Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Florida: U.S. Episcopal Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori visits Bethesda-by-the-Sea parish in Palm Beach

From the Palm Beach Daily News [boldface mine]:

. . . But tellingly, The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori defines herself as a peacemaker.

As presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States since June 2006, she has had to put her diplomatic skills to the test time and again.

The election in 2003 of the Rev. Gene Robinson — an openly gay, non-celibate man — as bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire provided impetus for revolt by conservatives within the church. Some have left the church, with some congregations aligning themselves with bishops in other parts of the Anglican Communion outside the United States.

In a news conference Tuesday before leading a Holy Eucharist service at The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea, Jefferts Schori said those opposing Robinson's elevation represent a small minority of the church's 2.1 million members.

Hey, at least they're starting to revise the 2.4 million number we see all the time.
"The reality is there is a small segment of the Episcopal Church that is very upset about issues of sexuality," Jefferts Schori said. "But it's small. It's very noisy.

"My sense is the vast majority in the middle of the spectrum in the Episcopal Church may or may not agree with the decisions of the general convention about issues of human sexuality, but they see other things are far more important to their identity as Episcopalians, to their mission in ministry as Episcopalians in the world. And they are going to live with it and keep moving.". . .

For most members of the church, there are far more pressing issues, Jefferts Schori said.

The moral issues of the day include "how we deal with the other, however we define that. Our current state of war. Conditions of poverty in this country and around the world. How we treat the Earth," Jefferts Schori said. "And all those things are interrelated.". . .

I'm sorry, but I have no idea what she is talking about when she talks about "the other" - does she just mean other people, that may or may not be like me? If so, just say so - I feel like I'm reading Joseph Conrad's The Secret Sharer and "the other" is my doppelgänger.
Asked whether people are resistant to what could be called a progressive agenda, the bishop said she wouldn't put a label on the church's charitable works.

"It's about loving our neighbors. It's taken us 3,000 years, and we are still not doing a perfect job of it," she said.

Where is she getting 3,000 years? What does that number represent?
With membership at many mainline denominations dropping in recent years, Jefferts Schori said the church needs to find new ways to meet the spiritual needs of society at large.

Some churches are emphasizing traditional services and seeing an increase in young members as a result, she said. Others are creating their own music for worship.

"Spiritual hunger in people is never going to go away," the bishop said. "It only deepens in times that are as stressful as these.". . .

Read it all.

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