Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Rulings Loosening Gun Restrictions and Overturning Roe v. Wade

Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Rulings Loosening Gun Restrictions and Overturning Roe v. Wade

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued rulings this week on two of the most divisive issues in American society, striking down handgun restrictions in New York and overturning Roe v. Wade.

While both rulings were anticipated, the news of them sends reverberations across the country, and I write to acknowledge the pain and fear they invoke among those of us who had hoped the highest court in the land would uphold a woman’s right to full reproductive health and use its power to help curb the epidemic of gun violence in our land.

In neither case will these rulings settle the issues they address. Greater access to guns will only increase gun violence and death, and history shows that restricting legal access to abortion disproptionately impacts the heath and safety of low-income women. Moreover, overturning an almost fifty-year precedent of constitutional protection for women, will, in the words of Dean Randy Hollerith, “only further inflame the country’s profound division on abortion.”

The Episcopal Church’s positions on both issues–gun violence and women’s reproductive rights–seek to strengthen the moral fabric of our society, protect individual rights as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, and address the inequities among us that are an affront to God. Thus we will continue to seek common ground where possible and constructive dialogue among varied points of view. This week’s rulings make our work harder and all the more important.

I pray God’s mercy and strength as we face the days ahead, giving thanks to all in our church and beyond who persevere in hope.

The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde
Bishop of Washington

Strategic Plan Year Three Mid-Year Report: Equity and Justice

Strategic Plan Year Three Mid-Year Report: Equity and Justice

Our diocesan strategic plan calls us to “engage [equity and justice] issues such as racial justice, gun violence prevention, LGBTQIA+ equal rights, and immigration reform through on-going trainings, workshops, pilgrimages, and public witness.” This year, we’ve done notable work engaging in each of these areas and making progress on our Year Three measurable objectives.

In January, we offered a 6-week course on LGBTQIA Humility and Competence through the School for Christian Faith and Leadership to raise awareness of the experience of LQBTQIA persons in our communities and identify key theologies and practices to welcome and affirm them.

Also in January, at Diocesan Convention, Bishop Mariann commissioned the Creation Care Task Force. The call to this work was met with much enthusiasm and the Task Force set about the task of surveying the congregations about their creation care work. They have prepared a report which will be shared soon. Their next steps will be to look at possible initiatives for us to adopt regionally or as a diocese.

In fulfillment of General Convention resolutions mandating that all congregational leaders take anti-racism training, we have continued to offer anti-racism training twice a year, now online through the School for Christian Faith and Leadership. Watch for fall dates. This Spring the anti-racism course was offered for the first time in Spanish, an offering that will be repeated in coming years.

A change in name to the EDOW Refugee Response Team helped to reflect that this group is engaged in welcoming all refugees and migrants, from those coming from Afghanistan and Ukraine to the more recent migrants arriving on buses from Texas and Arizona. You read more about the work of the RRT in this article by Nancy Stockbridge, interim chair.

The Prison Ministry Task Force continues to provide welcome home bags to returning citizens along with phone and transit cards. They also provide short term mentorship to returning citizens.

In May, the Reparations Task Force offered “Repairing the Breach: Reparations as Healing,” an evening with Dr. Catherine Meeks and other leaders, as they continue to do the work of laying the foundation for EDOW’s commitment to remembering, reckoning with, and reconciling our histories pertaining to racism. This event is part of the lead up to the October 1st event Repairing the Breach: A Symposium on Reparations with a keynote address by the Rev. Canon Kelly Brown Douglas. This symposium, as well as a curriculum for congregations to learn about the work of reparations, will lay the groundwork for a resolution publicly acknowledging these harms to be presented and the 2023 Diocesan Convention. Register for the symposium and download the flyer for the curriculum.

Earlier this month, members of the Diocese celebrated at DC’s Pride March and, for the first time, the Diocese hosted a booth at the Pride Festival the following day.

In June parishes also participated in March for Our Lives, calling for an end to the country’s rampant gun violence crisis and the enactment of sensible gun safety laws, and the Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers’ Assembly and Moral March, calling for the restoration of voting rights.

We are pleased to welcome Rudy Logan as our interim missioner for Equity and Justice who will continue the good work of Hazel Monae, our former missioner.

Christ has no body but ours, no hands, no feet on earth but ours. Ours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world. Ours are the hands with which he blesses all the world (adapted from Christ Has No Body, Teresa of Avila). In the Diocese of Washington, we are committed to living Jesus’s Way of Love by leading with compassion, blessing our communities, and striving for equity and justice in our words and deeds.

The Rev. Dr. Anne-Marie Jeffery
Canon for Congregational Vitality

Refugee Response Team: New Name, Same Welcoming Mission

Refugee Response Team: New Name, Same Welcoming Mission

“…I was a stranger, and you welcomed me.”
Matthew 25:35

Parishes and individuals throughout the Diocese have a long history of stepping up to welcome the stranger as displaced people from around the world arrive in this area. Beginning last August, after the President’s announcement of the end of the war in Afghanistan, the influx of refugees has reached record numbers. In response to this increased urgent need for assistance, what had been an informal sharing of knowledge and resources among those congregations with established refugee ministries served as the basis for the creation of the Afghan Refugee Response Team (ARRT) with Bishop Mariann then urging parishes and individuals to participate in responding to this humanitarian crisis.

As co-chairs of ARRT, the Rev. Anne Derse, deacon at St. John’s, Norwood and Hazel Monae, then the diocesan Missioner for Equity and Justice, provided the opportunity for parishes to gather regularly on Zoom, learn from those who had been supporting refugees for years, hear about the current situation and need, build partnerships, and take action to begin graciously ‘Welcoming the Stranger’.

Our Diocesan Strategic Plan calls us to “partner in ministries of equity and justice for greater impact in our communities” and “strengthen our collective witness…and shared resources to meet the needs of our regions.” Over the last ten months, parishes have done exactly that, cultivating collaboration among parishes in the Diocese, across faith communities, and with other aid organizations in the work to support arriving refugees. Based on the needs in the DMV, parishes have:

  • sponsored newly arriving families,
  • furnished and set up apartments,
  • provided housing,
  • fed those in hotels,
  • gathered needed supplies such as coats, gift cards, socks, toys, and
  • advocated for immigration reform.

Over thirty parishes and countless individuals have been generously involved with the efforts.

The capabilities developed and information gathered through the initial efforts of the ARRT apply to all arriving refugees and this spring, the ARRT community entered the next phase of work, renaming itself to the Refugee Response Team (RRT) to better reflect the wider scope of its mission.

The RRT community will continue to serve as a resource for parishes called to this ministry, so they have a place to start. To carry on the work, the RRT will remain a place for accessing and sharing information, provide ongoing support for parishes involved in the ministry, and carry out the vision of ‘Welcoming the Stranger’.

If you or the people of your parish feel called to this ministry, please don’t hesitate to email me.

Nancy Stockbridge
Interim Chair, Refugee Response Team

Repairing the Breach: A Symposium on Reparations

Repairing the Breach: A Symposium on Reparations

The Episcopal Diocese of Washington is committed to bravely uncovering, understanding, reckoning with and acting to dismantle racism within ourselves, our faith communities, the diocese and our localities.

Save the date: Bishop Mariann and members of the Diocesan Reparations Task Force invite you to attend Repairing the Breach: A Symposium on Reparations on Saturday, October 1 from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Calvary Episcopal Church.

We will come together as a diocese to continue our shared work to reckon with our diocesan history of participation in anti-Black racism and learn more about the legacy of benefit we’ve received from that participation. This symposium will lay the groundwork for a resolution publicly acknowledging these harms to be presented and the 2023 Diocesan Convention.

The agenda will include:

  • A call to action from Bishop Mariann
  • A presentation on the diocese’s historical involvement with chattel slavery
  • Lessons from reparations efforts outside the Diocese of Washington
  • Testimonies from diocesan congregations undertaking the difficult work of investigating their own histories with anti-Black racism
  • Insights from Washington area Black community leaders
  • A keynote address from the Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, Dean of Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary and Canon Theologian at Washington National Cathedral
  • Break-outs groups with role-playing conversations on reparations

Our journey toward repairing the breach will not be without its challenges. Yet our commitment to justice and equity requires that we walk this road of self-discovery, understanding, confession, repentance, and, ultimately, restitution for our institutional involvement with white supremacy.

You’ll leave the day motivated and inspired to further engage this liberating and life-giving gospel work in your own congregations.

Repairing the Breach: A Symposium on Reparations will take place at Calvary Episcopal Church (820 6th St NE, Washington, DC 20002) from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 1. Parking is available, and the Church is metro accessible via Union Station. Lunch is included and participation is free.

Register today!

Questions? Contact the Rev. Peter Jarrett-Schell, chair of the Diocesan Reparations Task Force

Repairing the Breach: Reparations as Healing – EDOW’s Evening with Dr. Catherine Meeks

Repairing the Breach: Reparations as Healing – EDOW’s Evening with Dr. Catherine Meeks

“For the Diocese of Washington reparations is the spiritual practice of the beloved community. It involves a process to remember, repair, restore, and reconcile historical and continuing wrongs against humanity that can never be singularly reducible to monetary terms, but must include a substantial investment and surrender of resources. Reparations is principally concerned with the harms done to those most hard pressed by the system of injustice and speaks to the health of all humanity.”
– Working Definition of Reparations by EDOW Reparations Task Force, 2022

Holding this definition, we are honored to invite you to Repairing the Breach: Reparations as Healing – EDOW’s evening with Dr. Catherine Meeks.

This dynamic presentation & panel discussion will focus on “Repairing the Breach: Reparations as Healing” in an effort to continue laying the foundation for EDOW’s commitment to remembering, reckoning and reconciling our histories pertaining to racism. With such an amazing keynote speaker found in Dr. Catherine Meeks, Director of The Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing, we knew it would be a gift to put her in conversation with powerful leaders in our community. We are excited to have our local clergy, the Rev. Dr. Gayle Fisher Stewart and the Rev. Peter Jarrett-Schell join as panelists alongside Mr. Don Edwards, a trusted diocesan and wider church colleague and advisor for the work of racial equity & healing. We are in for a treat!

Registration is requested. Please RSVP here.
*Please note, we will observe appropriate COVID-safety protocols for this event.

About the speakers: