Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (USA), called on educational institutions of the Episcopal Church to promote social transformation and help people “to see the face of Christ in every person.”
In remarks given at the Trinity University of Asia, the Presiding Bishop, who is in the Philippines on a short visit, emphasized the Episcopal Church’s recent thrust of promoting the Reign of God. She said that this was founded on the prophetic vision of shalom, which includes peace, justice, and abundance for the world. This, she added, is made concrete by the Millennium Development Goals, which, while not necessarily leading to the Kingdom, as such, are images of the direction towards it. Dr. Schori emphasized that this was part of the Gospel mandate, as expressed in Mt. 25:31-46.
She said that the role of educational institutions in the Episcopal tradition was to inculcate those values that would bring about the Reign of God. Here, she emphasized the Baptismal Covenant, which appears in the BCP 1979’s baptismal rite, as having served as a framework for the expression of such values. In particular, she called on educational institutions to “equip the faithful for the work of ministry in daily life,” and to “support and equip each other’s gifts.”
At the outset, Dr. Schori emphasized that the Church was ultimately a gathering for holy conversation, and hence her remarks ended by opening an hour-long discussion on this query: “How would educating the people of the Philippines bring about the reign of God in the country and in the world?” Many people from the host institution and elsewhere shared their experiences.
Dr. Schori will remain in the country until early on Saturday, when she will go to Taiwan for the Asian-American Ministries conference. Activities for tomorrow include a tour of the Cathedral Heights institutions and an ecumenical conference with the NCCP.
Ren Aguila is a graduate student at the Ateneo de Manila, and former lecturer in philosophy at the only Anglican seminary in the Philippines.