Fifty bishops and young adults, from 14 dioceses representing the Episcopal Church’s eight domestic provinces, gathered in Washington, D.C. recently to learn how to navigate the legislative process.
With the House in recess, bishops and young adults met with senators and their staffers to talk specifically about six poverty-alleviation programs in the discretionary budget: supplemental nutrition; Meals on Wheels and other community-based supports for vulnerable seniors; federal unemployment benefits and allowances; Head Start and other education programs; low-income housing assistance and homelessness prevention; and the Second Chance Act, aimed at helping formerly incarcerated individuals rebuild their lives.
“We’re here today to bear the Rock of Ages up this hill,” said Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori in a May 14 sermon preached at the start of the legislative lobbying day at the United Methodist Building’s Simpson Memorial Chapel across from the Capitol. “All Jesus’ followers are meant to be climbing up the hill to spread a vision of eternal and abundant life. And we also claim the hope that there will eventually be an end to climbing up the hill.
“Remember that none of us goes alone to this task – we go in company, as part of the body of Christ, and the company of all faithful people seeking that eternal vision of holy and healed community.”