Monday, May 4, 2009

P.B. in West Texas: ‘Media Doesn’t Cover Good Things We Do’

When Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori arrived for a whirlwind visitation on April 23 in the Diocese of West Texas, she may not have expected her visit would begin with a leisurely walk near sunset along a Gulf Coast beach. But a stroll and conversation at the diocese’s Mustang Island Conference Center with diocesan Bishop Gary Lillibridge and the Rt. Rev. David Reed, Bishop Suffragan, were among the few leisurely moments during her stay.

Bishop Jefferts Schori visited several diocesan institutions and participated in two question-and-answer sessions with members of the clergy. The first stop was at Cliff Maus Village, where 260 occupants, of which half are children, live in a low-income apartment complex. Cliff Maus Village was founded and is operated by several Episcopal Churches in Corpus Christi.

The majority of Friday afternoon was spent with more than 100 clergy and lay leaders who gathered at Church of the Good Shepherd, Corpus Christi, to have a conversation with the Presiding Bishop. She began the discussion by noting the importance of having sufficient time “to see God at work,” in each other. She added that the example set by West Texas could teach the broader community that conversation has to do with where one starts.

In the question-and-answer forum that followed a Bible exercise she led, the Presiding Bishop touched on several areas of church life. Asked if she thinks it necessary for a person to be baptized before receiving Holy Communion, she replied that is what the church canons prescribe. “However,” she said, “in the ancient church it was all one – baptized and fed immediately.” She said this is a conversation that is ongoing, but “clearly our practice is one must be baptized before receiving Communion.”


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