Friday, January 28, 2011

Episcopal Leaders Statements on death of David Kato

Archbishop condemns murder of Ugandan gay human rights activist

Friday 28 January 2011

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who is currently in Dublin for the Primates' meeting, has made the following statement regarding the murder of the gay human rights activist David Kato Kisulle in Uganda:

"The brutal murder of David Kato Kisule, a gay human rights activist, is profoundly shocking. Our prayers and deep sympathy go out for his family and friends - and for all who live in fear for their lives. Whatever the precise circumstances of his death, which have yet to be determined, we know that David Kato Kisule lived under the threat of violence and death. No one should have to live in such fear because of the bigotry of others. Such violence has been consistently condemned by the Anglican Communion worldwide. This event also makes it all the more urgent for the British Government to secure the safety of LGBT asylum seekers in the UK. This is a moment to take very serious stock and to address those attitudes of mind which endanger the lives of men and women belonging to sexual minorities."

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop on the death of Ugandan activist:
[January 28, 2011] “His murder deprives his people of a significant and effective voice,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said on the death of gay human rights activist David Kato in Uganda.

The Presiding Bishop presently is in Dublin, Ireland, attending the meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion.

Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori’s statement:

At this morning’s Eucharist at the Primates Meeting, I offered prayers for the repose of the soul of David Kato. His murder deprives his people of a significant and effective voice, and we pray that the world may learn from his gentle and quiet witness, and begin to receive a heart of flesh in place of a heart of stone. May he rest in peace, and may his work continue to bring justice and dignity for all God’s children.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Guest Post: Sermon at St. Augustine of Hippo Galveston, Tx

St. Augustine of Hippo
Galveston, Diocese of Texas
16 January 2011
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
​Do you know the names of any of those West Indian sailors who asked for a church where they’d be welcome? Do you know any more about their particular histories? Did any of them settle here and leave descendants?
​Even if we don’t know them as individuals, we are their heirs.  Each one of them could have been called Isaiah, with a mouth like a sharp sword, hidden in the shadow of God’s hand.  Every one was a polished arrow, hidden in the Lord’s quiver.  When the time came, when they had tired of being shunted aside and told they weren’t welcome in the Lord’s house on the Lord’s day, they went off to share words with Bishop Gregg.  Bishop Gregg answered their challenge, and St. Augustine of Hippo was born, having been knit together in the crucible of struggle for justice, dignity, and equality.
​The servant who is formed for God’s prophetic work labors faithfully, but often gets frustrated by the lack of progress. Isaiah says, “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and for vanity.” And what does God do but expand the task?  Those who labor for justice on behalf of their own people often discover that their cause is the salvation of all humanity.  
​Isaiah labored on behalf of a divided and besieged, enslaved and hopeless people. His words of courage and strength bore an amazing challenge – ‘you will be light to the nations, to the whole world, not just your own people.  Your salvation lies in being the healer of the nations.’
​That message is as urgent today as it was more than 2500 years ago.  The sword and the arrow of God’s word continue to pierce unyielding hearts and unjust societies. The servant whose birth we mark this weekend began his labors on behalf of the descendants of slaves in this nation, in the same cause of justice that produced St. Augustine. He labored in order that former slaves might be truly free, that his people might be able to eat and sleep and marry and work wherever they wished. And his cause expanded. His dream speech hints at it: the dream that his own children might be able to play together with all other children, and that when they were grown they might live in a nation that valued each one for their virtues rather than their color. But he kept on moving, particularly after the dark night experience in his own kitchen that he called his mountaintop – the “fear not, for you have seen the Lord” encounter. He became far more vocal and insistent that our work is peace, not war. He climbed up that mountain and kept on shining, and his light has continued to shine in spite of the efforts of some to put it out. The light of the nations has shined in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it.
​This congregation is a light shining in the darkness as well, and your light grows stronger as you understand your mission more widely – feeding the hungry, teaching and healing the sick at St. Vincent’s, feeding those who are hungry in body as well as soul through this garden, literally feeding the hungry volunteers who labor to rebuild Galveston. Your urgent desire to serve new communities will bring light to people from nations south of our border.
​Yet the work of your art show and art lessons strikes me as perhaps the most revolutionary spotlight you’re working on right now. The Bible isn’t often seen as an art book, even though it’s prompted a significant fraction of all the art that’s been produced in the last two millennia. Visual arts are a remarkable way of reflecting the image of God, both in the creativity of the people who paint or draw, sculpt or photograph, and in the work produced. The same can be said of musicians and dancers and actors. The creator of the art shares God’s own creativity in bringing that new work to light. The urge to create something beautiful or expressive reflects a desire to share in the divine, the transcendent, the holy. The creative act shares in God’s own creativity and it leads us beyond ourselves when it’s shared.
​Encouraging creativity gives people dignity by supporting those acts of co-creation. It can also foster reconciliation, for it invites us all to see the world in new ways. There is something profoundly creative about Jesus’ own ministry of reconciliation, drawing unlikely people together to be fed in body and spirit.
​The people of Haiti are struggling to recover their sphere for creativity. Creativity follows very soon after food, water, and shelter in the list of human needs. The Episcopal cathedral in Haiti was famous – not just among Haitians – for the ways in which it fed the heart as well as the soul.  It sheltered the major cultural institutions - music school in Haiti, and the only philharmonic orchestra.  Its children’s choir, Les Petites Chanteuses – the Little Singers – they have inspired people around the world through its tours.  Both the choir and the orchestra are practicing in an open air area behind the rubble of the cathedral, and they are already bringing comfort and hope to their neighbors across the nation.  But it’s probably the murals in the cathedral that are most known across the world. They were painted in the early 1950s by native Haitian artists, in a naïf style that showed the great biblical stories happening in Haiti. Jesus is a Haitian, and so are the disciples. The women are Haitian market women, and you might see the children of the choir along the riverbanks in the baptismal mural. That’s one of the three remaining murals which the Smithsonian has begun to conserve.  Bishop Duracin has insisted that the cathedral complex has to be the first priority for reconstruction, because it’s going to feed the soul of the nation through the arts, through its schools – primary, secondary, music, and vocational – and through the ministry of the Sisters of St. Margaret.
​The ability of Haitians to speak truth through the particular beauty of their own culture will be the peace-building sword and arrow. The art that emerges will help to heal not only Haiti, but the divisions between our own two nations. If you study the history between us, you will discover much for which the US needs to repent. The prophets who emerge in that place will serve a larger healing and salvation.
​When John proclaims, “Here is the lamb of God,” what comes to your mind?  His disciples have to recognize Jesus before they can follow. Those very words, ‘lamb of God,’ only make sense in a particular context – we only today know what they mean because they’ve been explained over and over, often in pictures.  John says that he recognized Jesus because he saw the spirit descend on him. What picture do you have of that? Jesus himself invites the disciples to “come and see.” There is a whole lot of seeing and recognizing going on – and it continues here when you say to the world, “come and see.”  Come and see the hope that’s given in new murals at St. Vincent’s, come and see the hope in the creative work of carving dead tree stumps. Come and see God at work in the restoration and resurrection of Galveston.  Come and see the love of God right here, gathering and feeding and healing.
​You are the light to the nations, and go, tell others to come and see.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Presiding Bishop Sermon at St Andrews 100th Anniversary

St. Andrew’s, Houston, TX
14 Jan 2011
Centennial celebration
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church
​Greetings from around the church.
​Our churchwide staff serves all those Episcopalians, and we had our annual staff gathering on Tuesday and Wednesday, with people gathered from all over – one who works from Panama, another from Scotland, and from offices in Los Angeles, Austin, Seattle, Miami, Washington, DC, as well as New York, and individuals who work from North Carolina, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Puerto Rico.  It’s the primary time during the year when everyone gathers for learning and team-building.  On Tuesday morning we sent everyone out to visit community ministries sponsored by Episcopal churches around the New York metro area – programs that feed and shelter people, chaplaincy in a correctional facility, after-school tutoring, senior lunches – each of them ways of healing the brokenness in the world around us.  All are examples of what Isaiah talks about – giving sight to the blind and delivering prisoners, literally and figuratively.  These various outposts of care and healing are light to the nations, giving glory to God.
​People came back absolutely transformed – several people wanted to get personally involved, give money, volunteer, figure out how to do something similar at the Church Center or in their own offices.  We saw what Isaiah and John both speak of – human beings loving one another and giving glory to God.  One of the early church theologians, Irenaeus, said that the glory of God is a human being fully alive, and as people returned we saw a room filled with that kind of glory.  
​These staff members spend their working lives supporting others who do similarly transformative ministry, but not all of them get to see it in the flesh – particularly the people who work in the finance department, or the mail room, or in information systems or building maintenance.  Even the mission department staff usually only get to see ministries that have to do with their own particular area.  But it takes the whole team to help support the work of sending missionaries, linking new Latino congregations with Christian ed resources in Spanish, resettling refugees, or helping congregations find new clergy.  All of us, working together, become the beacon spreading light to those who live in darkness.
​St. Andrew’s is the same kind of beacon and light to the nations.  What you do here in this place gives glory to God.  How many of you have participated in feeding hungry people, or the Seafarers’ Center, or Brigid’s Hope?  Light to the nations – all of you!
​It’s striking to read the history of this area, and to learn that Oscar Martin Carter envisioned this part of Houston as something like the “city on a hill” that Jesus later talks about:  “you are the light of the world; a city built on a hill cannot be hid” (Matt 5:14).  The founder of Houston Heights believed that business owners and their employees could live together at peace, in a community that included green space, schools, churches like St. Andrew’s, and civic institutions that bring people together for leisure and community improvement.  That’s not so different from other great prophetic images of the city of peace – the banquet on a hill, the lion lying down with the lamb, or a city where children can play in the streets while their elders watch from park benches (Zechariah 8:4-5).  The work of the people of St. Andrew’s in the last hundred years has given flesh to those dreams.  You have much to celebrate.
​Building that city on a hill to be a light to the nations mostly happens by doing what Jesus asks of his friends:  “love one other as I have loved you.”  This is a week of sobering reminders of the world’s desperate need for that kind of love.  The people of southern Sudan are seeking a nation where they no longer struggle with their neighbors over oil and borders, where they can send their children to school and expect them to grow and play and thrive.  Thus far, that referendum has been remarkably peaceful, and the religious leaders in southern Sudan, including Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, have helped to keep it so.
​The people of Haiti have marked a year since their nation suffered enormous death and devastation in a massive earthquake.  They have a long way to go in recovery and rebuilding, but their brothers and sisters around the world stand ready to help.  The Episcopal Church has just begun a formal campaign to help rebuild the cathedral center, which included schools for children, a trade school, a music school, as well as Catedral Sainte Trinité, that it, too, may once again be a light of God’s love to the people of that land.  The art in that cathedral was revolutionary when it was painted nearly 60 years ago.  Most of those murals, which showed the great stories of the Bible in a Haitian context, were destroyed, but the three remaining ones are being removed and restored by the Smithsonian, so that they can be returned when the cathedral is rebuilt.  Light to the nation in that context also looks like pride in a nation’s culture, a way to say that God loves us enough to show up right here – and Jesus looks like a Haitian!  It is the eternal good news of God-with-us.  Each one of us can share in that work of rebuilding the city on a hill, in stone and art and human dignity.  Go take a look:  Hear the stories, see the murals, and send a contribution.
​Love one another as I have loved you.  That love is urgently needed in the aftermath of the violence in Arizona, particularly as children, adults, and communities seek some shred of solace and healing.  Each and every city and community on this planet is meant to be a source of God’s healing love.  There have been abundant signs of loving others as God loves us, even to giving one’s life for another, or going into the valley of the shadow of death for the sake of one in desperate need – the man who sheltered his wife and died in the process; the aide who quenched the bleeding of Congresswoman Gifford, the two who stopped the gunman from further killing.  Yet it is the work of rebuilding the city that will require a longer and more intense and sacrificial focus in the days and years to come.  How will each one of us love both the wounded and the wounder in Arizona?  How will we shine light in the aftermath of war in Sudan, or the poverty and devastation in Haiti?  How will we make peace with our neighbors right here?
​The city of light to the nations is built day by day, as we love as Jesus loved, answering the hungers and hurts of the world:  feeding the hungry, healing the sick, restoring the lost, freeing the prisoners of poverty and mental illness, and loving the unloved – which is what forgiveness is all about.  St. Andrew’s will celebrate a second hundred years if you continue to do that kind of holy work.  The light to the nations flames forth, one loving act at a time.  May you burn brightly on these heights – for years and years and years.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bishop's February Calendar 2011

1 2:00 p.m. Dedication of Bishops’ Portraits, St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, Houston

3 11:00 a.m. Northwest Convocation Clericus, Baylor Episcopal Student Center, Waco

5 10:00 a.m. Absalom Jones Celebration, Christ Church Cathedral, Houston

6 11:00 a.m. Iglesia Episcopal San Mateo, Houston, CF

9 2:30 p.m. St. Luke’s Health Charities Leadership meeting, Houston

11-12 162nd Diocesan Council, Marriott Waterway, The Woodlands

16 4:00 p.m. Episcopal High School Executive Committee meeting, Houston

19 Ordination and Consecration of the V Bishop of Western Kansas, Salina, Kansas

23 4:00 p.m. Episcopal High School Board meeting, Houston

27 10:00 a.m. Calvary, Bastrop, CF


  • "Christianity is not a theory or speculation, but a life; not a philosophy of life, but a life and a living process." Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • "Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer." Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • "Perfection, in a Christian sense, means becoming mature enough to give ourselves to others." Kathleen Norris
  • "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can." John Wesley
  • "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." G. K. Chesterton
  • "One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans." C. S. Lewis
  • "When we say, 'I love Jesus, but I hate the Church,' we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too. The challenge is to forgive the Church. This challenge is especially great because the church seldom asks us for forgiveness." Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey
  • "Christians are hard to tolerate; I don't know how Jesus does it." Bono
  • "It's too easy to get caught in our little church subcultures, and the result is that the only younger people we might know are Christians who are already inside the church." Dan Kimball