Ruach A Publication of the Episcopal Women’s Caucus
Decently and in order Honoring Pam Chinnis GATHERING THE WOMEN, GATHER THE WISDOM ‘Occupy’ is ‘tidal’ bossy women millennials: transforming the landscape on gay and lesbian issues Winter 2012 • Vol. 29, No. 1
Convener’s Message To compensate a mystery by Elizabeth M. Kaeton
Well, the fat has hit the fire, so to speak, and things are heating up. The realities of implementing General Convention resolution A177 are now before many dioceses — my own included, which has postponed the whole debate from our Annual Convention in January until a specially called convention in June, 2012. Yup. It’s that red-hot. You can read the entire resolution [at http://gc2009.org/ ViewLegislation/view_leg_detail.aspx?id=882&type=Final], but the purpose of the resolution was to establish a denominational health plan for “all domestic dioceses, parishes, missions, and other ecclesiastical organizations or bodies subject to the authority of this church, for clergy and lay employees who are scheduled to work a minimum of 1,500 hours annually.” The idea is to provide health care plans for ALL church employees — lay and ordained — by reducing the overall cost of insurance, over time, through the establishment of a denominational health plan. I supported Resolution A177. Lobbied for it. Although, I had my own misgivings about this part: “each diocese has the right to make decisions as to plan design options offered by the plan administrator, minimum cost-sharing guidelines for parity between clergy and lay employees, domestic partner benefits in accordance with General Convention Resolution 1997-C024 and the participation of schools, day care facilities and other diocesan institutions (that is, other than the diocese itself and its parishes and missions) in The Denominational Health Plan; ... .” Turns out, my concerns were not without warrant. The reality of each diocese “making decisions” about “minimum cost-sharing guidelines for parity between clergy and lay employees” is beginning to hit the realities of tough budget decisions in a fragile economic climate. [In November] the Diocese of Missouri passed a resolution to “pay 100 % of the cost of individual health insurance coverage (selected from the offerings included in the Denominational Health Plan and administered by the Episcopal Church Medical Trust) for all lay and ordained employees working 1,500 or more hours annually, in accordance with Title I, Canon 8 of the Episcopal Church and to be implemented no later than January 1, 2013.” AND “... that Congregations within the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri and the Offices of the Bishop shall not reduce existing coverage or increase the cost of existing coverage to employees to comply with A177 or this resolution; ... .”
Ruach • Winter 2012
Meanwhile, the Diocese of Oregon passed a resolution during their diocesan convention [in November] “that congregations and missions are encouraged to assume 100 % of cost related to clergy and lay employee health Elizabeth Kaeton, outgoing Episcopal insurance premiWomen’s Caucus convener, celebrated ums as has been the 25th anniversary of her ordination by tradition, however, Occupying Wall Street. Photo / Elisabeth they may exercise Jacobs. a premium sharing arrangement with employees who shall assume a maximum of 20%.” Ya gotta watch those “howevers” and “mays” in any church resolution. Apparently, the good folks in that diocese followed the lead of A177, which allowed dioceses to practice “local option” and allowed individual congregations to do the same. A very pragmatic approach. Thoroughly Anglican. And, I would submit, places the church on a very slippery slope when She’s already in very turbulent baptismal waters. I grow very weary of hearing discussions which compare clergy to teachers or employees in a not-for-profit “charitable” organization. I’m tired, as well, of the “professionalism of the priesthood.” Weary and, quite frankly, frustrated and yes, angry. I must say that I grit my teeth when I hear clergy talking about how many “units” they are working in determining whether or not they can “make” a meeting or be on a committee or do anything on their “day off” (in some places, known as “Sabbath time”). I understand that there are courses in some Episcopal seminaries that have titles like “Career Paths for Priests.” The course seeks to help seminarians find the good “jobs” that will lead to the better “jobs” — and, although it’s not said outright (although, I understand it is discussed over coffee in the refectory) — might get them elected dean or bishop. continued on page 18
Episcopal Women’s Caucus BOARD AND STAFF
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Convener’s Message........................................................................................page 2 Caucus membership elects new board members . .................................................page 4 Gather the women, gather the wisdom............................................................. page 5 A monastery without walls: Christine Valters Paintner and Abbey of the Arts ...page 6 World Pulse: Bringing women a global voice ................................................page 7 Inside Look: Episcopal Women’s History Project a ‘well-kept secret’............page 9 Female priest pursues her calling in Danville...............................................page 10 Commentary: What ‘Occupy’ is, read ‘Tidal’................................................ page 11 Challenging gender inequity in pursuit of women’s health...................................page 12 New SCLM resources on proposed blessing rites..........................................page 13 Decently and in order: An appreciation of Pamela Pauly Chinnis...............page 14 Rational functionalism and the decline of mainstream churches..................page 16 WordsMatter: Continuing the conversation on inclusive, expansive language...page 20 Commentary: Bossy Women...........................................................................page 21 Retired Bishop Walter Righter remembered.........................................................page 22 New poll: Millennial generation transforming landscape on gay and lesbian issues...............................................................................page 23 Commentary: The life of the world................................................................page 24 Redesigned ENS website highlights enhanced news outlets, multimedia, social media...............................................................................page 25 Budde consecrated as Washington’s ninth bishop.........................................page 26 Resources.......................................................................................................page 27 Commentary: How to offer gluten free communion.......................................page 30 Ecumenical Advocacy Days, March 23-26, 2012: ‘Is This the Fast I Seek’?...............................................................................page 31 Join Episcopal Women’s Caucus!.............................................................. back page Cover photos: Retired Episcopal bishop George E. Packard and other protesters affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement are detained after climbing a ladder to trespass on a privately-owned piece of land near Juan Pablo Duarte Square during a march in New York December 17, 2011. Hundreds of anti-Wall Street protesters took to the New York streets in an attempt to establish a new encampment, with a number arrested as they tried to move onto land owned by Trinity Church, Wall Street. REUTERS/Andrew Burton. (See Bishop Packard’s commentary on page 11. Also be sure to read Michael Sniffen’s “The Diary of an Arrested Priest” about his arrest for civil disobedience at Occupy Wall Street at http://www.dioceselongisland.org/newsDetail.php?DEC-19---Statement-of-The-Rev.-Michael-Sniffen-on-being-arrested-at-OWS267; and Elizabeth Kaeton’s thoughts on it at http://telling-secrets.blogspot.com/2011/12/arrested-discernment-occupying-faith.html.)
CONVENER Elizabeth M. Kaeton 35647 Joann Dr., Millsboro, DE 19966 302/231-8246 home email@example.com Secretary Ann Van Dervoort 106 Chickering Park Dr., Nashville, TN 37215 firstname.lastname@example.org TREASURER Barbara G. Mann 413 Buffware Ct., Charleston, SC 29492 843/388-9512 home • 843/971-8150 work 843/971-8159 fax email@example.com Susan Blue 270 El Diente Drive Durango, CO 81301 firstname.lastname@example.org Gigi Conner 42 Whitney Drive, Woodstock, NY 12498 845/901-1704 email@example.com Susan Longo Cowperthwaite 608 Fair St, Franklin, TN 37064-2710 615/794-7897 home • 615/321-8009 work firstname.lastname@example.org Margo McMahon 34 Pomeroy Ln Unit 24, Amherst, MA 01002 413/256-8159 home • 413/587-6260 work email@example.com Babs M. Meairs 11650 Calle Paracho, San Diego, CA 92128 858-521-0443 home/office firstname.lastname@example.org Business Manager Chris Mackey 1103 Magnolia Street South Pasadena, CA 91030 626/201-2363 email@example.com Ruach Editor Karen D. Bota 1193 N. State Rd., Ionia, MI 48846 586/291-8877 firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo top right: First woman President of the House of Deputies Pamela P. Chinnis at work at General Convention.
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The Episcopal Women’s Caucus: Advocating for women since 1971, theologically, spiritually, politically. www.episcopalwomenscaucus.org • Ruach
Caucus membership elects new board members In December, members of the Episcopal Women’s Caucus elected a slate of seven to join the current board of directors. Their terms begin in January 2012. Welcome to these new board members, who join Susan N. Blue, Susan Cowperthwaite, Margo McMahon, and Gigi Davis Connor on the Caucus board.
Elected Lay Board members Denise Bentley’s educational journey has led her to Bryn Mawr College, Fisk University, the University of Dijon and Vanderbilt University and from chemistry to French to law. Her spiritual journey led her from the Baptist church to the Presbyterian church to the Episcopal church, where she has been for more than 30 years. Her path as a Believer is one that causes her to afflict the comfortable as much as it causes her to comfort the afflicted. The Episcopal Women’s Caucus offers something that is very important to her: the opportunity to walk her talk. Pamela Kandt is an active member of her parish and the Diocese of Wyoming and seeks to offer the EWC perspective on the unique needs of our “Frontier” churches. She recently completed a term on the Diocese of Wyoming Standing Committee, and is a lay alternate to GC2012 and a nominee to the Executive Council. Pamela presently serves her community as a hospital and police chaplain, as well as a first-responder with local law enforcement for victim’s ser-
“Faith is different from theology because theology is reasoned, systematic, and orderly, whereas faith is disorderly, intermittent, and full of surprises.... Faith is homesickness. Faith is a lump in the throat. Faith is less a position on than a movement toward, less a sure thing than a hunch. Faith is waiting.” — Frederick Buechner
Ruach • Winter 2012
vices. Her professional background is in journalism, public relations, marketing and non-profit management. L. Zoe Cole is a deputy to General Convention from Colorado. An assisting municipal judge in Lone Tree, Zoe combines her legal acumen and knowledge of Scripture, and is an articulate and eloquent representative of “the law and the prophets.” She brings her skills and talents to the board with a special passion for collaborative efforts with other women’s organizations.
Elected Ordained board members Carmen Guerrero is well known for her work as the Jubilee officer of the national church and her work in multicultural and urban ministry development in the Diocese of Los Angeles. Her significant contributions in addressing racism, justice and faith and issues related to poverty at all levels are well documented. Terry Pilarski is currently the rector at Christ Episcopal Church in Dearborn, Michigan. She has served on the Women for Justice Working Group’s Expansive Language Committee. Terry co-authored the ecumenical conversation guide that resulted, and wrote the Episcopal version of the guide. She has created and led training events and diocesan workshops on the WordsMatter project and guide. (See related story on page 20.) Lisa Hunt is currently the rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Houston, where she has served for five years. Lisa comes from Nashville, Tennessee, where she was the rector of St. Anne’s Church for 17 years. She was also an elected member of the Metropolitan Nashville Public School Board. Lisa is an activist in her community, helping to organize neighborhood revitalization efforts, after-school programs, full inclusion of LGBT folks, and in AIDS ministry. Ordained in 1993, Babs M. Meairs has served as chaplain for the Department of Veterans Affairs, and retired as chief of the Chaplain Service at the VA San Diego Healthcare System. Babs has also served as field coordinator for the Suffragan Bishop for Federal Ministries and Chaplaincies. She has served on the boards of the Retiring Fund for Women in the Diaconate, Southwestern Network for Women’s Ministries and the National Association of VA Chaplains. This is Babs’ second term on the Caucus board.
Farewell and Thanks We say thanks for your faithful and inspired leadership to retiring board members: Convenor Elizabeth M. Kaeton, Secretary Ann Van Dervoort, and Treasurer and former Business Manager Barbara Mann. Christine Mackey has taken over as the Caucus business manager. Karen D. Bota remains as publications editor/webmaster.
Gather the women, gather the wisdom by Kathleen Nyhuis
his past August, St. Matthew/San Mateo Church in Auburn, Washington, with co-conveners Elsie Dennis and Kathleen Nyhuis, was pleased to host the first “ripple gathering” from the Connecting Episcopal Women, founded earlier this year in Florida. The keynote speaker and facilitator for this all-day event was Ann Smith, co-director of Circle Connections and past national officer for the national Episcopal church’s Women in Mission and Ministry. With 26 women of various ages and ethnicities attending, the morning was filled with getting to know one another, sharing expectations and dreams, circle rituals including blessings of the four directions, praying, singing and drumming. Smith discussed transformation of hierarchical organizations into “circles,” leadership and opportunities for connection around the world.
Beverly Hosea introduced the Prayer of the Lamb as a form of Christian meditation for individuals and congregations. This prayer form can give support and spiritual integration for life and ministry in congregations. Upcoming workshops will be held at Emmanuel, Mercer Island, and later at Saint Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle. Visit the Community of the Lamb website at http://prayerofthelambmeditation.blogspot.com/2011/01/sermon-forbaptism-of-jesus-in-jordan.html.
Sarah L., volunteer and director of Women of Purpose, a program mobilizing ordinary people to prevent the exploitation and trafficking of women and children in Southeast Asia, addressed World Concern. Sarah can provide websites for further activity including visiting Congressional representatives, the best times to lobby legislature, and fundraising days. Visit www.worldconcern.org/children/ for more information.
Following lunch, speakers were introduced and there were two sessions held for participants to learn more. Speakers included: •
Brenda Asterino, who is ordained and active in independent production for public access television and in developing public awareness of genetic modification of organisms (GMO) and related issues. Asterino is available to help others with production and public access television; contact her at email@example.com for more information on AgroWatch resources and the 2012 conference.
Ilsa Govan, M.A., of Cultures Connecting, who has 15 years of experience working for racial justice in various communities, including the Seattle School District. Cultures Connecting provides consulting and professional development to help organizations enter into conversations about race, culture, and social justice and learn new skills they can apply in the workplace and beyond. Visit www.culturesconnecting.com for more information about workshops. Charlotte Brown from the African American Committee for the Diocese of Olympia offered her resources as well. Visit www.ecww.org to learn more.
Marilyn Hall addressed Earth Ministry. She is a workshop planner on environmental and social justice topics, native habitat restoration and a facilitator with the Pachamama Alliance’s “Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream” symposium. Visit Saint Mark’s Cathedral website at www.saintmarks.org/JusticeMinistries/CIWMinistryGroups.php to learn more about the Eco-Justice Committee.
In the afternoon, we gathered in our circle to share about the sessions and discuss possibilities for future action in these areas. Although it is hoped that circles formed from the passions and interests the speakers brought forth will begin meeting or communicating immediately, it was decided that it would be excellent to gather again in the larger community in six months. The nurture we receive from gathering as women and the sharing helps us to regenerate our energies and find new ways to actively engage in ministry. Appreciation was given to Nyhuis for providing lunch, to the Daughters of the King of Olympia for partial funding of the lunch, and to Donna Hutchens who graciously helped set up, serve and clean up throughout the day. If you would like to volunteer to convene us again in February or March 2012, please contact Nyhuis at kathleen@ nyhuis.us. For more information about Connecting Episcopal Women, visit their website at www.connectingepiscopalwomen.org. www.episcopalwomenscaucus.org • Ruach
A monastery without walls: An interview with Christine Valters Paintner of Abbey of the Arts by June Mears Driedger
bout five years ago I found Christine Valters Paintner’s blog, Abbey of the Arts, and have been faithfully following her since — through her blog, her books, and her online courses — all exploring the interaction of creativity and faith.
through, you sit with each entry and chew on it and ponder how you can bring it into your life and live the Gospel more deeply and this is done in community. Benedict describes it as a “little rule for beginners,” and it is a call to remember that we are always beginning again in the spiritual life.
This past June I had the delightful opportunity to attend Christine’s week-long retreat, “Awakening the Creative Spirit” (also the title of her book, co-written with Betsey Beckman). She kindly agreed to an interview.
Where, or how, did you get the idea to integrate the arts and faith?
When I was growing up my parents weren’t religious people, but they did have a great Christine Valters Paintner love of art. My father worked for the United Nations so we traveled a lot and spent many hours in museums and cathedrals. Because I didn’t have The title of your latest book is “The Artist’s Rule: a formal faith structure at the time I found my sense of the Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom.” Intriguing title—but what do monks have to do with art- great Mystery in these expressions and longing for beauty. I was always encouraged to explore my own artistic side, ists? especially through writing. In my early twenties I was Monasteries have been great centers of creativity since working as a campus minister for a Catholic high school and they were first formed — think of the beauty of Gregorian I began developing retreats for the students and faculty. I chant, the great illuminated manuscripts which bring text to life through a marriage with image, the architecture of clois- was blessed to have a co-minister who also loved the arts and so we brought art into all aspects of our work. That was ters creating sacred space as a container for prayer. When I the beginning of my own exploration of integrating art and fell in love with monasticism it was the aesthetic dimension spirituality more explicitly. which first captured my heart and I wanted to explore how their path fosters this creative upwelling. My book explores the way monastic spirituality can help creativity flourish in anyone. How has the Benedictine “Rule of Life” influenced you? And, what is an oblate? An oblate is a lay person who makes a promise to a particular monastery to live out Benedictine spirituality in their everyday lives. I am an oblate with St. Placid Priory, a women’s community about an hour from where I live. I gather with my fellow oblates monthly for support in living contemplatively in the world with jobs and spouses and all of the demands daily life makes upon us. We are men and women, Catholic, Methodist, Episcopalian, Lutheran and more; and we work in fields like medicine, accounting, computer science, and spirituality. I love the diversity of my fellow oblates. The Rule of Benedict is a document written 1,500 years ago to help offer guidelines for people living the monastic way together. There are many forms of monasticism. Benedict’s Rule is one of the best known because of its balanced nature. It’s not one of those books that you just read
What are the “expressive arts”? Is it like art therapy?
The “expressive arts” is a field which arises from the psychotherapeutic world and approaches the arts as a path of discovery, healing, and transformation. The emphasis is on the creative process over the product. I first discovered it while in graduate school and finally felt like someone was speaking the language I had been for years, making connections between art and the inner journey. I began taking classes and eventually began teaching about how the expressive arts can be engaged in contexts like spiritual direction and retreat to nurture and support transformation through writing, visual expression, dance, and music. What are your “arts”? My primary art forms are writing and photography. I wanted to be a writer from a very young age, my parents loved books and I was always surrounded by them. I feel extraordinarily grateful to be able to follow this path as an adult. My grandparents owned a chain of photo supply stores when I was a child, so I always had a camera in hand. It wasn’t until my embrace of the monastic path that I discovered photography as a very contemplative practice, one which can help us cultivate a deeper way of seeing. continued on page 8
Ruach • Winter 2012
World Pulse: Bringing women a global voice
orld Pulse uses the power of interactive media to build a network connecting the world of women — one voice at a time. Our multiple media platforms work together to create a unique “editorial cycle of empowerment” to bring women’s voices out of the shadows and onto the world stage.
We Produce World Pulse Magazine “See the world through women’s eyes” Rich in photography, multimedia, and award-winning editorial, our print and online magazine showcases global luminaries, mass movements, and the rising voices of our time. As a voice for the global movement for women’s empowerment, World Pulse magazine gives readers handpicked opportunities to connect, take action, and make a difference.
We Host PulseWire, a Global Community Newswire “Where every woman has a voice” PulseWire, our global community newswire, is the “online sanctuary” of WorldPulse.com where every woman has a voice. New ideas and solutions rise from the ground up as women speak out from remote regions and hot spots via Internet cafés or cell phones. Our editors are always active on the site, looking for breaking stories. When fresh stories surface, we investigate and commission stories for our online and print magazines.
We Train Women Citizen Journalists “Equipping grassroots women leaders to become voices of change” We are training a new online network of grassroots women citizen journalists to use Web 2.0 and speak out as agents of change. Called “The Voices of Our Future,” our correspondents receive rigorous journalism and empowerment training from our program partners. Each correspondent is matched with an empowerment mentor to help her reach her dreams. World Pulse publishes their stories and three awardees are selected each year to travel on a speaking and media tour across the U.S.
“Uniting millions of women worldwide into a powerful force for change” We are working with our partners to build the largest interactive network of women in the world. We will unite millions of women into a powerful collective force to drive a more inclusive global agenda. It’s a revolution that has already begun. Today, women from 185 countries use World Pulse to speak out and connect, using Internet cafés and cell phones from rural villages to urban cities. Their stories are being picked up by the BBC, PBS, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the UN, the Huffington Post, and more. By networking on our site, women are finding jobs, starting new programs and businesses, launching women-only cyber cafés, and finding international speaking opportunities that are changing their lives and lifting their communities. World Pulse has grown from our kitchen table to a global network, partnering with over 40 top international organizations empowering women and reaching over 100,000 individuals worldwide. From the parliaments of Kabul to the clinics of Rwanda to the frontlines of change in Latin America, women are boldly speaking their minds. World Pulse is a nonprofit social media enterprise headquartered in Portland, Oregon. As a young freelance journalist covering indigenous movements and ethnic cleansing in South America and Southeast Asia, Jensine (YenSee Nah) Larsen had a vision — to use the power of media to unleash the creative human potential of women across the globe. “Through new media we have the power to connect and build a bold global community, to support
World Pulse Founder Jensine Larsen.
continued on page 8 www.episcopalwomenscaucus.org • Ruach
A monastery without walls: An interview
From page 6
So, do you pray before you write? Or, go on a photography walk? Do you pray throughout the activity?
You provide a plethora of online classes! Can you talk about some of them?
Yes, both actually are forms of prayer for me. My practice is to begin with a blessing for the time ahead, that my heart might be open for the way the Spirit moves through me. As I write or walk with my camera I try to stay fully present to the experience. The heart of monastic spirituality for me is the way it cultivates a beautiful presence to each moment as sacred, so really all of life is a prayer. God is there with each breath; we just need ways to pay attention. Writing and photography are two of those ways for me.
This fall I had another offering of “Way of the Monk, Path of the Artist,” which is a 12-week journey accompanied by my new book, a discussion forum to build community, active input and support from me along the way, and guided meditation podcasts. It is limited to 15 participants to nurture intimacy and sharing. I also have my class “Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Contemplative Practice,” which is available on-demand for self-study and can be taken at any time.
Are you surprised at how people are responding to what you offer?
Abbey of the Arts is also offering a new series of classes beginning this fall with a focus on supporting what I call soul care practitioners and includes spiritual directors, chaplains, pastors, and counselors through a focus on the arts, contemplative practice, and deep self-care. I am excited about this new adventure.
When I offered my first “Way of the Monk, Path of the Artist” class, I was really blown away by the hunger for the material. The class filled immediately, as did subsequent offerings. I had been writing a blog on contemplative practice and creative expression for several years so knew there was interest, but I discovered this amazing community of monks and artists in the world who longed for support and companionship along the way.
June Mears Driedger is a writer, editor, spiritual director, and retreat leader in Lansing, Michigan. She also is an ordained Mennonite minister. She blogs at: http://junemearsdriedger.wordpress.com.
World Pulse from page 7 each other’s dreams, restore our earth, heal society, and care for our children,” Larsen explained. A few years later, at age 28, Larsen began publishing her flagship project — World Pulse magazine. Today, with her eye on the future of communications technology in the developing world, Larsen is now building an interactive global media company designed to connect women worldwide. As a passionate social entrepreneur and leader, Larsen has organized a dedicated staff and team of professional advisors and volunteers, supporting networks of international women’s organizations, leading journalists from around the world as well as endorsements from international luminaries and visionaries. Larsen has her finger on the global pulse of Sima Samar, the chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human women’s and youth voices and is increasingly sought Rights Commission, with the girls of Aryana High School. Her story is told after for inspirational keynotes, current affairs lecin “The Little Girls became Literate Women of Taliban Time” by Parwana tures, and radio programs. She is featured on GreatFayyaz of Kabul, Afghanistan, published on the World Pulse website. WomenSpeakers.com and has appeared on NPR Inset: Parwana Fayyaz. Read Fayyaz’s story at http://www.worldpulse. and Air America and presented keynotes at Hewlett com/node/47513. Packard, Bioneers, Bennett College, and the Boulder Conference on World Affairs. She is considered one To learn more and to support World Pulse, visit www. of Portland, Oregon’s up and coming “Young Creatives” worldpulse.com. according to The Oregonian (2/2/06). Both a visionary and — From the World Pulse website pioneer, Jensine is the first voice of World Pulse — the first of many.
Ruach • Winter 2012
EWHP: ‘A well-kept secret doing fascinating work’
by Beth Stifel
ast year some members of our reading group here in Pittsburgh learned that the Episcopal Women’s History Project was having their annual conference in Seneca Falls, New York. The history project was something we were all aware of but didn’t know much about, and Seneca Falls, home of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and birthplace of the suffragist movement, is a little more than a five-hour drive from Pittsburgh. It just seemed like a fun thing to do, so three of us went to Seneca Falls to be part of the conference. It was a great decision. Driving into Seneca Falls is an incredible experience — it’s a quiet rural town that is one of the important places for women in this country — and we were going to join the Episcopal Women’s History Project members to learn about their work. The EWHP was founded in 1980 to record the history of women in the Episcopal church. This group is a well-kept secret and is doing fascinating work. Learn more about them at www.ewhp.org.
The panel included the Honorable Emily Hewitt, one of the Philadelphia 11, active priest in her diocese and Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals; Dr. Carter Haywood, one of the Philadelphia 11 and retired professor of theology at Episcopal Divinity School; Nancy Wittig, one of the Philadelphia 11 with a long career in active ministry; Pat Merchant, ordained in January 1977 and active in ministry in Virginia, Georgia and Ohio; and Marilyn Sweet Page, ordained in January 1977 and in active ministry in New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania. They reflected on their experiences, what they had hoped for, what they had achieved and what hopes were not met. It was amazing to be with these highly intelligent, interesting women and to listen to their stories.
The Episcopal Women’s History Project held their annual conference in
We ended the day with a celebratory Eucharist at Trinity Church. Members of the congregation came on a weekday night to do all those things congregations do, the choir, people welcoming us and, of course, the altar guild. It made us feel as though we belonged.
The members of the Seneca Falls, New York, October 24-27. Founded in 1982, the EWHP EWHP were incredibly promotes the collection, preservation, and telling of the stories of welcoming. The conferAfter all that, there was women in the Episcopal Church. ence began at dinner a dinner followed by a and we had a visit from talk by Mary Donovan, a Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who told the story of her life. (It was co-founder of EWHP and author of A Different Call: Women’s a well-done monologue by Barbara Schlacter.) The next morn- Ministries in the Episcopal Church, 1850-1920. She was a ing we went to Trinity Church in Seneca Falls, which had been interesting, informative speaker who used humor well. There attended by Elizabeth Stanton. We had a long day that was were several people who specifically came to the dinner to stimulating and informative. There were paper presentations celebrate the 25th anniversary of the publication of her book, in the morning and afternoon. The topics were diverse and a seminal work considering women’s call in the church; and included, among others, the story of a ladies sewing society at they spoke to the influence it had on them and their work. St. Matthew’s Church in Hillsborough, North Carolina, in the The following morning we had another session, again 1800s; an Episcopal deacon who went with and stayed with with interesting and insightful work presented. For us from her Japanese-American congregation during their internment Pittsburgh there was a paper of particular interest, “Witnessduring WWII; and the story of the deaconess movement whose ing to Inclusion in a Time of Schism” by Joan Gundersen. It funds still help women preparing for ordination. detailed the work of the women of the Pittsburgh diocese who The day ended with a Living History Panel moderated by Barbara Schlacter, who was ordained in January 1977. It was composed of women who were active in the struggle for the ordination of women and some of the Philadelphia 11.
struggled to keep the diocese in the Episcopal church during the five years before the actual split in the diocese. It particularly noted their work creating bridges between groups and truth telling.
continued on page 19 www.episcopalwomenscaucus.org • Ruach
Female priest pursues her calling in Danville by Mandy Simpson
my Dafler Meaux couldn’t quite qualify the feeling the first time she had it. At 8 years old, she watched Lutheran clergy in sweeping sanguine and alabaster vestments celebrate the ordination of a new minister and felt … something, something prophetic hovering in the music and stained-glass light. “I don’t remember telling anyone, but I remember being a witness to that ordination and thinking there was something happening here that had to do with what I would become,” she said. That initially intangible feeling eventually revealed itself to Meaux, 37, as a call to ministry. She followed her passion for Christian service through confident high school days, inquisitive college years, enlightening seminary experiences, marriage and motherhood. Meaux also let it lead her to Trinity Episcopal Church in Danville for the first time nearly a year ago. Now, after a journey that began decades ago during that fateful ordination, she is preparing to celebrate Christmas as a priest at the church. “It took me realizing that not everyone sits in church thinking about being behind the altar, that that was me envisioning this vocation that God called me to,” she said. That truth held strong with Meaux, a South Carolina native, while she attended high school in New Orleans. She joined national Episcopalian organizations and committees, while finding peace in her home parish and reinforcing her dreams of becoming a priest. “Church became that one place where I felt safe, and I could be myself, and I felt at home,” Meaux said. “I thought, if this is where I felt safest, this is where I should be all the time.” After graduating, her tunnel vision focused solely on seminary, but the Episcopal church requires a bachelor’s degree before aspiring priests can begin their studies. So, somewhat begrudgingly, she set out for Louisiana Scholar’s College at Northwestern State University, Natchitoches. While digging into her courses, Meaux discovered her interests expanded beyond theology in ways she had never considered. “I sort of went into college boldly saying, ‘I’m going to be a priest.’” she said. “And then eventually I was like, ‘Well, maybe I could be a lawyer.’” Proclaiming law as her future profession certainly would have prevented strange looks and “physical steps backward” from male students at parties and in restaurants. But, no matter how shocked the company, Meaux continued to express her desire for the priesthood. That ambition seemed the only one constant with the elusive feeling from her childhood. 10
Ruach • Winter 2012
So when a young man who worked for her father showed true interest in her chosen profession, she realized he could be her partner for life. She married Jared Meaux in July 1999 before beginning study at the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. “In seminary, there’s this open invitation to study the Bible and theology all the time,” she said. “What a privilege, right? So many people have to make time to study the Bible, and that was my job for three years.”
Amy Dafler Meaux. Photo / Trinity Church, Danville, Kentucky website.
Learning and preaching God’s word continued to be her priorities after she became an ordained priest in 2002. Though, Meaux encountered no prejudice from the Episcopal administration during her ordination process, her first job landed her back in predominately Catholic New Orleans, where a female in a priest collar looked ready for Halloween. “One person who was serving me at a restaurant stood in front of me for two or three minutes speechless,” Meaux said, smiling. “He pointed to his neck, so I said, ‘I’m a priest,’ and out of his month came, ‘But you’re a woman.’” Still, the Cajun culture of acceptance rarely led to confrontation with those upset by her gender-vocation combination. When Meaux returned to Texas to take a job in Dallas, though, she had frank conversations with anyone concerned about a priest with pearl earrings. “I never see that as personal. I’ve always experienced that as coming from their own understanding of Scripture and their own theology,” she said. “God has called me to ordained ministry, and if they want to take that up with God, that’s fine. It’s not like something I made up or dreamt.” Meaux and her husband also felt a very real call to leave their parish of thousands in Dallas to raise their children Jacob, 5, and Elise, 7, in a smaller town. So when a bishop alerted Meaux to the position in Danville, she quickly applied and visited the town last January. continued on page 12
What ‘Occupy’ is, read ‘Tidal’ by George E. Packard
n the confusion which characterizes the OWS Movement there are lots of claims and kibitzers promoting descriptions. None, I’ve found, are helpful, few are accurate. Among the worst is a piece I read on the Huffington Post where the author refers to protesters as “kids in tantrums” and “in need of a job.” Junk like this deserves a deep breath and an eye roll. OWS has provided a fascinating syllabus in a glossy 12-page manifesto of sorts called “Tidal.” It reads a little like a self-conscious senior term paper at first but in time ... it catches up with you. “We notice a vague spiritual nausea, hard to discuss in a world where serious, hard-working people have little time to believe in the existence of the soul.” Somebody was paying attention in Philosophy 101. But do you get the point? This is not a movement which is merely drifting over our landscape? But they save the real firepower for you-know-who: “What do we want from Wall Street? Nothing, because it has nothing to offer us. We wouldn’t be here if Wall Street fed off itself; we are here because it is feeding off everyone.” I live in a wealthy NYC suburb that has a local curiosity: a garage band composed of weekend financiers innocently known as “The Derivatives.” As a lark they play at local cocktail parties and the town park. They didn’t need their bonus money to buy the instruments. No one thought of this obscene reference when they organized the group. I haven’t asked if they’ve changed the name. But back to Tidal. Further into the piece it says of the sham of self sufficiency (read “selfishness” as adapted in our culture) that whole populations “are deemed disposable” when they can’t afford health care. Having just returned from a city hospital with a friend on Medicaid, I can attest to the cattle car treatment for the poor. And this reference spoke to me as the former bishop for the armed forces, “those who are conscripted into the army with
a promise of skills training and work, sent into zones of conflict where there is no clear mandate and where lives can be destroyed, and are sometimes destroyed (these) are also the disposable populations George E. Packard (too).” I think of all those young faces (and not so young if they were National Guard members) in so many deployments, on so many bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. So much post-traumatic stress, too many suicides. Is our country in need of an overhaul? Think so. “Tidal” can be found here: www.occupytheory.org. George E. Packard was elected Fifth Bishop Suffragan for Chaplaincies in 1999. This piece is reprinted with his permission from his blog, “Occupied Bishop,” at http://bishopsnotebook. blogspot.com. Editor’s Note: It is impossible, within the limitations of this printed and mailed magazine, to stay on top of what turns out to be a quickly developing story. As Ruach was “put to bed.” Bishop Packard wrote the following in his blog the morning of December 17 before he and his spouse Brook headed out to protest. He was arrested. This will be old news by the time Ruach hits your mailbox, but it is important to note, first, what he has expressed; and second, that he was willing to “go to the mat” for his beliefs. As a fellow Episcopalian, I am full of admiration for him today. Brook [his spouse] and I travel down to Duarte [Square] in a few minutes and what awaits us I do not know. I do know that for me and the OWS I know no violence is intended, only peaceful disobedience if it comes to that. ... And speaking of “coming to that,” I am still baffled that the Episcopal church of which I have been a member all my life could not — through Trinity — find some way to embrace these thousands of young people in our very diminishing ranks. (Every year for the last five years we have lost 14,000 members.) Just as we pioneered an awareness of the full membership for the LBGT community, what’s happening here? How hard would it have been for Trinity to convene legal counsel and say, “Give us some options so that a charter could be granted over the winter months?” I had proposed that to the rector and I still think it was a solution. Occupy Wall Street gets a home over the winter (one that would offer food for the homeless and a clinic — truly bring alive dead space) and Trinity would have the assurance that the lease would return to them safe and sound come Spring. Everybody wins. Photo / Episcopal Cafe. www.episcopalwomenscaucus.org • Ruach
Challenging gender inequity in pursuit of women’s health
r Sarojini Nadar is a theologian and academic from South Africa working on the issues of gender, religion and health for many years. She is currently serving as senior lecturer and director of the Gender and Religion program, School of Religion and Theology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Nadar has been deeply involved with churches to raise awareness about women’s health in communities, challenging patriarchal values and working for gender justice.
Nadar was interviewed by WCC Communications in November, as part of the World Council of Churches (WCC) initiative of inviting congregations and individual Christians to make it a month of health and healing, and launching biblical meditations on gender, reproductive and sexual health.; She addressed the theme “Gender inequity and its impact on health: Created in the image of God.” What are the main issues faced by women in relation to their health and well being, as impacted by gender inequity? It is significant to note health is not necessarily the absence of illness, but is a state of holistic well being in all aspects of one’s life — physical, emotional, mental, social and, of course, spiritual. Gender inequity unfortunately impacts on
Female priest pursues her calling in Danville from page 10 “We could walk everywhere, and everyone was so nice,” she remembered. “We had dinner at the pizza pub, and we could just image raising our family here because it felt so warm.” The couple’s visions became reality in May when Meaux took the reins at Trinity. With a congregation of about 150, Meaux said she feels as if she can celebrate a more intimate mass and build personal relationships with a greater portion of the parish. She describes her services as “joyful, enthusiastic, energetic and fun,” with sermons that challenge people to deepen and mature their faith. These are two goals Meaux keeps in mind for herself every time she steps behind the altar and into the role she’s always seen as her natural place. “It’s like living a dream,” she said. Mandy Simpson is staff writer with the Advocate-Messenger News in Danville, Kentucky. This article is reprinted with permission.
each of these aspects of well being, causing not just an imbalance in society, but even may lead to physical death. The most poignant example of this is the HIV and AIDS pandemic in South Africa. Gender inequity is a significant factor in Dr. Sarojini Nadar the sexual transmission of HIV and at the same time influences treatment, care and support. HIV has become known as a gendered pandemic due to socio-political contexts of our societies. What solutions can churches offer to ensure the good health of women in communities? There are a number of spaces that exist and can be created for women to pursue healthier options that lead to their wellbeing. Space will not allow a discussion of all of these, but I would think that one of the most powerful places is church women’s organizations. These organizations can provide the space for women to become agents of change and to challenge the patriarchal status quo. Unfortunately, these organizations have become “patriarchal mouthpieces” as opposed to becoming spaces for transformation. The only way in which these spaces can be reclaimed is if women themselves have a strong sense of gender justice and equity. Furthermore, harmful cultural practices such as “widow cleansing” (a traditional practice in which widows are expected to have sexual relations, often with a relative of their late husband, in order to secure property within the family), female genital mutilation, preparing women for unequal gender relations in marriage, all continue to fuel the HIV pandemic. Often it is women who uphold these practices. How do you see the role of churches supporting women in their quest for equity and good health? A number of studies on gender inequality and violence show that despite the impressive national machinery, gender inequality and gender violence remain at unacceptably high levels. This is why more than ever the role of the churches is so important. One of the significant ways of reaching people is through the sacred text — the Bible. The Bible is filled with resources to challenge gender inequity and to show the ways in which gender inequity leads to illness and death. These biblical texts continued on page 13
Ruach • Winter 2012
New SCLM resources in English and Spanish offer information on proposed blessing rites by ENS staff [Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Church Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music has released educational materials and other information surrounding its plan to ask General Convention to authorize a three-year trial use of its proposed rite for blessing same-gender unions.
has requested that the General Convention Office make the blessings resources themselves available by March 1, 2012.
The downloadable materials are available in English and Spanish at http://generalconvention.org/ccab/files/2.
The resolution also will ask for the continuation of the “generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this church,” called for in C056, Meyers said, including allowing for adaptation of the rite for local use. And, the resolution would have the commission report to the 2015 meeting of convention on how all the materials are used.
They are part of the commission’s 18 months of work in response to General Convention’s mandate (via Resolution C056) that it work with the House of Bishops to collect and develop theological resources and liturgies for blessing samegender relationships, and report to the 77th General Convention July 5-12, 2012, in Indianapolis. Ruth Meyers, SCLM chair, said in an Office of Public Affairs press release that the materials now available are meant to inform people about the work of the commission, in advance of the release next spring of the resources it has collected and developed. The materials available now “are designed particularly for deputies and diocesan conventions, but could be used in other contexts,” Meyers said in the release. Among the items are: educational materials about the commission’s response to C056 for diocesan conventions and diocesan meetings of deputies; a summary of the liturgical principles used by the commission; an overview for deputies of the commission’s work between now and General Convention; theological reflection materials and a piece called “Understanding Resolution C056.” According to the overview for deputies, the commission
In October the SCLM said that it would propose to General Convention that the church spend three years using a rite for same-gender blessings and studying its application.
During that same triennium the church also would reflect on its understanding of marriage in light of changes in both societal norms and civil law if convention agrees to a related resolution the commission will propose, according to Meyers. The blessing resources to be released in the spring are due to include the rite for blessing same-gender relationships, a theological essay on the issues involved in blessing such relationships, a pastoral resource to guide clergy and trained lay people who would prepare same-gender couples to receive a blessing (the church requires heterosexual couples to engage in pre-marital counseling as well) and a discussion guide for helping congregations and other groups to discuss the rite and other materials. The commission will encourage feedback from people using all of the material available now as well as that released in the spring. People can respond via the SCLM’s blog at http://liturgyandmusic.wordpress.com/category/resources-forsame-gender-blessings.
Challenging gender inequity in pursuit of women’s health From page 12
are far too many to mention, but perhaps at the heart of the issue is the issue of human dignity — addressing what it means to be created in the image of God. How do you understand the biblical phrase “Created in the image of God”? The Middle-Eastern myth of the origins of creation found in the Hebrew Bible has not only entrenched itself in cultures across the world but has served to establish and legitimate a hierarchy of gender relations in society, purely because of the understanding that a woman was created from a man’s rib. As Phyllis Trible has noted, “Throughout the ages people have used this text to legitimate patriarchy as the will of God. They maintained that it subordinates woman to man in
creation, depicts her as his seducer, curses her, and authorizes man to rule over her.” A Bible study that calls into question the notion that women were created from a rib, instead of half of the first earthling adama, can do much to entrench the view that women are fully created in the image and likeness of God and that, therefore, violence against women means “violence against God.” The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. www.episcopalwomenscaucus.org • Ruach
Decently and in order: An apprec by Pamela W. Darling
n August 24, 2011, just after her 86th birthday, Dr. Pamela P. Chinnis departed this life. Numerous eulogies have appeared on-line and in the press, and moving tributes were offered at the memorial service on October 14. With sadness and gratitude, I offer my own personal testimonial, drawing on a dozen years of working closely, first when she chaired the Committee for the Full Participation of Women in the Church and its successor, the Committee on the Status of Women, and then assisting her for three terms as the (first woman) president of the House of Deputies. For over three decades, until her retirement in 2000, Pam dedicated her time, energy and love to the often thankless tasks of leadership in the Episcopal church. She had that wonderful gift of treating each person she encountered as special. Toward friend or foe, she was unfailingly gracious, and as she broke through one glass ceiling for women in the church after another, she was always a lady. Everyone who knew her had a story to tell. Accompanying her through a crowd at General Convention, or any church gathering large or small, involved a lot of waiting about as she greeted virtually everyone in the room. She sustained relationships with countless Episcopalians, without the cynical baby-kissing of so many politicians. When I accused her of being a world-class schmoozer, she just smiled. Make no mistake, she was a consummate politician. With grace, dignity, razor-sharp intelligence and a wicked wit, Pam
Chinnis exercised leadership in numerous local, national and international settings: her parish, Church of the Epiphany in Washington, D.C., the Episcopal Church Women, the Chapter of the National Cathedral, the National Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, the Anglican Consultative Council, the Consultation on Church Union, the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church — all were beneficiaries of her remarkable talents.
There were, of course, Pamela Chinnis was “a pioneer in proper pump numberless committees ner Elizabeth M. Kaeton. “I once heard her refe and subcommittees and Episcopal Church. I think that is, perhaps, the m task forces and adviapply to her.” sory groups undergirding those august organizations. The homework was prodigious. Her desk, her kitchen counters, her dining room table and living room window seats, were covered with foot-high stacks of folders, papers and books, and she knew exactly where to find whatever was needed for the next meeting. All those meetings involved extensive travel — Canada, Brazil, India, Singapore, Wales, South Africa, London, Zimbabwe, and throughout the United States — an exhausting itinerary for anyone, and especially so for one who, in the last years before retirement, was in her 80th decade. Yet she never appeared tired despite lugging arm-loads of papers from room to room in hotels and convention centers; and she was always elegantly dressed, pulling one perfect outfit after another out of her modest luggage. A hip replacement slowed her down in the middle of her term as president, so we began renting a scooter for the long hotel and convention hallways. This minimized the walking, and also cut down on Pam Chinnis at General Convention, July 2000. Photo / Episcopal Life Convention Daily.
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ciation of Pamela Pauly Chinnis schmoozing delays, as people tended to get out of the way instead of button-holing her. She enjoyed speeding along when traffic allowed, sometimes grinning like a kid in a bumper car.
Pam Chinnis was always neat and precise. She was irritated if something was stapled without squaring the corners. The papers in her kitchen and dining room were perfectly labeled, piled and lined up in parallel rows. Her mind was equally well-organized, with hyper-links connecting issues, people and policy. Her commitment to Episcopal Church ps and a string of pearls,” said EWC Convepolity was absolute, so erred to as ‘The Radical Grande Dame’ of The most accurate and endearing description I could she could quickly detect developments threatening the role of the laity in church governance. She had warm personal relationships with dozens of bishops, but woe to the House of Bishops if it failed to remember that the House of Deputies was the “senior House.” She knew the House Rules of Order, and Roberts’ Rules, backwards and forward, and believed that the purpose of parliamentary procedure was to facilitate the work of a legislative body. She was a superb presiding officer. Her quick wit often eased the tension. When the deputies got tangled up in amendments, substitutes and calls for the question, she was deft in recognizing where the emerging consensus lay and suggesting ways to get
there. Protecting the “will of the House” took priority, even when it differed from her own convictions. Impartiality on the platform was essential; deputies needed to be able to trust “the chair” if outcomes were to be accepted. In the three years between conventions, presidential responsibilities included making appointments, co-chairing Executive Council meetings, representing the church at numerous gatherings (she prized a photo taken in Bill Clinton’s office), participating in planning for the next convention, meeting with her Council of Advice to review events and discuss potential responses. She also met regularly, by phone and in person, with Presiding Bishop Edmond L. Browning, and the two forged a strong professional and personal relationship — providing support to both through “a wretched series of crisis and scandal, crime and conflict.” [Decently and in Order: Selected Reflections of Pamela P. Chinnis. Forward Movement, 2000. p.193.] There was no shortage of adrenalin-producing events in the Episcopal church during her administration, but I never saw her lose composure. Colorful language, especially reflecting her Missouri youth, was reserved for private conversations, while in public she was always calm and courteous. Dr. Pamela W. Darling is a lay leader in the Episcopal church, a writer and church historian. From 1991-2000 she was Special Assistant to the President of the House of Deputies in the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, and served as consultant and editor for the Committee on the Status of Women from 1986-1995. Author of New Wine: the Story of Women Transforming Leadership and Power in the Episcopal Church, she has written or edited numerous publications.
Pamela Chinnis, first woman to serve as president of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church, and former Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning converse during a celebration of Chinnis’ ministry held during General Convention 2000 in Denver, CO. Chinnis died August 24, 2011. ENS photo / Dick Snyder. www.episcopalwomenscaucus.org • Ruach
Rational functionalism and the decline of mainstream churches by N. Graham Standish
any denominations, churches, pastors, and members have become mired in a series of worthless arguments in their attempt to diagnose why mainstream denominations and churches are in decline. Too many in the mainstream church think the problems have to do with theological positions, styles of worship, or availability of programs. So they say that the decline is the result of churches being too liberal or too conservative, or that the decline is due to our tootraditional worship. They say that we don’t meet enough of people’s needs, and we need to offer more programs. What I have consistently noticed in almost all thriving congregations, however, is that what makes the difference is the extent to which the community is open to God at its core. Many churches simply aren’t open to God. They let the will, ego, and purpose of the dominant voices in their congregation, whether the pastor’s or that of a few strong members, drive the agenda. Instead of seeking God’s call and purpose, they argue over who is right and wrong. Declining churches tend not to be open to God’s presence. They worship, meet, and engage in ministry and mission, but their sense is that God is in heaven, we are on earth, and all that matters is doing good deeds. The congregants have no sense that Christ is in their midst, and that this presence of Christ can bless them and make their churches places of love. So they continue to engage in the practices of the church, but they don’t expect an encounter with Christ. These churches have no awareness that God’s grace and power can work in their midst. They have no awareness of the Holy Spirit. They are unaware that when we become open to God, God’s Spirit flows through the church to make miracles happen. This lack of awareness in mainline churches today is symptomatic of a far greater problem — something I call “rational functionalism” — a disease that has afflicted all mainline denominations. Rational functionalism is rooted in the idea that we can uncover the mysteries of life and the universe mainly through rational thought and disciplined investigation. It is the tendency of denominations, their congregations, and their leaders to subscribe to a view of faith and church rooted in a restrictive, logic-bound theology that ignores the possibility of spiritual experiences and miraculous events. This approach to faith is a by-product of the Age of Enlightenment, whose focus was on the rational and scientific pursuit of truth. From this perspective, God is a problem to be solved through a method that mirrors the scientific method as closely as possible, and if that isn’t feasible, then by restrict16
Ruach • Winter 2012
ing the inquiry to the laws of human logic and analysis. The rational functional approach can reduce a congregation’s practice to the attempt to lead people into a positivistic, logical exploration of religion and faith. The idea here is that a theoN. Graham Standish logical, historical, sociological, psychological, anthropological, economic, and philosophical understanding of the Christian faith will enable us to discern the laws of God and human life more clearly, and we can therefore learn to live better lives. In short, this approach reflects what a national leader in my denomination once said to me: “If we can just get people to think right theologically, then all of our problems will go away.” The problem is that faith is more than just a logical, empirical inquiry into God and God’s ways. It involves our minds, spirits, bodies, relationships, and beings. To address the human seeking for God from only a rational, logical, theological perspective is limiting. One danger of rational functionalism is that it can cause pastors and leaders to become overintellectual in their approach to faith. God becomes an abstract notion, not a presence whom we can experience, form a relationship with, and love. Increasingly, these pastors and leaders endanger their faith. They don’t know what to do with God. They especially don’t know what to do with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They can appreciate Jesus from a historical perspective, but what do they do with the resurrected Christ who, according to Scripture, is incarnated in the world, in relationships, and in the human heart? What do they do with the Holy Spirit, who inspires, heals, and miraculously touches life? Ultimately, they become so intellectual in their approach that they not only lose their own faith, but struggle with leading others to faith. I am not advocating that pastors and church leaders should remain theologically and historically ignorant, or that we should blindly accept everything in the Bible as historical fact. Understanding Scripture and Christian faith from a more critical and academic point of view is a good thing because it can help us to understand the context and intent of Scripture, thus helping us hear God’s voice more clearly when we read Scripture. My point is that when academic inquiry and scientific skepticism become stronger than an emphasis on forming faith and leading people to an encounter with God, continued on page 17
Rational functionalism and the decline of mainstream churches From page 16 the church declines because people are no longer led to form a living faith in God that can transform their lives. The church becomes little more than a social agency filled with wellmeaning but spiritually dead people.
n churches caught in the grip of rational functionalism, sermons tend to become academic papers read to the people in the pews. They don’t address more basic issues: How are we supposed to endure living with pain, loneliness, and turmoil? How are we supposed to find God amid life’s darkness? Bible studies focus on the historical, sociological, economic, and cultural issues of the time, with the intent of uncovering what theological message the writer of a Bible passage is trying to impart. They don’t address more basic issues: What is God saying to me through the Scripture about how to live my life? What is God saying to me about what God is doing in my life, especially in the face of my suffering? How is God calling me to love others and to reach out to those who are suffering, both near and throughout the world, and who are in need of God’s love as well as mine? The primary problem at the core of rational functionalism is that it fails to treat God as a tangible presence. God is treated mostly as an idea or thought, or as an entity we encounter when we die, rather than as a tangible presence in the here and now. There is no sense that God’s kingdom is all around us, and that this kingdom is a spiritual reality in which we can experience God directly. A second problem with rational functionalism is that it functionalizes the life of the church, turning everything from worship to committee meetings into routinized events with little connection to a larger purpose. In the rationally functional church, the focus is on maintaining the institution, not on creating experiences through which God can be encountered and experienced in our midst. What matters most is preaching in the prescribed manner, adhering to particular rituals in the traditional way, and singing only the traditional hymns. Guiding people to a tangible encounter, experience, and relationship with Christ isn’t much of a concern. Teaching people how to discover the power of the Holy Spirit in their midst is never emphasized because the object of the church has been reduced to doing what we’ve always done, to function the way the church has always functioned simply for the sake of functioning. Guiding people to discover the Creator’s call in their lives, calling them and us to live deeper, richer, and greater lives of love and service, is ignored in favor of guiding people simply to function as Christians have always functioned. In short, the message is reduced to (as someone once told me) “We should be Christians because Christianity is good and ethical, and we should be good and ethical people. The church’s role is to teach us to follow the Golden Rule.” Ultimately, becoming a blessed church means overcoming rational functionalism. In blessed churches, people not only
expect to experience God; they do experience God. Their expectations open the door to God, who stands knocking. They expect to hear the Creator’s voice guiding the church to what it is called to be and do. They expect to encounter and be blessed by Christ. They expect the power of God the Holy Spirit to flow through their life and the church’s, blessing them in so many ways. N. Graham Standish has been the pastor of Calvin Presbyterian Church in Zelienople, Pennsylvania, since January 1996. Over the past 14 years, Calvin Church has more than doubled in size, and has garnered national attention in several studies, including one by Diana Butler-Bass, who included Calvin Church in her groundbreaking book, Christianity for the Rest of Us, which researched churches across the country that are leading Christians to renewal through an emphasis on spirituality and spiritual practices. Standish is the author of six books. Learn more about him at www.ngrahamstandish.org. This article is excerpted and adapted from Becoming a Blessed Church: Forming a Church of Spiritual Purpose, Presence, and Power by N. Graham Standish copyright © 2005 by the Alban Institute. All rights reserved. It was first published on the Alban Institute website at www.alban.org and is reprinted with permission.
Free webinars available on worship and faith formation for all ages
Want to learn some proven techniques for engaging people in worship? Want to build new skills for encouraging the faith formation of children, youth or adults? Augsburg Fortress and sparkhouse offer FREE 30 to 60 minute webinars on a wide range of helpful topics. Bookmark this webpage and check it often for the latest list of free and informative webinars: www.augsburgfortress.org/webinars. Augsburg Fortress is the publishing ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Funded through sales revenue, Augsburg Fortress is called to provide products and services that communicate the Gospel, enhance faith, and enrich the life of the Christian community from a Lutheran perspective. www.episcopalwomenscaucus.org • Ruach
To compensate for a mystery
ack in the day — when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was a seminarian — we devoured books like John Snow’s Impossible Vocation and Henri J.M. Nouwen’s Wounded Healer and anything Evelyn Underhill had to say about the church and the priesthood. Mind you, the premises of these books have been misunderstood and abused. I am always stunned to hear aspirants for Holy Orders tell commissions on ministries that they are seeking ordination because it is their way of working out their issues of ... oh, name an issue ... adult children of alcoholics, their own addiction issues, their childhood abuse. They sometimes point to Nouwen’s Wounded Healer as the basis of their claim. That’s NOT what Nouwen was talking about! It’s not about narcissism dressed up in clerical garb! It’s about living a life of the sacramental embodiment of a heart so filled with gratitude for what God has done in your life, through Christ Jesus, that you commit yourself to the standards of excellence and generosity of Jesus, so that whatever personal sacrifice is made to achieve excellence and generosity, it is made from that place of gratitude. A priest’s whole life is to be that “outward and visible” sign of the inward and spiritual grace of gratitude so as to inspire the church to “go thou and do likewise.” The life of an ordained priest is to be that “sacramental presence” of the “praise and thanksgiving” of the “everyday Eucharist” of “ourselves, our souls and bodies.” A priest is a “parson” — a person — with a very public practice of ministry who has been ordained by the institutional church to, in all things, “nourish Christ’s people from the riches of his grace, and to strengthen them to glorify God in this life and the life to come” (BCP 531). How does one “compensate” that? We all want someone — a God representative — to be there when the diagnosis of cancer comes, or to sit with our grandson in a jail cell at 3:00 a.m. because he has been picked up for distributing drugs, or to be the first person we see when our eyes open after open-heart surgery, or in family court when there’s a messy divorce with child custody, or in the maternity ward celebrating after the birth of a much longedfor child, or to write the important reference for a much longed-for adopted child from another country, or to answer a difficult question from a 6 year old when his 40-something father dies in a car accident, or to do a graveside service for the family matriarch, or say some “meaningful words” in a country club setting of a memorial service or wedding, or to testify in a public hearing about an issue of justice — pick one, any one, from marriage equality to a zoning issue or a labor union organization to whether or not a Walmart or Starbucks or soup kitchen or low income housing should come to your neighborhood — to be reassured that God is there, with 18
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us in the joy and pain and struggle of life. To be a poet — an artist — making the connection between a spider’s web and the fragile but incredible strength of the interconnected web of the human community across lines of ethnicity and race, gender and sexual orientation, age and physical ability. But, we don’t want to think about actually paying for that service because, well, it’s vulgar and it spoils the romance of the moment. We’re the church, for Christ’s sake! Aren’t we even a little different from public schools or local service organizations or even the Red Cross — good as they may be? Neither Nouwen nor Snow or even Underhill promote the sacrificial life of priesthood as something one ought to give oneself to until the very marrow of their bones had been sucked dry. Indeed, if that happens, something else is going on and it’s terribly wrong. I fear that the whole “sacrificial priesthood” has been so misunderstood and abused as to find itself on the other end of the extreme in some discussions about “Clergy Wellness” and “units” and “Professionalism” and “Career Paths for Priests.” It’s an understandable defense mechanism against the abuses of the sacrificial nature of the priesthood — both imposed and self-imposed — but it is based on a more secular, pragmatic, “professional” understanding of the role and function of the priest and not on the theology of what “the priesthood” is — and who “the priest” is — in the church, which, as St. Paul tells us, is the Body of Christ. Which brings me to my point: I think this whole conversation is really just a symptom — like a cough is not a diagnosis but a symptom — of a larger issue about the current state and the ever-rapidly approaching future of the church. The easy, pragmatic path is to compare the church with any other not-for-profit organization and talk about how the church ought to “model compensation” in terms of “parity.” It’s easy. It’s pragmatic. And, it’s wrong. Dangerously wrong. It’s much more complicated than that. Parity, I should note, is not a Biblical — much less theological — term. Justice, on the other hand, is. Justice, however, does not mean sacrificing anyone for the sake of the institution. If anything, the institutional church — The Body of Christ — ought to sacrifice for the sake of its members. You know. The way Jesus did. Alas, it rarely does. Unfortunately, the institutional church is all about self-preservation, which is why She is so often beset by mediocrity and injustice. If there is any “modeling of compensation” to be done, why not look at how priests are compensated from church to church and diocese to diocese?
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To compensate for a mystery
nd then, let’s look at how deans and bishops are “modeling compensation” for the rest of the church. I’m thinking we’ll find such wide variables to make our heads spin, our stomachs ache and our hearts weep. We are not just another “charitable organization” that does “good works.” We do that, of course, but not so that we can “feel good about ourselves” in “giving back to others” and “making a difference.” That happens as a byproduct of a life of faith lived in community, but it is not the raison d’etre for the church. Which leads to the questions that, I think, are central to this discussion about “clergy compensation”: “What IS the reason for the existence of the church? Today? In this day? In these times? Right here. Right now. And, for future generations of Christians?” Talk to me — please — about what it means for YOU. Where you are. In your life. And then, let’s talk about that in ever-widening circles of community. And then, let’s talk “church as institution” and about power and authority. And then, let’s talk about how we describe the church in that amazing prayer we all say at the Great Vigil of Easter (BCP 291): “... Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery ...” and what that really means for us. How do we “compensate” a mystery if we can not even acknowledge it except in a prayer said once a year in a service that too many are “too busy” to attend because it’s “such a
From page 9
Going to the conference was a wonderful and productive way to spend two days. I learned a lot, understand better the work of the EWHP and truly appreciate the unique contribution they are making in researching the history of women in the church. They have many online resources and a newsletter which I recommend. Beth Stifel is from the Diocese of Pittsburgh and is active in a long-running reading group based at Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church there. She is particularly interested in women’s issues and has been a Caucus member for about 15 years. She has served on the Caucus board and is currently on its editorial board. “Elizabeth Cady Stanton” (aka Barbara Schlacter) spoke to EWHP conference goers.
from page 18
long service” and never held at a time that is “convenient”? Perhaps we will discover that mysteries don’t look like hierarchies. They are more circular and amorphous in structure — if they have any structure at all. However will we deal with THAT? I’ve gone on too long — much longer than I intended — and I apologize for that, but I’m not taking back a single word. Nope, not one. Indeed, I have more to say but I’ll leave it at that. I hope this post provides the stimulus for conversations in ever-widening circles about the great mystery of the church and how it is the vehicle for “the effectual workings of (God’s) providence” — BEFORE we get into discussions about compensation for clergy. Oh, and here’s a book for today’s generation of clergy and laity which I think ought to be required reading before any discussion about the “business” of the church: This Odd and Wondrous Calling: The Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers by Lillian Daniel and Martin B. Copenhaver. The fat has hit the fire which has been smoldering for a long time, temporarily waylaid by our heated discussions about human sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular. I hope we can build on what we’ve learned in these years of discussion about sexuality and begin to talk about intimacy and power and authority. There’s a reason that religious communities take vows of “chastity, poverty and obedience.” Sex. Money. And, power. These three issues will always be central to any discussion about what it means to be “church” — the Body of Christ. Let the discussion begin. I hope it will set our hearts on fire with a passion for the Gospel.
Bonnie Anderson to speak at Caucus breakfast House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson will be the keynote speaker at the Episcopal Women’s Caucus triennial breakfast at General Convention in July 2012. More information including date, location and ticket price will be available soon. To stay informed, check the Caucus website, www.episcopalwomenscaucus.org, or register at the website for “The Monthly Caucus,” our e-newsletter. www.episcopalwomenscaucus.org • Ruach
WordsMatter: Continuing the conversation on inclusive and expansive language What comes to mind when you hear the phrases “expansive language” and “inclusive language”? This question is at the heart of the WordsMatter project (http://wordsmatter.org ). The topic of inclusive and expansive language has been part of the work of the Justice for Women Working Group (J4WWG) of the National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA (NCC) for many years. The J4WWG’s Expansive Language Committee has published the “WordsMatter Expansive Language Conversation Guide” to provide churches and small groups with a tool for sharing personal stories about the ways in which their faith has been enhanced or harmed by the language, images, and symbols used to define worship, individual faith, and corporate life as Christians. More than just considering inclusive language, this guide encourages becoming expansive. “Our vision is for many conversations that take diverse contexts seriously in exploring the power of language (words, symbols or images) and how it can be used in life-giving ways that extend the hospitality of the church’s mission within the church and community,” explained Ann Tiemeyer, program director for the NCC’s Women’s Ministries. “This vision is grounded in the Gospel mandate to affirm life and carry forth the healing love of God found within the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the face of the death-dealing effects of sin in our world,” Tiemeyer said. The “WordsMatter Expansive Language Conversation Guide” is designed to be used a variety of settings. Local congregations might use it in Bible study, new member classes, or with confirmation or other youth and young adult groups. Staff in a large congregation or within dioceses might use it to re-enter these conversations in light of new learnings. It could be used in ecumenical gatherings with members from neighboring congregations or houses of worship to learn about each other. The guide is intended to assist with hosting a sacred, healthy, and trust-building conversation through a multitude of topics. The WordsMatter project has been endorsed in the Episcopal church by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, the Episcopal Church Center and the offices for Young Adult and Campus Ministries and Intercultural Ministries. This project is an extension of General Convention resolutions AO95 (1985) and CO21 (1997) calling for the creation of supplemental texts for use in worship. The guide is available for free download on the Caucus website at http://www.episcopalwomenscaucus.org/wordsmatter.htm.
Why Talk about it Now? Sensitivity to gender inclusive language, particularly religious language and metaphor, emerged in the 1970s with the 20
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advent of feminist theology and feminist biblical exegesis and hermeneutics, explained Loey Powell, chair of the Expansive Language Working Group committee, and an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. Many denominations began the process of developing gender inclusive worship materials, protocols for publications, and even Biblical translations that offered metaphors and names for God that reflected this inclusivity. The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible was authorized by the National Council of Churches (NCC) which provided inclusive language for humanity but not for God. Some inclusive language hymnals were also produced in subsequent years. “In recent years, many of us have noticed that there is a decline in the use of gender inclusive language throughout our denominations,” Powell said. “Furthermore, new awarenesses have emerged from other communities within our churches about language that reinforces harmful stereotypes about persons with disabilities and persons of color, heightening sensitivity to the use of words in general — words that can create or disrupt community and wholeness. Biblical imagery of light and dark, for example, tend to associate all that is good with white and light, and all that is bad with black and darkness, reinforcing racist stereotypes. The use of “blindness” to designate not just the ability to see or not see with one’s eyes but seeing or not seeing in a spiritual sense can be offensive to those with physical disabilities. “The term ‘expansive language’ has been used in some circles to indicate that respectful language that honors all of God’s people is more than just gender inclusive. It also seeks to find words, phrases and images that do not offend or reinforce stereotypes harmful to anyone,” said Powell. “As our denominations celebrate being multicultural and multiracial communities of faith, welcoming forms and styles of worship not historically or traditionally associated with our origins, the conversation about the use of language in our churches becomes more critical, and more challenging.” As the discussion began again in 2009, it was immediately clear that language issues were as important as ever to those involved in gender justice work in the churches — but that the conversation must now move deeper, explicitly linking our words to concrete realities of injustice. As church communities consider worship in the context of diverse ethnicities, the ordination of women, sensitivity to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender members, the able-bodiedness of the people in our pews, and the experiences of young people in an increasingly diverse and interactive world, a call for more expansive language is rising to the surface. As the J4WWG discussed how to move forward with an Inclusive and Expansive Language project, it was clear that a
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Bossy women by Carol J. Gallagher
I come from a long line of bossy women,” my mother has been known to say. We Cherokees are traditionally matriarchal and matrilineal. The women were in charge of many things and the role of women in our tribe was never one of subservience to men. We saw one another as equals with different skills and responsibilities. We were all required to keep the world in balance, to walk tenderly with each other and to guide our children carefully and respectfully. Things changed with our encounter with settlers, and as the European population grew on this continent, our ways became subjugated and hidden from plain sight. Cherokee women in leadership have always been present, and we take seriously our responsibility to be reconciled, in balance with all living things, as a critical part of our role. Our women have been chiefs and warriors, medicine women, artists, musicians and healers of all sorts. One of the most important tasks the Creator has given us is to make sure that all our people are on the path of reconciliation. To reconcile, tsunohisdodi in Cherokee, means that we are invited to acknowledge the pain and brokenness we have lived with. In our tradition, it is our stories that help us understand and take on this leadership role of reconciliation. We are told as little ones of the ancient tradition of having an ordeal disease which ultimately strengthens the person. Four ravens, red, black, white and blue, are called upon to put the ordeal away — to tuck it into a crevice, Sanigilagi, and hide it far away forever. Sanigilagi is the Cherokee name for Whiteside Mountain in North Carolina, and also stands for any high and faraway place. Ordeals are familiar to us, and we truly understand that we are strengthened by them. Our history has proven this out. The Trail of Tears, the forced removal of the Cherokee People from our ancestral homelands in the late 1830s, is the first of many ordeals that should have brought us to our knees. Sometimes we have turned on one another in these desperate times. It is the women who have brought us back and renewed the spirit of the people. Although we were broken for a time, our leadership has helped us call upon our faith, our traditions for reconciliation and renewal. Even though the ordeals themselves have been devastating, our strong women have reached deep down, and with tenderness, humility and holy fire have led our people to a place of healing and resurrection. It was Cherokee women like former Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller, a leader willing to be humble and on fire for her people. In the ’60s she stood with her brothers and sisters at Alcatraz, telling our hidden stories, fighting for all her rela-
tives. Many women stood behind the lines, also caring for the leadership of many tribes and finding food and shelter for all the supporters who gathered. Wilma taught me that we are not truly weakened by ordeal and hardship but by the brokenness of relationships and structures. Even when cancer invaded her body, intent on taking her life, she spoke, wrote and acted on behalf of all young Native men and women who needed support and encouragement. When I was elected bishop, she reached out to me and asked me to come home to my people, so that we could pray together, and encourage our young people as we faced those harsh days in 2002, right after 9/11. Most of our structures — tribal, governmental and religious — are not in right relations with God and with the people. Our struggles and failings are often due to a lack of balance, the greed, pride and strife we try to function within. To reconcile is to take time to remake ourselves and our structures so there is room for all. Cherokee women and men invite us all to seek to be humble enough to create a space where there is honor and respect for all. I believe that the church can learn a great deal from our leaders, especially from our women. Over the centuries, Cherokee women found ways to remake themselves and their communities with little or no materials. They used their art, their wisdom, their strength to remember the past and prepare our people for their future. Our women see their role as midwives, helping others through the pain and birthing, helping others grow into and beyond their dreams. Our church might consider that art of leadership, where relationship takes primacy over rules and authority, and where everyone is raised up together as a people who are looking out for the whole of the people. Carol J. Gallagher, Ph.D. is former bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Southern Virginia, the first American Indian (Cherokee) female bishop in the Episcopal Church, and the first Indigenous female bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion. The author of Reweaving the Sacred: A Practical Guide to Change and Growth for Challenged Congregations, she blogs at http://mamabishop.blogspot.com. She was selected as the Procter Fellow at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and was the recipient of a Louisville Institute Grant for Pastoral Study Projects, where her research focused on clergy families facing trauma and how they find resilience. Grateful for the faithful elders who taught her well and to honor their teaching, Bishop Gallagher is committed to doing justice within and beyond the church. www.episcopalwomenscaucus.org • Ruach
Retired Bishop Walter Righter remembered: ‘Faithful and prophetic servant’ for six decades by Mary Frances Schjonberg [Episcopal News Service] Retired Diocese of Iowa Bishop Walter C. Righter, 87, died September 11 after a long period of illness. “The Episcopal Church can give thanks for the life of a faithful and prophetic servant. He proclaimed the Gospel for more than 60 years in this church, through trials and great joys,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said September 12. “His ministry will be remembered for his pastoral heart and his steadfast willingness to help the church move beyond old prejudices into new possibilities. He embodied the one of whom it is said, ‘well done, good and faithful servant.’ “May Walter rest in peace and rise in glory, and may all who mourn be comforted.” He was remembered at a service September 15 at Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh diocese said in a press release that “we can uniquely recall his time of youthful service, as well as years of reserved retirement, in southwestern Pennsylvania.” Entering the ministry from St. Stephen’s Church in Sewickley, he was sent to Ligonier to help organize what would later become the parish church of St. Michael’s of the Valley, the diocese said. After ordination, Righter led congregations in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, for a while simultaneously serving the people of Aliquippa and Georgetown. Righter, who was born October 23, 1923, in Philadelphia, was ordained deacon and priest in 1951 by then-Diocese of Pittsburgh Bishop Austin Pardue. He served churches in that diocese and in New Hampshire before being elected bishop. He became the Diocese of Iowa’s seventh bishop on January 12, 1972. He retired in 1988 and later served as assistant bishop in the Diocese of Newark under diocesan Bishop John Spong from 1989-1991. In the mid-1990s, Righter became a flashpoint for tensions over the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people in the life of the Episcopal Church. The bishops of Dallas, Florida, San Joaquin, Central Florida, Texas, Eau Claire, Fort Worth, Quincy, Rio Grande and West Tennessee filed a presentment against Righter in February 1995 because he had ordained an openly gay man to the diaconate in the Diocese of Newark in September 1990. The bishops accused Righter of “holding and teaching ... doctrine contrary to that held by this church” under the socalled “heresy” canon, and violating those vows both because he ordained the Rev. Barry Stopfel and because Righter signed a statement supporting the ordination of non-celibate homosexuals. 22
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Righter faced the charge on the eve of the expiration of a five-year statute of limitations. Meanwhile, 36 bishops issued a statement saying in part that his “trial is a trial of the Gospel, a trial of justice, a trial of Retired Diocese of Iowa Bishop fairness, and a trial of the Walter C. Righter, 87, died Sepchurch.” The bishops said tember 11, 2011. that they felt they were on trial as well and that if Righter was found guilty and sentenced, “we will accept his sentence as our own.” In May 1996, an ecclesiastical court ruled 7-1 that Righter’s action did not violate church law or “core doctrine.” Thus, the charges were dismissed. The accusing bishops decided to ask the 1997 meeting of the General Convention to consider the issue of biblical authority and the ordination of non-celibate homosexual people. Many of the issues surrounding the full-inclusion of gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual people in the life of the church were addressed during that meeting of convention. Despite a lack of consensus on the issues, convention issued an apology to lesbians and gay men for “years of rejection and maltreatment by the church,” while acknowledging “the diversity of opinion ... on the morality of gay and lesbian sexual relationships.” And one resolution amended Canon IV.15 to define “doctrine” as “the basic and essential teachings of the church” as is “to be found in the Canon of Holy Scripture as understood in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds and in the sacramental rites, the Ordinal and Catechism of the Book of Common Prayer.” Two years later, Stopfel, who had become the rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Maplewood, New Jersey, resigned that position, saying that his ministry had been “deeply gratifying but very stressful,” and had strained his relationship with his partner, the Rev. Will Leckie. “Bishop Righter is one of the giants on whose shoulders gay and lesbian Christians stand,” Diocese of New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson, who in 2003 became the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, told the Pittsburgh Gazette newspaper. Righter is survived by his wife Nancy, four children and four grandchildren. Mary Frances Schjonberg is a reporter/editor for Episcopal News Service.
New poll: Millennial generation transforming landscape on gay and lesbian issues
he Millennial generation (age 18 to 29) is transforming the landscape on gay and lesbian issues in American religion, politics and society, a new survey finds. On issues related to gay and lesbian Americans, there is at least a 20-point generation gap between Millennials and seniors (age 65 and older) on church policies, public policy, and acceptance of social roles. The Millennials, Religion & Gay and Lesbian Issues Survey, conducted by Public Religion Research Institute and released in August during a national teleconference, is one of the largest public opinion surveys on religion and gay and lesbian issues ever conducted. The survey also finds that these large generational differences on gay and lesbian issues persist even among conservative political and religious groups such as Republicans and white evangelical Protestants. “This is the first year that support for allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry is not a minority position,” said Dr. Robert P. Jones, CEO of Public Religion Research Institute. “Overall trends and the strongly supportive attitudes of the Millennial generation suggest that we will look back on 2011 as the year marking a sea change in American attitudes on gay and lesbian issues.”
Among Americans who say their views have shifted over the last five years, more than twice as many say their current opinion about the legality of same-sex marriage has become more supportive than more opposed (19 percent and 9 percent respectively). A majority (51 percent) of Americans currently say supporting same-sex marriage is the more socially acceptable position to hold. Most Americans (51 percent) believe it is difficult to live openly as a gay or lesbian person, but nearly twice as many Americans believe more gay and lesbian people “coming out” is a good thing (34 percent) rather than a bad thing (18 percent) for American society. Slightly more Catholics believe the Catholic Church’s position on the issue of homosexuality is too conservative (46 percent) than believe it is about right (43 percent). Nearly seven-in-ten (69 percent) Millennials agree that religious groups are alienating young people by being too judgmental about gay and lesbian issues. Among seniors, only 37 percent agree.
Despite the conventional wisMore than six-in-ten AmeriPhoto / This material was created by the Center for Ameridom that religious groups genercans, including majorities of all can Progress (www.americanprogress.org). ally oppose rights for gay and major religious groups, believe lesbian Americans, the new survey that negative messages from also finds that all major religious America’s places of worship contribute either a lot (23 percent) groups support employment discrimination protections for gay or a little (40 percent) to higher rates of suicide among gay and and lesbian Americans. Even on the more contentious issue of lesbian youth. same-sex marriage, there are major religious groups on both sides of the debate. To read the full report, topline results, questionnaire and methodology, visit http://www.publicreligion.org/research/ “The Millennial generation also has a strong opinion about ?id=677. the role churches are playing on these issues,” said Daniel Cox, PRRI Research Director. “Seven-in-ten Millennials say that churches are alienating younger Americans by being too judgmental about gay and lesbian issues.”
The survey also found broad general acceptance of samesex relationships in society and that Americans are comfortable with gay and lesbian people in a variety of public professions.
Among the Findings Public support for allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry has registered double-digit increases over the last five years. In PRRI’s current July survey, views of same-sex marriage evenly divided; 47 percent of Americans favor it and 47 percent oppose it.
The survey was designed and conducted by Public Religion Research Institute and funded by the Arcus Foundation. The independent findings and analysis in this report are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Arcus Foundation. Results of the survey were based on 3,000 bilingual (Spanish and English) telephone interviews, including 1,000 cell phone interviews, conducted between July 14 and July 30, 2011. Public Religion Research Institute is a non-profit, nonpartisan research and education organization dedicated to work at the intersection of religion, values and public life. www.episcopalwomenscaucus.org • Ruach
The life of the world by Gigi Conner
ne of my favorite hymns from the UK hymnal is “The Life of the World” by a woman who was the former head of the Iona Community. Oh the life of the world is a joy and a treasure, unfolding in beauty the green-growing tree… The life of the world is a fountain of goodness Overflowing in labor and passion and pain… Oh the life of the world is the source of our healing. It rises in laughter and wells up in song; It springs from the care of the poor and the broken And refreshes where justice is strong. We’ve sung this hymn at St. Gregory’s. The tune is a lilting melody, which just calls out for a fiddle to play it, and it was written by a man with the same last name as the author of the hymn. This past September when I was on Iona I asked someone if the two were husband and wife. The answer was yes, but now they are divorced. I thought about the words — the life of the world is a fountain of goodness overflowing in labor and passion and pain. Such a contrast, isn’t it — that life can be a fountain of goodness which overflows with both passion and pain? But anyone who has really tried to live life to the fullest knows that our lives are filled to the overflowing with pain as well as goodness. The celebrating of Columbus Day is but one reminder that life can be both good and painful. On [St. Gregory’s] ENEWS this week is a video — which really involves listening more than seeing — about the Episcopal church and something called “The Doctrine of Discovery.” This doctrine, instituted by Henry VII in 1496, held that Christian sovereigns and their representative explorers could assert dominion and title over non-Christian lands with the full blessing and sanction of the church. Many people in the Episcopal church are unaware that for hundreds of years the church joined with the political structures of the Western Hemisphere to legally justify: the theft of Native lands; the murder of Native women, children and men; the denial of basic human rights through subjugation and enforced relocation; the denial of self-determination through destruction of Native American economic resources, cultures, and religions; and involuntary assimilation and attempted extermination of Native identity. The Doctrine of Discovery gave a rationale for taking over not only the possessions of indigenous peoples of other lands, but their very bodies and souls as well. For hundreds of years we celebrated the “discovery” of the Americas without regard to the great pain inflicted upon the people who were already here when Columbus landed his boats upon the shores. In the video a voice is heard to say “None of us were dis24
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covered as none of us were lost.” As Native Americans or First Peoples Gigi Conner were assimilated into a culture which was alien to their own, they were told to stop dancing and singing their songs in their own lands, in their own communities. This is somewhat the reversal of the plight of the Israelites in Psalm 137: By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land? The First Peoples here were held in captivity of a different sort, confined to reservations; and while they wept when they remembered their former lives, they were told to set aside their drums and flutes and shakers, to set aside their own songs, and to forget their own native tongue. They were to sing songs of the Lord that were written in English and sung to English tunes. It is somewhat ironic that today we are singing a hymn right out of our own hymnal that is a Dakota hymn in origin. I’ve loved this hymn for a long time and one of my fondest memories is hearing it chanted by a group of teenagers at a Province II camp in West Virginia. The teens began a “drumbeat” on the back of the pews and then proceeded to chant: “Many and great, O God, are thy works.” It was electrifying and I was really moved by the chanting and thought, “How wonderful that we — liberal church that we are — have incorporated a Native American chant into our hymnal.” I did not know until I listened to that video that this was chanted by 38 Dakota men as they marched to the gallows in 1862, for what has turned out to be the largest execution recorded in the history of our country. The execution, ordered by Abraham Lincoln, came about because of starvation, misunderstanding and mistrust. Life is indeed a fountain of goodness which sometimes is overflowing with pain. One of my seminary professors, Carter Heyward, who was of the Philadelphia 11 — the first wave of women to be ordained — repeatedly said that learning about oppression and past wrongs does not mean getting stuck in guilt and becoming paralyzed by it. Learning about the past, with all its pain and glory, is the catalyst for passion and action in the future. coninued on page 28
Redesigned ENS website highlights enhanced news outlets, multimedia, and social media
redesigned Episcopal News Service website now enhances its news and commentary with myriad advances, including expanded multimedia and a range of social media offerings and share tools, all designed to help you keep up-todate on the Episcopal church. The site is at http://episcopalnewsservice.com. “The new website incorporates the latest social media options to enable visitors to share, tweet, like, email and print articles from a single module,” explained Matthew Davies, Episcopal News Service editor/reporter. Among the new features are a Twitter feed available for real-time Episcopal church and Anglican Communion news, and an Episcopal News Service blog for a wide range of information and live coverage. Twitter: @episcopal_news. The website will continue to present its award-winning news and feature coverage, divided into sections: Top Stories, Churchwide, Worldwide, Commentary, and Noticias. The new site has been designed to spotlight a commitment to video coverage and multimedia. Also new to the site will be the ability to comment and engage in conversation on articles and videos. An enhanced search function allows for quicker and easier
Continuing the conversation on inclusive and expansive language from page 20
new direction was needed. The group felt that much scholarship had been written, and many denominations have even adopted gender, race, and ability inclusive language policies at governing levels. But most members of the group felt that they did not see the scholarship and policies lived out on a congregational level. They wanted to bring the conversation out of academia, out of the high reaches of church government, into the stories of people’s lives. The J4WWG decided to organize a conversation, held in Chicago in August 2010, on expansive language through two primary questions: How does our language for God, one another, and our world move us toward God’s justice? What new or other imagery is there to help us connect with God? The stories they heard called for expansion of the way people of faith think and talk about themselves, others, and their God. Instead of restricting language, the stories called for adding more diverse language. The stories called people to expand contextual cultural attentiveness — understanding that language speaks differently in different contexts. The stories called people to expand their understanding of how language is tied to systems of power and has been and can be harmful, oppressive, and death-dealing. And the stories showed that in an environment created through respectful intentional listening, compliance to rules about specific words was not as helpful as commitment to understanding the impact of language.
This kind of commitment can lead to real, meaningful analysis of systems of power that oppose the Gospel; extending a life-affirming hospitality within the church and community. Finally, the stories called people to spread this conversation to as many different places as possible. “I hope there will be many conversations as we continue to explore ways to welcome and value every person who walks through the doors of our churches,” said Kim Robey, chair of the J4WWG and former director of the Women’s Desk at the Episcopal Church Center. In addition to the conversation guide, devotional resources for Advent and Lent are available on the WordMatters website. To learn more about the WordsMatter project, visit http:// wordsmatter.org. There is an Episcopal church-focused WordsMatter site at http://expansivelanguage.blogspot.com and a WordsMatter.Episcopal Facebook page, which continue the conversation on expansive language begun at General Convention 1985 with resolution AO95 authorizing the creation of inclusive language texts for the regular liturgies of the church. This story was compiled from information on various websites, including those of the NCC, the WordsMatter project, and the Episcopal WordsMatter and Facebook sites. www.episcopalwomenscaucus.org • Ruach
Budde consecrated as Washington’s ninth bishop by Lucy Chumbley
[Episcopal News Service] The bells of Washington National Cathedral, silent since the August 23 earthquake, rang out joyfully following the November 12 consecration of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington’s ninth bishop, Mariann Edgar Budde. And though black netting draped across the cathedral ceiling was testament to ongoing repair work, colored light from the stained glass windows filtered through, one of the many expressions of joy that greeted Budde as she took her place as Washington’s first female diocesan bishop succeeding John Bryson Chane who served as the eighth bishop of Washington since June 2002.
its strength goes back. Its strength is the awesome power of God. … I know in the strength of the cliff and the silence you find there you will find the strength of God wrapping his arms around you.” Kaufman noted that chief among the gifts Budde brings to the diocese are her grounding in Christ and a deep understanding of how parishes thrive. She spoke of what it means to be a shepherd — a recurring theme in the service — saying “the shepherd is required to feed the flock justice, no matter who it comforts and who it bothers.”
Surrounded by family, the Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde is welcomed
She also spoke of the deep love of Jesus — “the invitation from Jesus is always love” — and of the centrality of forgiveness to the faith, as set out at the beginning of the Nicene Creed.
Elected by the Diocese officially as ninth bishop of the Diocese of Washington D.C. during of Washington, D.C., her Nov. 12 consecration ceremony at Washington National Cathedral. on June 18, Budde, 52, Photo / Leta Dunham previously served as rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Minneapolis. Members of that congregation were on “Forgiveness is not some little appendage to our faith,” she hand to present her with vestments — symbols of her new ofsaid. “It is in the top three things we believe in. Forgiveness is fice — during the traditional presentation of gifts. central to our faith and don’t you forget it.” The service began with drumming — honoring Budde’s Dressed in a simple white robe, Budde stood before Presidoutreach to Native Americans — by the Southwest Eagle ing Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the chief consecrator, to Dancers, who led the first of four processions. Then came be examined. Following a recitation of the Nicene Creed, Jefmusic in Spanish — Alabaré, or I praise — a nod to her comferts Schori and the co-consecrating bishops gathered around mitment to Latino ministry (she spent a month in Guatemala Budde, laid their hands on her and prayed over her. Budde was polishing her Spanish this summer); an anthem by Gary Dapresented with a Book of Common Prayer and with vestments vidson commissioned for the occasion, “The True Shepherd”; — a chasuble, stole and miter, a pectoral cross and ring. These and the processional hymn, “St. Patrick’s Breastplate.” were placed on her by her immediate family, sons Amos and Readings were given in Spanish and English and the Patrick and husband Paul. Retiring Bishop Chane presented Gospel acclamation was offered in Igbo, a language spoken in the crosier (shepherd’s staff) of the Diocese of Washington, Nigeria, reflecting some of the diversity of the diocese. and the presiding bishop presented a Bible. Budde’s husband, Paul, read “Coleman’s Bed,” a poem by Then, resplendent in her robes, Budde was presented to the David Whyte. In a sometimes blunt-spoken sermon, the Rev. congregation to tumultuous applause. Linda M. Kaufman also quoted a portion of the poem: “It is my great honor and joy to welcome you to your cathe“… Feel the way the cliff at your back dral,” Jan Naylor Cope, vicar of Washington National CatheGives shelter to your outward view dral, said to the new bishop. And to those gathered: “Welcome And then bring in from those horizons back!” All discordant elements that seek a home …” Lucy Chumbley is editor of the Washington Window, a pubAsking Budde to stand, Kaufman said: “Mariann, you must lication of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C. find places where you can lean back. … Trust the cliff because 26
Ruach • Winter 2012
Resources Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know — and Doesn’t
Beth Stifel is from the Diocese of Pittsburgh. She has served on the Caucus board and is currently on its editorial board.
reviewed by Beth Stifel
Ethics and Spiritual Care. A Guide for Pastors, Chaplains, and Spiritual Directors
This award-winning book by Stephen Prothero, Ph.D., is a “must” read for anyone who is part of the American electorate. In this book, published in 2007 by HarperOne, Prothero, chair of the religion department at Boston University, argues convincingly that to participate intelligently in “religiously inflected public debates” one must be religiously literate. The author discusses the stunning lack of knowledge people in this country have about their religions while at the same time considering themselves religious. He points out that about 50 percent of Americans who say they are Christian can name one book of the Bible; most don’t know the first book of the Bible and only one third know Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, among many other areas of ignorance. Beyond basic Christian facts there is serious ignorance about the world’s five great religions. Those lacking general knowledge included his students at Boston University. Prothero found he could not teach religious studies at the college level without doing remedial teaching to bring students to the point where they could begin to discuss religion. Prothero discusses the state of religious literacy/illiteracy today, the contribution of religion in the history of our country, how we became a “religious” but religiously illiterate nation, the constitutional issues around religious studies, and the need for all of us to become religiously literate to be a competent electorate in an environment where resorting to religious dictums are part of the political landscape. Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know — and Doesn’t includes a good dictionary for religious literacy. It gives a succinct overview of basic topics, which include the five great religions and are as diverse as the five pillars of Islam and the Sermon on the Mount. Well written in an easily accessible style, this book also is a “must” read for anyone who is involved in parish ministry, in Christian or other religious education, as well as for the voting public. It deserves the awards it was given, which include the NYT Book Review Editor’s Choice, Booklist’s Top Ten Religion Books for 2007, and the Quill Book Award.
reviewed by Lyn G. Brakeman When Ruach asked me to review this fine book and survey, the purpose of which is to begin a conversation about what constitutes good spiritual care, my first thought was something like, how many conversations does it take to get things clear and safe? But then the authors, Karen Lebacqz and Joseph Driskill, conclude with a quote from Howard Thurman’s Deep Is the Hunger: “One never comes to the end of anything.” They refer to finishing their book, but I think Thurman’s wisdom applies to the larger issue at hand: How will we collectively carry on with the Gospel vision of justice, compassion and peace, if we ever stop talking about how to do it more ethically? This book, published by Abingdon Press in 2000, presents a broad overview of the complexity of ethical pastoral care. The book reflects its authors’ broad religious context and their discussion is careful to point out differences in the ways denominations view and handle issues of spiritual abuse and neglect. The authors are both professors at Pacific School of Religion, a Christian ecumenical school in Berkeley, California, with a liberal Protestant bent and formal relationships with the United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church, and the Church of Christ (Disciples.) Students and faculty are diverse. There were no Episcopal students listed on their site. Likely that omission is no more than a reflection of the authors’ backgrounds. Then again, perhaps it is a sign that all religions might question the ongoing value of denominational seminaries in an age of religious pluralism. Do we need them? If so, why? (When I attended my divinity school reunion two years ago I was shocked. The ecumenical environment and spirit I’d enjoyed at Yale Divinity School back in the ’80s felt shadowed to me because of the strong insistent presence of Berkeley Divinity School, the Episcopal presence at Yale,
continued on page 29
www.episcopalwomenscaucus.org • Ruach
The life of the world FROM PAGE 24 The Episcopal church, at its General Convention in 2009, voted to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery as it is fundamentally opposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God that the church has done this. And what is the Gospel of Jesus Christ? We heard it this morning — everyone is invited to the feast, especially the poor and those without voice. The life of the world is a fountain of goodness overflowing with passion and pain. Stephen Charleston, bishop and former dean of Episcopal Divinity School who is now interim dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and has long been a powerful preacher about the Gospel of Christ and the topic of liberation. Bishop Charleston’s take on today’s Gospel is that the parable is full of symbols. The wedding feast is the realm of God. The king is God. The wedding attire is a symbol which implies that hospitality is being extended and that respect and recognition were due in return. It is a symbol, he says, that has been lost to us but that meant something to the readers and to the listeners of the time of Jesus. Today we are so informal that the idea of showing up without having the proper attire would not necessarily mean a one-way ticket to damnation. He goes on to say that because we didn’t get it, we, the church, have spent a lot of time talking about the kind of language we use in worship, whether it included and encircled people of both genders. We have worked to be focused on multicultural issues within the life of the church, trying to make sure that how we pray and how we sing and how we worship makes sense to everybody who enters the room. We didn’t do this just to be politically correct. He says it’s because of the power of symbols. The way that we sing our hymns, word our prayers, and generally worship together, is filled with symbolic language. And the power of a symbol is to identify who’s in and who’s out, who understands the symbol and therefore is a part of the story. Those who don’t understand what’s going on can suddenly feel like an outcast. If we don’t make the effort, spend time paying attention to language, story and symbols, we run the danger of some women, children and men scratching their heads and saying, “Time out! Do I really belong here or not?” Like the man at the wedding feast, they may feel as though, for no good reason, they have been cast into darkness all because of a symbol or words they could not comprehend. The life of the world is a fountain of goodness overflowing with passion and pain. In this morning’s New York Times online was an article about a young woman from Argentina who discovered that her father, a former military leader, was not really her father. He had kidnapped her parents, tortured and killed them, and then
Ruach • Winter 2012
raised her as his own — all part of a ring of military people who, at that time in the history of that country, took children from their parents and gave them to others to raise. The woman finally testified at the trial of this man. Slowly, she got to know her biological parents’ family. “This was a process; it wasn’t one moment or one day when you erase everything and begin again,” she said. “You are not a machine that can be reset and restarted.” I don’t know which could be worse: spending your whole life being told you are one thing and then finding out as an adult that it was all a lie, or feeling — knowing — your whole life, that you were one thing: ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability — and being told that you were something else; not acceptable as who you knew yourself to be but rather only acceptable as you were told you should be. The life of the world is a fountain of goodness overflowing with passion and pain. When the disciples saw Jesus after his resurrection, they noted that the wounds from the nails were still in his hands. His face was lifted to the sky; he was alive, preaching and healing, but his wounds were still there. Life is like that. It is a fountain of goodness — so many experiences — so many wonderful people — so much to live for. At the same time life is overflowing for many with pain which cannot be erased. We all carry wounds of sorts in our hearts and minds, and some of us carry them on our bodies. The Gospel of Jesus Christ says we can overcome the pain, we can overcome the injustices of the world, and we can live our lives with passion. Our bodies may show the wounds, our minds may remember the pain, but our hearts and souls can be healed. The way of living out the Gospel of Christ is to repudiate what is wrong, whether it is in our country, or in our church or in our own lives, and to make sure that all people, regardless of who they are, where they are from, who they born to be, that everyone is invited and included at the table of the Lord. We are to use our own pain to help alleviate the pain of others. We are to use our own injustices — whether committed by us or against us — to bring about equity for others. And ultimately, we are to use our joy, our passion, our capacity for healing, for the well-being and wholeness, and ultimately, the life of the world. Georgene (Gigi) Davis Conner is vicar of St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church, where she preached this sermon on October 9, 2011. Gigi serves on the Caucus board and editorial board, and she is editor of “The Monthly Caucus” e-newsletter. She has a love for the Celtic way of seeing the goodness of God in all creation and believes in striving for the wholeness and well-being of all.
Resources: Book reviews FROM PAGE 27 separate building, separate worship requirements, separate money, and separate leadership. Denominationalism is an “-ism” that is unethical when it works against religious striving to come together for peace, rather than let our differences catapult us into wars.)
There are three section of focus: Many Faces of Spirituality and Pastoral Ethics; Spiritual Care in Context, including pastoral care and spiritual direction in congregations and in specialized workplaces (chaplaincies et. al.); and Spiritual Abuse and Neglect. Because the territory the authors attempt to cover is so broad, perhaps too vast, I felt frustration wanting them to land on a definition and stop adding exceptions. However, the nature of this beast is enormously complex, and they have accurately tagged important areas of concern and provide provocative examples for groups to further explore. When I met my present and second husband, I was on the search committee of the parish where he became the rector. Need I say more? We have joked about how fortunate we were to fall in love just before the “boundary police,” quite rightly, began to speak of dual relationships and abuses of power by which clergy took advantage of people in positions of lesser power, especially women, at least in the Episcopal church. Religious professionals were not immune to serious abuses of power to exert emotional, spiritual, and often sexual control, even if they didn’t intend to do so.
The authors make some attempt to say that unethical conduct can go both ways. I have found that true and have had many a clergy women in my pastoral counseling office speaking about their painful feelings of being overpowered by hostility, attempts to control by critique, and passive aggressive manipulations in congregations. Abuse of clergy happens on this two-way street. As an Episcopal priest I’ve thought it good that we have bishops as buffers and mediators if needed. I did not agree with the authors that transference is not as present in spiritual direction as in pastoral counseling. That is not my experience. The issue of the projection of sacred power, not just authority of office, was not considered. I also did not agree with their idea that pastoral counseling is for healing and spiritual direction is for growth. In my experience as giver and recipient of both disciplines, I have been healed and have grown through the ministry of both. Issues of pastoral supervision for clergy — not just colleagues groups but groups facilitated by a trained supervisor — were not adequately explored. Clergy are in a helping profession and, like other helpers, we need regular pastoral supervision for support, advice, accountability, humor, relief of loneliness and, if necessary, prevention of pastoral misconduct. Pastoral ministry is a very difficult and vulnerable vocation, as crucial to human well-being as medicine, but too often is itself neglected.
In a college ethics course, on the first day the ancient crone professor asked us to write a little essay on “Which is more important ethically: motive or consequence?” I argued for consequences. There was no “right” answer. Lebacqz and Driskill argue for intent, especially in matters of disciplining a pastor for unethical misconduct. There is no “right” answer, but I can say I’ve seen some devastating emotional consequences for women, especially in churches.
The attention given to specialized ministries brought tears to my eyes. As an extraparochial and Sunday parish priest associate, I’ve often felt neglected. I and others have squawked and been discounted. I consider this a serious neglect of important voices and, frankly, an exercise of authority by judicatory authorities that borders on control for political ends. I am grateful for the coverage this book gives to such types, voices often left out of discussions and decisions.
I found helpful the book’s attempt to define the elusive term “spirituality” by placing it back into a religious context from whence it came. Spirituality has become a useless catch-all phrase that can make me say with provocative sarcasm, I’m religious, not spiritual. The authors caution against misuse of the term “spiritual” and reactivity that could lead to clergy witch hunts using “spiritual abuse” without clear definition or understanding. That is not to say that such a category has no merit. They distinguish between overt abuse and passive or covert neglect because of clergy ignorance, innocence, and simple lack of awareness.
Most helpful was the attention this book paid to a systemic approach to issues of justice, spiritual care and the culture of parish, denomination, town, race or gender group. Boundary abuse issues are not confined to individual cases but examined as part of an entire system organized and structured to perpetuate abuses of power by tacit consent, invisible but embedded unjust traditions or customs, or overt policies — like only boys are acolytes here, Jesus was a man, we don’t talk about politics or money issues in church (this when people are jobless!) and so on. Such patriarchal attitudes and stereotypes, to say nothing of their lack of theological sophistication, poison a whole system just as they would a family. It takes courage and prayer and awareness for a community and clergy to uncover hidden toxicity.
The use of exclusively masculine terms for divinity, for example, represents a failure to recognize the spiritual needs of women. If the issue were brought to a community’s attention and the pastor ignored it, then it would constitute spiritual neglect because good spiritual care requires that clergy attend to the wholeness of the body, justice issues, and theologically not limit God’s embrace of all humanity with a few little pronouns.
All in all I am very appreciative of the span of this book. It is a wake-up call I hope will stimulate not just conversation but action. My suggestions would be to require pastoral supervision (not the same as spiritual direction or therapy) for continued on page 31 www.episcopalwomenscaucus.org • Ruach
Commentary How to offer gluten free communion
by Courtney Ellis
often get questions from other pastors asking how to offer gluten free bread for communion. First of all, thank you for asking, pastors! Making the Lord’s Supper available to all (or, in my tradition, all the baptized) is incredibly important. Food allergies or intolerances should never bar anyone from the Lord’s table. Offering gluten free bread is an incredible way of saying, “Welcome! Come on in!” to a growing population with food intolerances. There are three basic approaches that can be used when offering gluten free communion: 1. All gluten free. As a pastor, my hands are all over the communion bread. Though our deacons prepare the bread, I hold it up and break it in view of the congregation. The plates of bread sit together on the communion table, within crumbshedding range of one another. Additionally, I bring communion to peoples’ homes in the weeks following the sacrament, and partake with them. I brainstormed a bit, the deacons brainstormed a bit, and we came up with what seemed to be the easiest solution: all gluten free communion. In short, if you are the pastor and you have gluten free needs, the easiest thing to do is to use only gluten free bread or wafers for the Lord’s Supper. This eliminates having to watch your hands while also celebrating the sacrament. I’d much rather be focused on God, the liturgy, and the congregation with my whole mind and heart than be thinking, “Gosh, did I brush the unsafe bread with my hand? Should I not partake this morning with the congregation? Is that even OKAY with my church polity? Uh oh ... WHERE was I in the liturgy, again?” My congregation has been incredibly wonderful about this transition, and several of the deacons made sure to wash and sterilize the communion supplies so that I wouldn’t have to worry about cross-contamination. What wonderful and thoughtful folks! Not to mention that there’s something downright important in sharing a common loaf together with your congregation. There’s something kinda wrong about breaking bread for the congregation and then popping a piece of something else into your mouth, in my opinion. 2. Some gluten free. This is a good option if you know you have several folks with gluten free needs in your church, and if you practice intinction or common cups. Set aside one communion station (bread and cup) as always gluten free (gf). Make sure that the congregation and the servers know, and that no one grabs bread from another station and dips it in the gf cup. It’s best to keep this station the same (always the far left aisle, or always the center back of the church, etc.). Also, if regular bread or wafers are used for everyone else, the pastor 30
Ruach • Winter 2012
cannot be the one serving the bread at the gf station (his/her hands will likely have gluten on them from breaking the bread earlier). 3. Individual gluten free. In this option, the pastor or priest can keep a tiny amount of the gf sacrament Courtney Ellis in his/her robe or pocket in a closed container. Advertise that this gf communion is available, and where to get it. People can go forward to the officiant and request the gf communion. The officiant can then produce the gf sacrament and allow the gluten free congregants to grab their own bread/wafer out of the container. Again, this avoids the possibility of cross contamination. This is a good option when there are no known gf needs in the congregation, but occasional visitors may have them. It’s also a good option for churches with large tourist populations, like Princeton’s University Chapel or Oxford’s Christ Church Cathedral (which offers this gf option). When this option is used, a separate cup will have to be readily available as well, if intinction or a common cup is used. At a church I used to attend in Nashville, I would take the gf wafer from the priest but not dip it in the common cup. One element of the sacrament was far better than nothing, but it would have been great to have the wine as well. I was stupid once, and dipped my gf wafer in the common cup. Tummy rumblings ensued, and I learned (again) my lesson. Important things to remember when offering gluten free communion: 1. Advertise. Leave a note in the bulletin, have the pastor mention the option before the words of institution, or post a flyer on a visible bulletin board so that those with gluten free needs who visit will know that there is an option available for them. This makes an incredible difference in welcoming visitors who suffer from gluten intolerance. If the sacrament you offer is free of other common allergens as well, you may want to list those also. 2. Don’t share serving implements/utensils. Gf bread/wafers and regular ones can NEVER be on the same plate (if even a crumb of the regular bread gets in the gf bread, it is no longer gf). They cannot even be on the same plate that regular bread/ wafers were on a few moments ago. If bread is prepared by the deacons, gf bread can NEVER be prepared on the same plate or cut with the same knife as the regular bread. Wash plates and utensils thoroughly between uses, if there’s a chance regular and gluten free serving items have been switched. Some restaurants, like P.F. Chang, have begun offering different colored plates for gf meals. This may be a good idea if continued on page 31
Ecumenical Advocacy Days 2012 Conference Theme
‘Is This the Fast I Seek?’ Economy, Livelihood and Our National Priorities Come to the 10th annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD), March 23-26, 2012, in Washington, D.C., and join other Christians in seeking a global economy and a national budget that break the yokes of injustice, poverty, hunger and unemployment throughout the world — heeding Isaiah’s call to become “repairers of the breach and restorers of streets to live in.”
Ecumenical Advocacy Days for Global Peace with Justice is sponsored by the ecumenical Christian community (including the Episcopal church) and is grounded in biblical witness and our shared tradition of justice, peace and integrity of creation. Our goal is to strengthen our Christian voice and mobilize for advocacy on specific U.S. domestic and international policy issues.
In a global economy based on scarcity, corporate greed, and individualism, we will seek God’s alternative vision for global community: one that breaks the chains of injustice and creates the possibility of a sustainable livelihood with dignity for all, thus living into a reality of God’s abundance.
Download a description of EAD’s 2012 conference and related Scriptural passages at http://advocacydays.org/docs/ EAD%202012%20Theme.pdf.
We will worship, dialogue and be inspired and equipped to speak boldly as people of faith. Rousing preachers, stimulating theologians and internationally known policy experts will offer a faith-based vision for a just economy and a healthy livelihood, along with training on key policy issues and grassroots advocacy — culminating with lobby visits on Capitol Hill. In addition, area specific workshops will be offered on Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Middle East, Domestic U.S., Eco-Justice, Global Economic Justice and Peace & Global Security.
from page 30
Resources: Book reviews FROM PAGE 29
clergy; to continue the safe-church work (one workshop is not enough); to establish serious task forces to change the Godlanguage; to train congregations, clergy and denominational heads to apply systems thinking; and, finally, to re-educate staff, clergy, leaders about boundary subtleties. (I’ve learned what I know about boundaries from making mistakes, and I still make them.) This book is a service of healing for the whole body of Christ. Every man’s or woman’s wound diminishes all of us in Christ. I hope women will take the lead in re-forming the church toward inclusive politics and re-calling it to what it does uniquely and best:worship. We must fuss about abuse and neglect and healthy spiritual care, but not at the cost of our institutional raison d’etre. Lyn G. Brakeman is an Episcopal priest, pastoral counselor/ spiritual director, and author of two books and a memoir seeking publication. Brakeman is a fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC), an associate of the Religious Sisters of Mercy, and a long-time member of EWC. Through writing, teaching and preaching, she champions full inclusion and acceptance of women’s ministries, lay and ordained. Brakeman writes a blog offering spiritual wisdom to souls challenged and nurtured: www.spirituallemons.blogspot.com.
Gluten free communion using the “some gluten free” option. That way congregants can know to go to the tan gf plate rather than the blue regular one. 3. Beware of cross contamination. Keep the gf offerings far away from the regular ones. If plates are covered, be sure there is a designated gf cover or linen cloth (crumbs can easily stick to linens and contaminate the gf offerings). Once a piece of regular bread has been dipped into a gf chalice of juice or wine, that liquid is no longer gf. If a plate of gf bread sits right next to a plate of regular bread and there’s a slight breeze, the gf bread can be contaminated. 4. Go all out. Offering gf communion is not something that can be done in a half-hearted manner. For the one to three percent of Americans with Celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or gluten sensitivity (as well the significant percentage with other gluten-related health concerns, including autism), even a molecule can be enough to set off a reaction. 5. Be brave. If you are new to this whole scene, don’t be discouraged. Feel free to contact me with questions, or talk to the gluten free folks around you to ask what would be easiest and best. The important thing is to continue offering communion to all — food allergies or intolerances should never, ever, be an obstacle to those who want to take the sacrament of communion. Christ’s body is broken for them (us!), too. For what to use for gluten free communion, visit http:// glutenfreejesusfreak.blogspot.com/2011/02/what-to-use-forgluten-free-communion.html. Courtney Ellis is an ordained Presbyterian (PCUSA) minister serving a church in southern Wisconsin. She has been gluten free for two and a half years. Her blog, “Gluten Free Jesus Freak: Navigating the intimately connected cultures of Christianity and food,” is a small hobby she keeps up in order to help both churches and those who are newly diagnosed and navigating the confusing waters of what is safe to eat. This article is reprinted with permission from her blog, February 23, 2011. www.episcopalwomenscaucus.org • Ruach
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