledge that black and brown youth have continuously challenged the United States to address the gun violence that they and their communities are experiencing.  We repent that, as bishops, we have failed to heed their call.

As bishops we commit to following the youth of the United States in their prophetic leadership.”

 

The debates related to gun violence in the U.S. have been divisive and activism in favor of limiting access to weapons and increased fire power largely ineffective.  It isn’t a surprise that those same divisions are present in the church and likely among the bishops.  Bishops Against Gun Violence lists fewer than sixty active bishops among their ranks.  So again, their call to action is primarily symbolic and limited, and it isn’t clear whether all the bishops are committing themselves even to this or just those aligned with Bishops Against Gun Violence;

“To that end we will observe a day of Lament and Action on March 14, one month to the day after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. (Bishops United Against Gun Violence)  We pledge ourselves, and we invite our dioceses, to participate in the “March for our Lives” on March 24 in Washington DC and in cities and towns across the United States.”

 

The full text of the bishop’s statements are below.

 


Statement on Gun Violence

 

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Choose life so that you and your descendants may live.”  (Deuteronomy 30:19)

At this critical moment young people of the United States are inviting us to turn away from the nightmare of gun violence to the dream of choosing life.  The young people of Parkland, Florida are calling for elected officials to:

  • ban the sale of assault weapons
  • prohibit the sale of high capacity magazines
  • close loopholes in background checks

Others are seeking to:

  • ban the sale of bump stocks
  • raise the age to 21 years to purchase firearms
  • challenge the National Rifle Association to support safe gun legislation.

We, the bishops of The Episcopal Church, wholeheartedly support and join with the youth in this call to action.

At the same time, we acknowledge that black and brown youth have continuously challenged the United States to address the gun violence that they and their communities are experiencing.  We repent that, as bishops, we have failed to heed their call.

As bishops we commit to following the youth of the United States in their prophetic leadership.  To that end we will observe a day of Lament and Action on March 14, one month to the day after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.(Bishops United Against Gun Violence)  We pledge ourselves, and we invite our dioceses, to participate in the “March for our Lives” on March 24 in Washington DC and in cities and towns across the United States.  We recognize the urgency of this moment and we recommit to working for safe gun legislation as our church has called for in multiple General Convention resolutions. In addition, we pledge ourselves to bring the values of the gospel to bear on a society that increasingly glorifies violence and trivializes the sacredness of every human life.

We will walk with the youth of the United States today and into the future in choosing life.

 

 


Statement on Sexual Harassment, Gender Violence

This is the first time the House of Bishops has met as a body since the #MeToo movement began last fall, bringing to light the reality of sexual harassment, gender-based violence, and the cultural stronghold of gender bias and inequity. We continue our own work of reconciliation within our branch of God’s Church, honoring what we have learned and accomplished, as well as acknowledging the distance we still must travel. Reconciliation is the long work of healing offered by the Spirit, made possible by grace, which requires our truth-telling and repentance.

Many of us have experienced sexual harassment and perhaps sexual violence. Bishops who are women know the “me-too” experience. Some bishops who are men know it as well. We live with different experiences of the cultural endowment of power. We know the Church has fallen short of our responsibility to listen and respond. In this time of heightened awareness it is with greater intention that we now invite the church to a deeper examination of what God intends for our relationships.

This work will take courage. As many women and men bravely come forward to speak the truth of their experience, courageous men and women will listen, where appropriate repent, and take an active role in repairing the brokenness, working to change the culture of our church.

We will offer a listening process in an open meeting at General Convention to hear more fully the stories of those who have been victims of sexual harassment and violence in the church. The date and time is July 4, 5:15 pm to 7:00 pm in the House of Bishops convention meeting space. The design of this process is being developed. Further details will be posted via social media and through Episcopal news outlets.

Together women and men can form partnerships for reconciliation.  We seek a more faithful, just and holy life together. We welcome the Spirit’s renewing work among us as we seek faithfully to walk in the way of Jesus.

Dislike (3)
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Isabel+Steilberg
Guest
Isabel+Steilberg

And their action will be....?

Like (1)
Dislike (0)
Isabel+Steilberg
Guest
Isabel+Steilberg

And their action will be.....?

Like (1)
Dislike (0)
Fr. Will McQueen
Guest
Fr. Will McQueen

“We will walk with the youth of the United States today and into the future in choosing life.”

Too bad these bishops don’t apply this statement to the unborn.

Like (4)
Dislike (1)
Rev. Henry Galganowicz
Guest
Rev. Henry Galganowicz

Doesn't sound much better than our politicians.

Like (4)
Dislike (1)
Ann Fontaine
Member

An hour and 45 minutes - hahaha. Very serious to them Also at same time as the UBE 50th anniversary gala. No safeguards, no boundaries -- sounds like more abuse

Like (2)
Dislike (3)