I returned this past weekend from a very rich week meeting with the House of Bishops at Camp Allen, the Episcopal conference center in the Diocese of Texas. Our focus all week was evangelism, especially our role as bishops in presenting the Good News of Jesus. I found our time inspiring and hopeful as we continue to engage, in the words of our Presiding Bishop, our loving, liberating and life-giving God as revealed to us in the person of Jesus the Christ.
There were several written pieces that I want you to know about that are attached by the links shown below in this note from me:
First is a letter sent to the bishops from Philip and April Schentrup, the parents of Carmen, an Episcopalian young person who died in the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Carmen was very active in her Episcopal parish and attended youth events at Kanuga. I commend that letter to you for your reflection and prayer.
Not as a direct response to the Schentrup’s, but certainly as a part of our national conversation, please see the unanimously adopted statement on gun violence from the bishops. Regardless of your positions, it is hard to argue that this conversation must not happen. The letter is specifically in support of the young people of our beloved country who are seeking a conversation of substance in the face of the continual sweeping of the issues of cultural violence in the United States under the rug. In addition, I invite you to join me on March 24 for the “March for Our Lives” event. We will gather in Riverfront Park, North Charleston at 3:30 p.m.
Lastly, I call your attention to the bishops' statement on sexual harassment and gender bias. Once again, it was adopted unanimously. I believe the statement speaks for itself. Also know that I as we are one of the owning dioceses of Sewanee, the University of the South, I was a signatory to the letter from the bishops to the Board of Regents regarding their action not to rescind the honorary degree offered to Charlie Rose.
Regarding all of the above, I hope you can see that these letters and statements are not political statements from the bishops, although they may have political implications for some. They are perspectives born in what we (I) believe are matters of faith as disciples of Jesus. They bear Gospel values to which we believe we must not be silent, or we remain complicit.
Also know that, it is my perspective that I will not seek to comment on every issue, action or world event that comes to my attention. Nor will the House of Bishops. There are times, however, that circumstances call for our voice so that faithful and loving conversation can be had, even and perhaps especially when we might honestly disagree.
Blessings and peace to all in Christ Jesus,