St Paul's hosts US Presiding Bishop, despite Anglican disputes

By agency reporter
July 27, 2010

US Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori challenged those attending Sung Eucharist at historic St Paul's Cathedral in London on Sunday to be "ready, willing and able" to speak out and take action against the world's injustices and indignities, reports Matthew Davies for the Episcopal News Service.

"Prophetic work is about more abundant life for the whole world, and it is about a home everywhere, a home for all," she said during her sermon for the feast of St James. "Prophetic work is about challenging human systems that ignore or deny the innate dignity of all of God's creation … We lose our dignity when we tolerate indignity for some … The work of the cross is the most life-giving journey we know. Are you ready, willing and able?"

The motto "ready, willing and able," she explained, is used by the Doe Fund, a New York-based organisation that helps to transform the lives of those affected by homelessness, poverty, poor education, alcoholism and drug addiction.

There is a human tendency, she said, "to insist that some are not worthy of respect, that dignity doesn't apply to the poor, or to immigrants, or to women, or Muslims, or gay and lesbian people."

Jefferts Schori underscored injustices in the Philippines, where religious and human rights activists are frequently the victims of political killings.

"The search for dignity is work that all members of Christ's body share," she added. "We're invited to join the band of prophets, share the meal and drink the cup. It can be dangerous work, but most prophets I know are also filled with joy." [The full text of the sermon is available here. A video stream of the sermon is due to be posted online here.]

The presiding bishop preceded her sermon by offering thanks for the Rev Canon Lucy Winkett, canon precentor at the cathedral, whose ministry, she said, has "had an impact far beyond this place."

Following the service, Jefferts Schori greeted members of the congregation, which included a visiting group from Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, Texas.

Jefferts Schori has been visiting London to attend the 23-27 July 2010 meeting of the Anglican Communion's Standing Committee. While she was preaching at St Paul's, other committee members attended Eucharist at Westminster Abbey.

During its first two days of closed-door meetings at the Anglican Communion Office in London, the committee discussed the decision by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to remove Episcopal Church members serving on the communion's ecumenical dialogues.

"The committee was assured that the archbishop had not acted unilaterally but with the support of the secretary general of the Anglican Communion; that they had acted within their powers; and that the action had not been punitive in intention," a news release said. "Rather it had been taken - following the breaking of the agreed moratoria - in response to the needs of the communion in respect to ecumenical dialogues and faith and order bodies."

Dr Williams had proposed in his 28 May pastoral letter that representatives currently serving on ecumenical dialogues should resign their membership if they are from a province that has not complied with moratoria on same-gender blessings, cross-border interventions and the ordination of gay and lesbian people to the episcopate. He specifically referred to the 15 May consecration of Los Angeles Bishop Suffragan Mary Douglas Glasspool and the unauthorised incursions by Anglican leaders into other provinces. Glasspool is the Episcopal Church's second openly gay, partnered bishop.

The decision affects five Episcopal Church members serving on Anglican dialogues with the Lutheran, Methodist, Old Catholic and Orthodox churches, as well as one member of the Inter-Anglican Standing Committee on Unity, Faith and Order, who has been invited to serve as a consultant.

At least two other provinces have been asked to clarify the current situation regarding same-gender blessings and unauthorised incursions.

The committee is meeting in London through to today, and its agenda includes "finance, mission, the Anglican Relief and Development Alliance, evangelism and church growth, and unity, faith and order including the progress of consideration of the Anglican Communion Covenant by the provinces," an earlier ACO release said.

With thanks to Episcopal Life Online:


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