Katherine Jefferts Schori’s Address

without comments

Here’s another attempt at live blogging.  The Presiding-Bishop’s address began with greetings from Episcopalians and thanks for partnering in relief efforts in various parts of the world.  She commented that this synod is focussed on mission, which is the restoring of all creation toward the commonweal of God.  This is Isaiah’s vision of all creation living together in peace.  This sense of mission shaped much of what Bishop Jefferts Schori said in her presentation.  In what follows, I’m going to leave out the external narration (“she said…”) and just give what I heard as closely as possible.

Our baptismal covenant has increasingly roused us toward mission, but this is not shared across rest of Communion in the same way.  Only New Zealand and England reflect this in their service books.  This covenant emphasizes dignity and respect for the image of God in all peopl.  God’s mission is about speaking, doing, being the good news by creating shalom, a community of peace and justice.  Baptism is a commissioning for service in which all are ministers and servants of God’s mission.  We are one body with many gifts and we aren’t the same churches we were 30 years ago because of that baptismal covenant.

The two churches share common roots and history.  The first service of communion in Canada took place in Frobisher Bay in 1578, while the first in the US was held a year later.  The first baptism took place on Roanoke island in 1587.  None of these early communities survived, but mission is like that.  Some don’t survive, but it keeps going.  In those early years, the Bishop of London had charge of the church in colonies and largely ignored us.  There were no ordinations or confirmations, so lay leadership became essential and vital and women took significant leadership roles.  This experience has shaped the two churches whose common history is often about shared mission possibilities

In order to ordain an American priest, the church appealed to the Scottish church, which said yes, with a promise to model the young church’s prayer book on the Scottish one.  This was the beginning of the Communion.  The two North American churches share an intertwined history of successive ordinations from London and our histories have included quite a bit of consensual border-crossing. [much laughter ensued at this point]

Canadian and American mission work through 19th century was often a shared endeavour and the churchwide mission  of today has many facets that bear the five marks of mission.

One of the focusses is the development of partnerships with other denominations inside the country and mission work is presently strongly shaped by the Millenium Development goals.  Currently, The Episcopal Church is seeing numerical growth in most of overseas dioceses but only in four American dioceses, demographically among young adults, Latinas, and young mothers, who seem attracted to mixture of structure and flexibility that marks the Anglican ethos.  It seems likely that it will appeal to immigrant and ethnic groups and those seeking.

Together we have the ability to speak truth to power, especially with government on topics like biotechnology, human sexuality, preserving traditions and life ways of indigenous people, resource use, poverty, injustice, war around the world.  Episcopalians deeply grateful for friends north of the border.  “Fair winds and following seas and the blessing of the spirit on us all.”

I’ll add a really bad photo taken with my camera later.

And the photo

The P-B from a distance

The P-B from a distance

Written by Patti

June 8th, 2010 at 8:13 am

Posted in General Synod