Friday, October 5, 2007

This is going to be some school

Regular commenter at Jake's place, Harry, recently won a dinner with Presiding Bishop Katharine of The Episcopal Church at a clergy conference he attended with his partner. Harry is an amazing writer and I'm sure a fascinating dinner guest, and he recounts the experience here. Please go read it all - especially to understand the reference to toes. As a bit of backgound, TEC has been struggling with balancing the demands of the Anglican Communion Primates (the head pointy-hat bishops of the national churches) and the need to fully include GLBT Christians in the life of the church. Many see it as a choice between justice and unity. This recent compromise from the U.S. House of Bishops has not pleased many on either side of the issue - in true compromise form. This is the portion of Harry's post that I want to highlight:
Toward the end of my conversation with her I said, “Katharine, I’m a mature Christian. I’ve been about this for awhile, and I don’t need anything from the House of Bishops, the Primates, or my Rector—who does, by the way, turn out to be the Love of My Life. I’d like, at this point, for you to give me a charge, during this time of ‘fasting,’ to take away from this table. I want something to call my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters to do with me that has absolutely nothing to do with the Windsor Report.”

She looked at me quizzically for moment and then said, “Build a school in Central Tanganyika.”

She really heard my question and she really answered it.

I need help from all of you. Maybe moral support. Maybe a lot of money. Maybe fund raising. Maybe doing paper work. I don't know anything about building a school. I want gay and lesbian people and their friends to work on this, but I don't want it to be a gay and lesbian project. I want us to have an experience of being mission Christians without needing anything back from it at all. Including not needing the project to advance our cause. Perhaps it will, perhaps it won't. I turn that over to my Lord and Savior. I have a school to build. It seems almost crazy to be thinking I can do this-- but it isn't any crazier, really, when you think about it, than having toes.

FYI - Central Tanganyika is a diocese in Tanzania, where the Primates met in February to make their recent demands of TEC.

Since Harry is requesting help to build a school and I am a lurking member of Jake's congregation, I'm going to post updates to this endeavor. If any of you are inspired by this charge as I am please pitch in! Shalom!

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