The Episcopal New Yorker Spring 2011 : Page 1
Women in The Church Begins on Page 7 Japan --How to Help Page 6 THE EPISCOPAL NEW YORKER THE OFFICIAL NEWS PUBLICATION OF THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF NEW YORK SPRING 2011 IN THIS ISSUE Bishop Search Page 4 Global Women Page 8 Primates on Women Page 11 Bible Women Page 12 Bishop Roskam Page 14 Church Women Page 20 Hong Kong Women Page 26 Fifteen Years On As a father of two girls, the vital need to im-prove the position of women in the world is clear to me in a way that it once was not... …Having daughters has made many a man into a feminist! Even so, I’d say that I’m semi-detached from Angel Gender Page 36 2011 marks the 15th Anniversary of Bishop Roskam’s consecration as our Bishop Suffragan, and at the last Diocesan Convention she announced her retirement at the end of this year. She spoke recently with the editor of the ENY. it. What more could be done to get the point into men’s heads? One thing that men need to do, to get the point in a more visceral way, is to make sure there are women in the rooms where decisions are made. It isn’t so much about power as ( continued on page 14)
Fifteen Years On
2011 marks the 15th Anniversary of Bishop Roskam’s consecration as our Bishop Suffragan, and at the last Diocesan Convention she announced her retirement at the end of this year. She spoke recently with the editor of the ENY.<br /> <br /> As a father of two girls, the vital need to improve the position of women in the world is clear to me in a way that it once was not...<br /> <br /> …Having daughters has made many a man into a feminist!<br /> <br /> Even so, I’d say that I’m semi-detached from it. What more could be done to get the point into men’s heads?<br /> <br /> One thing that men need to do, to get the point in a more visceral way, is to make sure there are women in the rooms where decisions are made. It isn’t so much about power as Fifteen Years On<br /> <br /> 2011 marks the 15th Anniversary of Bishop Roskam’s consecration as our Bishop Suffragan, and at the last Diocesan Convention she announced her retirement at the end of this year. She spoke recently with the editor of the ENY.<br /> <br /> As a father of two girls, the vital need to improve the position of women in the world is clear to me in a way that it once was not...<br /> <br /> …Having daughters has made many a man into a feminist!<br /> <br /> Even so, I’d say that I’m semi-detached from it. What more could be done to get the point into men’s heads?<br /> <br /> One thing that men need to do, to get the point in a more visceral way, is to make sure there are women in the rooms where decisions are made. It isn’t so much about power as It having a voice. Men don’t tell women’s stories. We wouldn’t expect you to. But throughout much of history women’s stories were simply ignored, omitted, and sometimes disparaged. If men are the ones who are educated, then it is men’s stories that are written down. The stories that are written are generally deemed more important. And over time the written stories are the only ones that endure, making most of history really male history. Why else would we need a Women’s History month? The same can be said of African American history in this country. So we have Women’s History month and Black History month to remind our society of the great works, inventions and brilliant minds of women and African Americans. Someday we will truly have an integrated human history that includes the diverse stories of all the children Of God. Then we will not need to have special months of remembrance. Unfortunately we are not there yet.<br /> <br /> One thing that can transform the lives of women is education. You have been instrumental in starting three different educational initiatives in the diocese—Carpenter’s Kids, All Our Children and the Global Women’s Fund. The third of these, the Global Women’s Fund, is relatively small, reaching only a handful of beneficiaries at any one time. Can it make a significant difference? How do you react when people use the word “significant” in this kind of context, to suggest that changing the lives of a few is not worth it?<br /> <br /> The thing about educating a woman is that generally her education benefits not only her family but her community as well. As the saying goes, “educate a woman and you educate a whole village.” Of course, it’s sensible to have measurable results. For instance we support women who are intentional about wanting to use their education to benefit other women or larger communities in their home context. Certainly that is measurable to a large extent. But sometimes, the ripples move out from the empowered life of an educated woman in a way far too significant to measure easily. The empowerment of one woman can be the pivotal point on which generations may turn.<br /> <br /> Carpenter’s Kids seems to have been very successful indeed. Do you believe it is “scalable”—that it can be grown to a much larger size by involving parishes in many other dioceses, or even other Churches in the Communion?<br /> <br /> I do think it will grow. Atlanta and Virginia were the first to come after us, then Rochester, and most recently Western Tennessee has made inquiries. Plus we have individual parishes in California, Canada, Australia and the UK involved as well.<br /> <br /> But principally Carpenter’s Kids is about the partnership between parishes in support of some of the poorest and most vulnerable children on earth in service of Christ’s mission to a hurting world. This partnership is a gift to us. I know some people might think it is about charity from the first world to the developing world, but how wrong they are! When properly undertaken, this is a partnership of mutuality and respect. I think many of our parishes and certainly our pilgrims to Tanzania will tell you that we have received far more than we have given.<br /> <br /> Could you be more specific?<br /> <br /> We are a country held in bondage to money. Capitalism, once simply our prevalent economic system, has turned into a religion for some, becoming the core value of what is important in life. Some people who purport to be Christian nevertheless seem to have forgotten that Jesus told his disciples that you cannot worship two masters—you cannot worship God and wealth. In recent decades Americans have lived lives of acquisition and excess that we could ill afford, paid for on credit, deluding ourselves that this kind of life is somehow pleasing to God, as if the growing economic disparity in this country and around the globe is morally neutral. You only have to stand in a mud hut once, to see the dirt floor swept clean, the sleeping mat (if there is one) rolled neatly in the corner by the hollow gourd used to hold water, to see the dried corn on the roof, the murky water in a shared well, to experience a corrective to that way of thinking, and indeed that way of being. Add to that the joy in worship, the love of God among those who have so little, while we are often ready to abandon God whenever something bad happens to us—it’s very humbling. Such experience liberates us from the tyranny of the material, and our Lives are transformed. We make different choices—not just small changes like no longer letting the water run in the sink when we brush our teeth— but life choices.<br /> <br /> Can outcomes be measured yet? Do we have any stories of Carpenter’s Kids who have gone on to high school and beyond?<br /> <br /> The Carpenter’s Kids steering committee is currently discussing how the impact of the partnership can be effectively measured over the long term, but anecdotally we already have stories of success. We have Carpenter’s Kids in secondary school who are surely university bound, if they can find the resources. Others have graduated from vocational school as seamstresses and mechanics. One of our Carpenter’s Kids is the first woman plumber in Tanzania!<br /> <br /> All Our Children is dealing with a more complex set of realities as it tries to support public schools here in the diocese. Why does it matter?<br /> <br /> Public education is the backbone of democracy. You cannot have a democracy without an educated populace. We know what countries without public education look like and you wouldn’t want to live there.<br /> <br /> Would you say a bit more about All Our Children for those who may not know what it is?<br /> <br /> It’s an initiative in support of public education that encourages every congregation to form a partnership with a local public school, and every Episcopalian to give 40 hours a year in direct service, teacher support or advocacy. Actually, everyone who does this work eventually becomes an advocate.<br /> <br /> Quite a bit of State money goes to public education and still New York State is ranked 34th among states in this country for results. What is the problem?<br /> <br /> Whatever other problems there may be, the principal problem is inequity in the distribution of those funds. Schools are largely funded on the basis of property taxes, which are higher in rich areas which tend to be white and lowest in poor communities which are majority Black and Hispanic. Cuts in state funds, because of funding formulas, disproportionately affect the schools in poor communities. State funds should help even out the disparity of property tax based school funding, not exacerbate it. For example, under the cuts proposed at the time of this interview, schools in Scarsdale would lose $108 per child. Schools in Mt. Vernon would lose $1,016 per child. The disparity breaks down along racial lines. The higher the percentage of black and Hispanic children, the greater is the per capita loss.<br /> <br /> Schools in rich communities will always have more than schools in poor communities, but there is a level of resources below which no American school should fall. Every school should have a library, gym, music and art. Add to that, at the very least at the High School level, schools should have well equipped science and computer labs. Those things are the basics of a good education and all children should have them.<br /> <br /> Are there any other comments you would like to make about the state of public education in New York?<br /> <br /> Our public schools are shockingly segregated, more so than any other state in the union. Most white New Yorkers don’t know that—or even if they do, they don’t want to think about it. We white people, especially in a place as liberal as New York, do not want to think we are racist, and yet collectively we can allow a situation like this to persist decade after decade without so much as a peep of protest. Separate was not equal in the 50s and it is not equal now. Minority children go to school in crumbling buildings without labs and computers, without textbooks or supplies, without enough desks, without art and music, often without experienced teachers—without the majority of things that enable children to succeed. Our highest dropout rates are among African American males, who are now incarcerated at a higher percentage rate than black South Africans under apartheid. 2.3 million incarcerated, overwhelmingly men of color. Another 6 million people are on probation or parole, which means no voting rights and low employability. There are more African American males between 18 and 25 in prison than there are in college. Michelle Anderson calls this “the new Jim Crow.” And it is. You can’t be a person of conscience in the midst of such inequity and not want to do Something about it.<br /> <br /> How does the New York State budget affect this?<br /> <br /> In his State of the State address in January, Governor Cuomo said, “An incarceration program is not an employment program…Don’t put other people in prison to give some people jobs.” Imprisoning young people is not cost effective. It costs $200,000 a year to put a young person in prison. You could educate ten young people well for the money it takes to incarcerate one who has dropped out of an ill equipped, dangerous school. What fiscal sense does this make?<br /> <br /> Is it realistic to believe that we can make a difference?<br /> <br /> Make no mistake about it, everything we do—or refrain from doing, for that matter— makes a difference, and not always for the good. Hence the prayer of confession for “those things done and left undone.” But when we are intentional about our actions, we can make an enormous difference simply as individuals. When we are intentional together we can move mountains. And inequity in public education is a mountain I believe we, both as citizens and as people of faith, are called to move.<br /> <br /> Are you willing to comment at any level on the proposed Anglican Covenant?<br /> <br /> My own opinion is that member provinces should be studying and signing a different document, the Covenant for Mission approved unanimously by the Anglican Consultative Council at its meeting in Nottingham in 2005. It is neither juridical nor punitive and is consonant with our Anglican tradition—member churches joined by common prayer and common mission. More than that I am not willing to say at this time as the Proposed Anglican Covenant is under wider discussion in the Diocese.<br /> <br /> Are you an optimist about the future of the Anglican Communion? Why should an Episcopalian care?<br /> <br /> I am most definitely an optimist when it comes to the future of the Anglican Communion. Early on in his time as Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams said the wisest thing. He said that it is not so easy to split the Communion, as we are connected at So many different levels—and I think this is very true. We may argue in meetings, but the bonds of affection run very deep and there are many, many relationships around the communion in service of God’s mission to a hurting world.<br /> <br /> Look at the recent communiqué from the Primates’ meeting about gender based violence (see page 11). That did not come out of the blue. It is the result of the hard work of women around the communion, networking, sharing, encouraging each other, working tirelessly to tell the story of women’s suffering from gender based violence in all the Councils of the Church and in the halls of the United Nations and in the networks of the Anglican Communion. The Primates have heard women’s voices at last. And I suppose it didn’t hurt that they had a woman primate among them, Katharine Jefferts Shori, our Presiding Bishop, who at the very least was an incarnate reminder—a mnemonic, if you will—for half the human race. Still, I never thought I would see the Primates deal with a women’s issue with such clarity and effectiveness in my lifetime, and I praise God for it!<br /> <br /> Does the connection to Canterbury still have meaning?<br /> <br /> For me it does. The See of Canterbury is the mother of us all, as it were. It is a unifying and historic entity that calls us into being and relationship over space and time as the sometimes squabbling but mostly loving offspring of the English church.<br /> <br /> Do you think that operating in a Church structure that has its origins as the expression of secular power (Roman, then English kings) has any effect on Episcopalians’ ability to do God’s work?<br /> <br /> The church cannot separate itself entirely from secular power. It is as scripture says, though—we are called to be in the world but not of it.<br /> <br /> Do you feel that the Episcopal Church can reverse its decline in numbers?<br /> <br /> I do. For one thing, the Episcopal Church may be in decline, but the Diocese of New York is not. But that is because one third of our parishes are growing, some by leaps and bounds. Another third are holding their own and another third are in decline. Of course, there are demographic factors that bear on some of this, but there is more to it than that. Our Commission on Congregational Development and the Congregational Support Committee, and the Diocesan staff members who support their work, have many practical resources to help churches grow. But techniques and resources are not enough.<br /> <br /> Overall I think we need to renew our commitment to Christ. It all starts there with our own ongoing conversion. We are called to live cruciform lives, not “successful” lives in the world’s terms. If we do not do that, all the church growth programs in the world will not save us. If all a new person at the church door means is another pledge to keep Things going as they are, we will most definitely fail. But if we truly know Christ in our hearts, then we can offer the radical other-focused welcome that has enabled our churches to grow. There it is, the Gospel paradox, “Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the Gospel, will save it.” (Mark 8:35)<br /> <br /> Moreover, this kind of other-focus leads beyond the doors of the church into the world, in witness to God’s love and for the healing of the world for which Christ gave himself. A deep faith cannot help but be a dynamic faith.<br /> <br /> Are there any topics or issues on which your views have markedly changed over the course of your ordained life – or of your episcopate?<br /> <br /> I’ve become more conservative on issues having to do with the prayer book. I have always been in favor of expansive language in principal and certainly the inclusion of more of the biblical stories about women in the lectionary. But I am troubled by the theological implications of some of what is now being proposed by the SCLM (Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music). For instance, 110 of the new entries in Holy Women, Holy Men do not end with “Through Christ Our Lord.” The common wisdom, as I understand it, is that “Lord” is no longer a term that has meaning to a younger generation— and yet everyone knows what we mean when we call someone a drug lord or describe someone as “lording it over” someone else. We do not have to be governed by a House of Lords to understand the term. I think the issue is not the term itself, but the notion of submission. It’s not a model Americans like. And yet submission to Christ as Lord is at the heart of our baptismal vows, and I hope always will be. Without it we are merely playing at being Christians.<br /> <br /> Also, I originally supported the use of the Revised Common Lectionary, because of its wonderful inclusion of women in the bible. But having used it now for over a year, I would characterize it as a better guide for Bible study than for preaching. It isn’t that I am opposed to change. But it is as if some of what is being proposed is not formed in and by our devotional and liturgical tradition.<br /> <br /> But weren’t you among the first to do the Hip Hop Mass?<br /> <br /> I am and I’m proud of it. But if you look at the text we used at the time, it was a faithful translation of the prayer book into Hip Hop language, the vernacular of the street. It was meant as a gateway for most at-risk youth into the life of faith, not for mainstream use. The Hip Hop prayer book is a conservative document in its own way.<br /> <br /> If you had five more years of working as a Bishop, what would you focus your attention on?<br /> <br /> I would most definitely continue the work around public education and racial justice, but within the Diocese of New York I would like to walk with the churches who are open to and are exploring new paradigms of “doing church.” I think the church has an exciting future if we open ourselves up to the Spirit’s leading, but it will not come without sacrifice. I would like to be a companion on the way.<br /> <br /> THERE ARE 5,542 ORDAINED WOMEN IN THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH, including 12 bishops, and 12,464 male clergy. The Church Pension Group study “Called to Serve,” which was published in January, found that the women earn $45,656 on average compared with an average for male clergy of $60,773. Women’s employment ratio—their years of employment expressed as a percentage of their total number of years ordained—was also lower, at 48%, compared with 64% for men. However, writes Anne Hurst in the introductory section, “the discrepancies between men and women are shrinking in some respects. When examining employment ratios over time we find that in just twenty years the gap between men and women has decreased, and though men previously had higher employment ratios than women, that pattern has inverted in recent years.”<br /> <br /> The Pension Fund conducted the survey in collaboration with the Executive Council’s Committee on the Status of Women, the Church Pension Fund’s Office of Research, the Episcopal Church Center’s Office of Women’s Ministry, and CREDO Institute Inc. The full text is available at http://download.cpg.org/home/publications/pdf/ CalledToServe.pdf.