THE Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United
States, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, wrote to the candidates for
the US presidency last week, urging them to set out a clear plan
for bringing peace to the Middle East.
In the letter to President Obama and the Republican candidate,
Mitt Romney, last Friday, Dr Jefferts Schori said that it would be
"vital for the next President to prioritise the relaunch of the
peace process, and to articulate a clear vision for how American
diplomatic leadership can assist and encourage negotiations. .
"I urge you to discuss specifically how you would work with our
nation's partners in the Quartet for Middle East Peace to support
the resumption and successful completion of
Speaking to the Episcopal News Service (ENS) last week, Dr
Jefferts Schori said that "Jesus was deeply concerned with
political processes in his own day, challenging people around him,
as well as the Roman and religious governments, about injustice,
violence, and exploita-tion. . .
"Our task as Christians is always to explore how the political
processes and decisions before us can help or hinder the coming of
the reign of God in our midst. Does a tax proposal seem to care for
'the least of these'? Does a policy decision mean greater justice
for the 'little ones'? Does one candidate seem to have a greater
interest than another in the primary issues of justice that Jesus
spoke most about?"
The Bishop of Iowa, the Rt Revd Alan Scarfe, told ENS that a
priest in his diocese said that the presidential race was "the most
divisive she's ever experienced in her congregation".
He went on: "We can use the church as the place where people
live a reconciled life, and, through the safety of that reconciled
life, they can talk to each other about these things that are most
"We can put some human face on issues, because it is your
neighbour; and hopefully there is some way you can humanly
appreciate the other person just beyond their politics."
Episcopal figures. Membership of the
Episcopal Church in the United States was just under 2.1 million in
2011, figures issued by the Episcopal Church Office of Public
Affairs last week show. Of those, 1.9 million are in Episcopal
churches in domestic dioceses; and just over 173,000 are in
dioceses not in US states.