Episcopal Leaders Discuss Church’s Role in Society

Clockwise from top left: Mark Stevenson, Charles Robertson, Winnie Varghese, Michael Curry, Stephanie Spellers

By Episcopal News Service

Leaders of The Episcopal Church gathered Dec. 9 on Zoom for a webinar elaborating on their views of the church’s place in society. Given the massive social upheaval over the past two years in the United States, the “Work of the Church” webinar was presented as a chance to take stock of how the church has changed and where it is going.

Listing a litany of incidents of violence directed at people of color and at police officers, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry told participants, “I hate to paint a bleak picture, but there’s been trouble in the land.”

He and the other church leaders who took part – the Rev. Charles Robertson, the presiding bishop’s canon for ministry beyond The Episcopal Church; the Rev. Stephanie Spellers, canon for evangelism, reconciliation and creation care; and the Rev. Mark Stevenson, canon for ministry within The Episcopal Church – discussed how the church has contributed to that trouble, but also how it can and should heal it. The discussion was moderated by the Rev. Winnie Varghese, rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

Curry repeated a theme he has put forth in recent speeches: his wish for a church “no longer centered on empire or establishment, no longer fixated on the preservation of institution, no longer propping up white supremacy.” He said that shift must begin with kindness and love, recalling that after his sermon at the 2018 wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, people would come up to him and say, “I had no idea Christianity was about love.”

“People actually said that over and over!” Curry said. “That was a revelation to me, that the perception of Christianity is that it’s not about love, that it’s about domination, that it’s about putting folk down, that it’s about excluding people.”

Read the rest at ENS.

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