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Work out a peace plan, urges Dr Jefferts Schori

19 October 2012


On song: Mitt Romney and President Obama debate at Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, on Tuesday

On song: Mitt Romney and President Obama debate at Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, on Tuesday

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 negotiations." 

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 important. 

"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.


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