Thursday, June 29, 2006

Notes on the PB-elect's NPR interview

I had a chance in fits-and-starts through the day to listen to Bishop Jefferts Schori's interview with Diane Rehms and thought I'd share here some of the quotes I pulled out for my own files.

On mission and ministry: The church’s primary focus needs to be on mission. We have identified our priorities for the coming years and the first of those is justice and peace work to be framed by the Millennium Development Goals and I look forward to calling the whole church to continue work on those goals.

On dioceses threatening to “leave the church”: The diocese as an entity is a creature of General Convention and unless and until General Convention gives consent for them to leave it simply represents the departure of a few individuals.

On gay and lesbian people in the life of the Episcopal Church: I think it’s vitally important for this church to affirm the goodness of all of God’s creation and the place of all God’s people in this church. We have been ordaining gay persons in this church for years and years … in recent years they have been able to be open about their sexual orientation and honest about that -- I don’t see any retreat from that among deacons and priests … I think we will experience at least a pause in the consecration of bishops who are openly gay and that makes me very sad because I believe that God equally calls people of both sexual orientations to leadership in this church. I firmly believe that gay and lesbian Christians bless us all by their presence and that we need to continue to work at finding a way to include them in all aspects of the community’s life.

On General Convention’s response to the Windsor Report in B033: It is the Episcopal Church’s response at the current moment – I don’t think it represents a final response -- it opens the door to the next stage of conversation. I think many of us were disappointed that it came to that. My sense was that it was the most we were going to be able to manage at that late hour in the convention … convention makes policy, it doesn’t rule on matter of doctrine, and those policies are routinely reversed and revised every three years. I think it is a pause – I do not see it as slamming the door – I think it is an unfortunate way of inviting us into the next chapter of the conversation.

On “the church and politics”: We have a responsibility as Christians to express our moral understandings of the actions of Congress and of our government and I think we need to do more of that work, probably, than less. I understand “politics” to mean “the art of living together in community.” If we’re called to love our neighbors we can’t do it simply by sitting in our church pews – we have to get out into the world and work at it.

On the blessing of same-sex relationships: When a priest agrees to preside at the wedding of a heterosexual couple that priest uses his or her best judgment that this couple is capable of a sacramental relationship. The priest is never “certain” of that -- but the priest lives in hope that that is a real possibility – and then the couple themselves act as ministers of the sacrament -- the priest is only there to pronounce the blessing. And I think that thinking about it in that way may help us all to see the possibility for any couple to enter into a faithful, life-long relationship.


Renee in Ohio said...

Presiding Bishop Elect Katharine Jefferts Schori was on the Diane Rehm Show on NPR today. I'm going to post some highlights from throughout the interview later this evening, but since I've seen a lot of comments in recent days that interpreted her support of Resolution B033 as a betrayal of GLBT Episcopalians, I thought I'd post the part addressing that first (at my Religious Left blog).

Anonymous said...

I hope this isn't too nuanced for some folks here: no conservative diocese has yet asked to leave ecusa. 5 conservative dioceses have recognized that ecusa at GC failed to pass a resolution that was Windsor-compliant and has thus shown its willingness to walk apart from the AC. Therefore, 5 dioceses have asked for alternative primatial oversight as part of their resolve to stay as full constituent members of the AC.

Anonymous said...

After the Revolution, parishes gathered to form the diocese, which in turn called the first Convention. Recent conventions might have approved of splits, but they do not create the diocese. TEC does not own us like slaves.

Anonymous said...

On Church and Politics--First, let me state clearly that I don't for a second believe that the church should not speak on matters of politics. It is part of our witness.

That being said, I am starting to wonder whether using General Conventions as the mechanism for giving our particular church a voice is appropriate. If we wish to be truthful when we say we in the Episcopal Church value diversity and welcome all people, it seems a little inconsistent to then pass resolutions on political topics saying "Here is what the Episcopal Church thinks about issue X." Just a thought.

A reminder--rectors, priests, laypersons are all free to criticize/support political issues based on their understanding of Christ's call. I'm just starting to worry about using majority rule in General Convention to pass political statements.

plsdeacon said...

"convention makes policy, it doesn’t rule on matter of doctrine"

If that is the case, then why is convention ahead of doctrine as the official doctrine of the Church is and always has been that homosexual sex (not the orientation, but the sexual act itself) is sinful. I don't remember a conference of Bishops or Bishops and Presbyters speaking to this and changing the teaching of the Church. In fact, the last pan anglican message on the issue was Lambeth '98 resolution 1.10 which did nothing but reassert the teaching of the Church.

It sounds like GC is making doctrine to me.

Phil Snyder

Anonymous said...

Hurry, Jeff! Write a comment in support of GLBTs or Susan---fast!

Anonymous said...

Springfield has asked for apo. It's not much, just 6 dioceses out of 110, but it is suggestive of the unraveling of TEC.

Father Doug said...

Perhaps Bp. Schori's most revealing comment among those helpfully collected here is the one about the priest not being certain that a couple is "capable" of a sacramental marriage. There is in fact very little question whether such a capability is present. If there is a man and a woman in possession of the regular reproductive equipment, the sacrament is "certain." Bp. Schori seems to introduce another element here, perhaps something like "true love." It is characteristic of the gnostic left these days to remove sacramental truth to an inner realm, separated from bodily and sensate verification, and then to throw the whole business into limbo by arguing that we can never really know what God is or isn't doing, what he has or hasn't said. It's all in our little private hearts, you see, not in such boring things as bodily functions and public ceremonies. If you feel it--and feel it really, really deeply--then it's probably a sacrament . . . for you. But, then, who could really be certain about such ineluctable movements of "Spirit"?

Anonymous said...

For me I an very excited about the election of Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as our 26th Presiding Bishop Elect. Primarily that is due to her dedication to the mission priorities particularly to justice and peace seen through the lens of the MDGs. On resolution B033, I am greatly torn. Firstly, I am hurt and saddened by the passage of B033. I hope to go on to Seminary after college, and as a young gay preson these sort of things are why I am not "out" in many areas of my diocese. Now if someone asks I won't lie, but as many of you know I have to be careful about who knows for my future. My bishops who was one of the four bishops who offered B033, said that Bishop Griswold asked for this at 6pm the night before the last day. Due to waiting it was the best we could do. If it was not we would have had no formal responce to the Windsor Report in this area. I feel that it is important for us to stay in the wider Anglican Communion. If resolution B033 accomplishes nothing else, it will get Bishop Jefferts Schori a seat at Lambeth. Yet, for me I feel a slightly mislead and betrayed. I've always been told that it doesn't matter if I am gay, I am a baptized member of the church which gives me full inclusion. My own bishop who helped write this resolution has said one day I will be PB one day or at least a diocesean bishop. From what I've been told my bishop has also said that he/she will not ordain any gay or lesbian persons. So what is that supposed to say to young people like myself. Looking at the stereotype - we are good enough to play music in the Church but not we are not good enough for the Episcopate? This is a very trying time for the Church, and once again the LGBT community has been made "second class Christians". Yet, we must not lose hope. For in the words from Bp. Gene Robinson's Integrity Sermon at General Convention, we are called to "Love them anyway".

Sorry the language around my bishop and other areas is very general, but there is a link from my diocese's webpage to this site and I have to be careful about who may read this.

Anonymous said...

... quote from concerned youth:
"If resolution B033 accomplishes nothing else, it will get Bishop Jefferts Schori a seat at Lambeth."

That may have been PE elect's desire out of B033; however, this resolution may not buy her a ticket.