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.