Saturday, October 3, 2009

Presiding bishop defends Episcopal Church direction


TOM MORTON - Casper Star-Tribune staff writer | Posted: Saturday, October 3, 2009

Contrary to the conventional wisdom, the Law in the Old Testament was not regarded by Jews as grim or confining, the head of The Episcopal Church said Thursday.

"The Law they called Torah is seen as life-giving, as blessing," Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told the annual meeting of the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming.

"Jesus summarizes the Law that [Old Testament scribe] Ezra reads as 'love God' and 'love your neighbor' and we might add to that frequent biblical message, 'don't be afraid,'" Jefferts Schori said during her sermon at a jazz Mass at the Parkway Plaza in Casper. "Fear not, because God loves you and the world is actually far more gracious than you can ever [imagine]."

In the first three of her nine-year position, she's had plenty of opportunities to fear not and enjoy grace, because she's had a tough job.

Jefferts Schori has presided over a two million-member denomination wracked by disputes over ordaining homosexuals and the authority of the Bible, wholesale departures of congregations -- often with costly property litigation -- at odds with the leftward drift of the church's leadership, and distance from the worldwide Anglican communion and its conservative churches in Africa.

The convention, which ends Sunday, follows the July national General Convention in Anaheim, Calif., during which the delegates approved resolutions allowing the ordination of homosexuals, and granting clergy the authority to marry those in same-sex relationships.

During a panel discussion Friday, Wyoming delegates recognized the risk of those resolutions.

"We stepped off the cliff with the sexuality (resolutions)," said the Rev. Ann Fontaine of Atlantic City. "We hope the angels will bear us up, but we don't know."

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