At Jamestown the Presiding Bishop points to the evil and the good in our history

From Anglican Communion News Service as reported by Canon Robert Williams

of ENS:

The fabric of four centuries of history – woven with the 1607 beginnings of the Jamestown Settlement, Native American responses, and the rise of the African slave trade – was prayerfully examined on June 24 as Episcopalians gathered for Eucharist to mark the church’s 400-year heritage rooted in the region.

Recalling the settlers’ original sailcloth, canvas suspended from trees shaded the rough-hewn altar around which bishops from the four dioceses that comprised the original Virginia of 1785 gathered with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori for Eucharist….acns4297a-hi-res1.jpg

Also at the table were the bishops of Liverpool, England, and Kumasi, Ghana, both representing points of a “triangle of hope” engaged in continued healing and reconciliation in the slave trade’s wake.

Full text of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s sermon is available here.

That narrative includes “the story of the first Christian convert, Matoaka” (better known by her childhood name Pocahontas), an account “rife with … ambiguous complexity,” the Presiding Bishop said. Meanwhile, she noted that “the good news managed to be spoken, and done, even in the midst of diabolic tales.”acns4297thumb.jpg

Bishop Peter James Lee, who has led the Diocese of Virginia for some 22 years, said the two bishops’ presence at the service was for him a highlight of the observance. Lee called the day “a wonderful witness to the breadth, depth and hope of the Episcopal Church.”

jamestown-400th0311.jpgHost Bishop John Buchanan of Southern Virginia agreed. “I’m grateful for opportunities to do things together with other folks – involving the other three dioceses of Virginia and and the visiting bishops from Liverpool and Ghana. These are wonderful community-building activities.”

Bishop Buchanan joined West Virginia Bishop Michie Klusmeyer and Southwestern Virginia Bishop Neff Powell in commending the Presiding Bishop’s sermon. “She addressed issues and reminded us of things we are not proud of,” Bishop Buchanan said, “and she reminded us that we’ve made progress in redeeming some of these issues.”

“The humility to re-examine our certainties will begin the prophetic re-telling of those tales,” the Presiding Bishop added in her homily. “None is complete villain, none completely immune to error. None of these tales is completely ended as long as we continue to tell them and search for the new life that may yet emerge. Our humility to keep telling and looking – and even prowling around – will bring new and better news.”

Richmond Times Dispatch coverage of the day is here. Its interview with Katharine Jefferts Schori is here.

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