Faith Communities Urged to Take Action in Restoring Civil Discourse
Americans are increasingly worried about the country’s polarized political debate and religious communities can help foster a return to respectful dialogue, said panelists in the Episcopal Church’s civil discourse forum on October 22.
The Episcopal Church hosted and produced the groundbreaking forum, “Civil Discourse in America: Finding Common Ground for the Greater Good.” The 90-minute live webcast originated from historic Christ Church in Philadelphia, birthplace of the Episcopal Church and the home of our country’s beginnings.
Produced in partnership with the diocese of Philadelphia, the forum was moderated by well-known journalist and commentator Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, Executive Religion Editor for the Huffington Post. Panel discussions focused on two key themes: "Civil discourse and faith" and"Civil discourse in politics and policy." The distinguished interfaith panel consisted of Dr. John J. DeGioia, president of Georgetown University in Washington, DC; Bishop Prince Singh of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester; Rabbi Steve Gutow, president and CEO of the Jewish Council of Public Affairs; and Dr. Elizabeth McCloskey, president and CEO of the Faith and Politics Institute).
The entire forum is now available on demand and can be viewed here.
McCloskey urged faith leaders to preach both humility and the assumption of honorable intent by those with differing opinions. She urged people of faith “to demand political leaders who will compromise, who will engage in deliberative debate.”
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori presented the keynote address, which can be read by clicking here.
“I remain convinced that face-to-face conversations have more possibility of being life-giving than the disembodied ones we engage so much in by text, tweet and blog,” she said in her address. “When we fail to see the very human beauty and blemishes in our conversation partners, it is easy to injection venom rather than expect transformation.”
Before the forum’s two panels began, Robert Jones, the chief executive office of the Public Religion Research Institute, briefly summarized an overview of public opinion polls his organization conducted with the Episcopal Church in conjunction with the forum. “Despite being divided by generation, by religion, by race, and by political party allegiances, Americans express a strong preference for compromise,” the report noted, and “public appetite for compromise is growing.”
Volunteers, Ministry Displays Needed for November Convention
Volunteers are still needed to staff registration tables and help with hospitality at this year's Diocesan Convention on November 14-15 at Sherwood Hall in Salinas. It’s a great way to meet people from churches across El Camino Real and help our diocese continue its successful ministries. Please RSVP right away to Mary Beth Powell at email@example.com. This should be our best convention yet; thanks to those who have already signed up!
We're also inviting those who plan to host ministry displays at the convention to complete table request forms as soon as possible. To view and download a request form, click here. Thank you!
Register Online for Convention!
We're just a few weeks away from the 34th Annual Diocesan Convention on November 14 & 15 at Sherwood Hall in Salinas. The theme is “Be The Church” – Click here to reach our convention page with links to resolutions, reports, a draft agenda, the proposed 2015 budget, candidates for offices and committees, hotel information and more.
Please note – at this time, attendees must register individually. See you in November!
Erik Carlson Installed as Head of St. Andrew’s School
With the joyful sounds of organ, choir, violin, and Scottish bagpipes and drums, Erik Carlson was installed as the eighth Head of Saint Andrew’s Episcopal School at an evensong service held at Saint Andrew’s Church in Saratoga on Sunday, October 19. Special guest and presider was The Rt. Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves, Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of El Camino Real. Assisting was The Rev. Channing Smith, Rector of Saint Andrew’s Church. Guest preacher was The Rev. Dr. Scott Erickson, Head of School at Phillips Brooks School in Menlo Park. Attendees included the School Board of Trustees, school faculty and staff, members of the Head of School Search Committee, church Vestry and staff and members of Erik’s family. (photo by The Rev. Debra Low-Skinner)
Saturday, October 11 proved to be a lovely day for honoring women who proclaim their faith through their lives and actions. The women recognized at “Honored Women’s Day,” held at St. Paul’s in Salinas, were nominated for this special recognition by their parish priest. Guests received a greeting and a welcome brochure of the day’s activities, which included a warm greeting from Bishop Mary.
After a welcome by ECW President Diane Lovelace, a brief ECW meeting was held. The film Girl Rising profiled young girls from different parts of the world, weaving a global tapestry of youth in the 21st century; from a 7-year-old Haitian earthquake survivor to an Afghani child bride, the stories were inspiring and captivating.
Melita Thorpe (St. Andrew’s, Saratoga) offered reflections on statistics from the United Nations about education of girls across the globe, referring to the Millennium Development Goal regarding education. Carol Pecora (St. Stephen’s, San Jose) shared information about programs with youth in South Sudan who are also in dire need of assistance and education. Jean Hankey (St. Andrew’s, Saratoga) shared about the Women Helping Women outreach ministry, where educating girls can break cycles of poverty in just a generation. To join the Girl Rising movement and help girls everywhere get an education, visit www.girlrising.com for more information.
After a luncheon and conversation, attendees gathered in the St. Paul’s sanctuary to recognize the 2014 Honored Women of the Diocese of El Camino Real:
Aliceon Jones -- All Saints’, Carmel Sonja Reetz -- Calvary, Santa Cruz Janie Felix-Adams -- Good Samaritan, San Jose Michelle Zimmerman -- Good Shepherd, Salinas Frances Banakas -- St. Andrew’s, Saratoga Sharon Prader -- St. George’s, Salinas Phyllis Meurer -- St. James’, Monterey Meg Campbell -- St. John’s, Aptos Mindi Wojdylak -- St. Joseph’s, Milpitas Rev. Dcn. Donna Elder-Holifield -- St. Paul’s, Salinas Rosemary Joy -- St. Philip’s, San Jose Francine Head -- St. Stephen’s, Gilroy Carol Pecora -- St. Stephen’s, San Jose
We hope the women from each congregation felt honored by the words from the priest, the certificate of honor, and a special long-stemmed red rose from the Episcopal Church Women.
Holy Eucharist was led by The Rev. Linda McConnell, with a wonderful contemporary liturgy. The Ingathering for the United Thank Offering from churches across the diocese offered thanksgiving for the many gifts in our lives. After a final blessing, all returned to home parishes to share the day’s news.
Mark your calendar now for the 2015 schedule of diocesan ECW events:
April 25, Women’s Day; August 13-14, Mary Lou ThompsonRetreat; October 10, Honored Women’s Day.
For more information about The Episcopal Church Women, contact ECW Diocesan President Diane Lovelace at DiLovelace@aol.com or call (408) 263-8945.
RSVP Today for Elkhorn Slough Pilgrimage
Join Bishop Mary and fellow pilgrims from across the diocese for a scenic Elkhorn Slough Pilgrimage on All Saints Day -- Saturday, November 1. We'll gather at the Elkhorn Slough Reserve by 9:30 a.m. and finish around 12:15 p.m. Children are very welcome! To RSVP, please email Mary Beth Powell ASAP at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (831) 394-4465.
The reserve is located at 1700 Elkhorn Road near Watsonville. This is a fun opportunity to invite friends and neighbors to an El Camino Real event. We are taking reservations because the Elkhorn staff needs us to limit our group to around 50 people. Please provide the number of people attending, individual names and children’s a