Saturday, April 05, 2008

San Diego: Bishop delivers a message of unity (but may have denied the Resurrection)

From the North County [San Diego] Times [boldface mine] (I think the Presiding Bishop just denied the Resurrection, if the quote attributed to her below is correct):

While media attention on the Episcopal Church has focused on a schism in recent years, unity and optimism were the messages Saturday when Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori spoke in San Diego to hundreds of congregants from throughout the county.

"I see a glorious future," Jefferts Schori said, when asked about the Episcopal Church during an afternoon talk at Good Samaritan Episcopal Church in University City. . .

Oceanside, Fallbrook and Rancho Penasquitos also saw congregations leave the San Diego Episcopal diocese, while churches in San Marcos and Vista lost priests who left to join churches aligned with foreign-based Anglican dioceses.

Nationwide, however, the schism has only affected about 1 percent of 7,600 Episcopal congregations, Jefferts Schori said. . . .

Bishop James Mathes of the San Diego Diocese noted that since Grace Episcopal Church in San Marcos lost its priest and some congregants in September 2006, it has grown by 70 percent to 80 percent, making it the fastest-growing congregation in the diocese. . .

The United States-based Episcopal Church is a member of worldwide Anglican Communion, and disagreements about the direction of the church's leadership in recent years have led to some churches leaving their American diocese to align with conservative foreign dioceses.

While some of those differences were theological arguments, the most widely cited objection came when the General Convention of the Anglican Church voted in 2003 to allow an openly gay priest, the Rev. Gene Robinson, to become a bishop. . .

Jefferts Schori received a hero's welcome when entering Good Samaritan Episcopal Church on Saturday, with a packed auditorium giving her a rousing standing ovation.

Speaking to a crowd that included Episcopalians from throughout the county, the bishop hardly seemed a leader at the center of a firestorm, but rather was soft-spoken, reflective and at times humorous as she shared the story of her spiritual journey from oceanographer to presiding bishop.

"I am still fishing, and I am still working in new depths," she said. . .

In response to a question, Jefferts Schori said some people have interpreted a Bible passage as a condemnation of homosexuality, but she sees it as addressing abuse, such as a soldier sleeping with a slave or cult prostitution, which are things she said are not associated with homosexual relationships today.

Asked about the literal story of Easter and the Resurrection, Jefferts Schori said, "I think Easter is most profoundly about meaning, not mechanism."

Sharing a favorite quote that drew applause, Jefferts Schori said, "Jesus died to take away your sins, not your mind."

The former oceanographer also quoted Albert Einstein: "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

Among the people in attendance was the Rev. Wayne Sanders of St. John's Episcopal Church in Fallbrook and about 20 people from his church. The St. John's congregation of about 60 people has been meeting in a community center since losing their church building after a majority voted to leave the denomination two years ago. The rights to the church building still are the subject of a pending lawsuit.

Gail Jones of St. John's Episcopal said after the talk that she appreciated Jefferts Schori's visit and comments.

"I think it was what we were all looking for," she said. "In a time when people are trying to split the church, she keeps us focused on the positive."

Read it all, but all I can say is "Wow, I'm glad I didn't give up my afternoon. Did she just deny the Resurrection?"


Anonymous said...

Deny the resurrection. Offer near vacuous response to the theological ramifications of the church's stance on homosexuality...and receive a standing ovation. Did these people check their brains in at the door? You might take note of the comment section of the article.


Anne Coletta said...

Let's just say, robroy, that all but three of the traditional churches have left the diocese here in San Diego - so you have her preaching to the choir at this meeting.