The Rt. Rev. Gretchen Rehberg, ninth bishop of the Diocese of Spokane, gave an interview March 23 to Spokane Public Radio about her new call and her perspectives on the Episcopal Church.

“What we’re called to do is follow Jesus together,” she said. “We will work with anyone who wants to work with us as we follow Jesus together. You don’t even have to believe in Jesus to follow Jesus. Because Jesus said, go out and feed the hungry, and house the homeless, and clothe the naked, and take care of the stranger and orphan and widow, and love your neighbor. And if you’re doing that, you’re following Jesus.”

Rehberg also commented on the church’s involvement in contemporary political debate. “I think, sometimes, we tend to be very polite. And if there’s a tension we might not talk about it as much as we should,” she said. “Just take health care. I don’t know the best way to accomplish health care in this country. What I do know is Jesus healed the sick. So as a leader in the faith, what I can say is, I don’t know the best way. And good political minds, good economic minds, good medical minds can debate that. But what we should not debate, I say — as now a bishop — is that we’re called to heal people.

“That’s where the church can actually serve the community really well by bringing disparate voices together and saying, Can we agree on some basic principles? Some basic moral principles? Some basic principles of how we live as a community? And then agree that maybe we have different ways of accomplishing that goal. But if we start off by debating the different ways, we just stay in debate.”

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