EPISCOPALIANS in the United States have been urged by their Presiding Bishop, the Most Revd Michael Curry, to “shine a light against the darkness” of the increasing coronavirus cases and the divisions over race and the presidency.
The Church’s Executive Council met via Zoom this week to approve its budget, which included a staff pay rise that was questioned by many, although there was also a package of $1 million in relief for dioceses hard hit by the pandemic.
In an opening address that referred to the divisions of race as well as politics, Bishop Curry said: “We are meeting in the midst of some pretty difficult times. Now is not the time to hide this light under the bushel. Now is the time to lift up this light . . . this light that we’ve gotten from Jesus, and let it shine — even, and in spite of, whatever may happen around us.”
He recalled his “slave ancestors, for whom darkness was a way of life. . . And yet those who were made so captive are the ones who taught us to sing, ‘This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.’ And if they could do it, we can do it.”
In her address, the President of the House of Deputies, the Revd Gay Clark Jennings, said: “These are sobering times in which to live and witness to the gospel. Truth matters. Voting maters. History matters. May God grant us wisdom and courage for the facing of this hour.”
The Council agreed to change the format of the annual returns that parishes and dioceses make on attendance, to reflect the moving of church services online in the spring. In-person worship figures will be recorded only until March, and then churches will be asked what online platforms they used, and whether they have reliable online figures.
In a new section, congregations will also be asked how they address racial injustice and work towards reconciliation.