[Sent by Pat Brown, St. Barnabas Kutztown]
Our vestry asked that I share the following with the newSpin community:
A lively discussion during one of our recent Sunday morning worship services carried over into our fellowship hour. The Gospel reading on this particular Sunday was from Matthew 5 and recounts a portion of the Sermon on the Mount that includes the Beatitudes. Our discussion centered on the brutal murder of David Kato, an activist for homosexual rights in Uganda, and the response or lack of response by leaders of the Anglican Church in Uganda. The discussion participants drafted a letter to our Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, expressing our dismay and urging a strong response from our leadership in the Episcopal Church.
We were surprised and heartened to receive a letter in response from the Presiding Bishop along with a copy of the statement which was conveyed to the Anglican Communion during the Primates Meeting in Dublin this past February.
Thanks and God's peace-
[This is the text of the letter from Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori. I have copied the text rather than attach her letter because the jpg of the letter sent to me by the parish was not easy to read. Additionally, statements by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Presiding Bishop, as well as a variety of items regarding the death of David Kato appeared in various editions of the newSpin newsletter over the past six weeks. ––Bill]
To the Congregation:
Thank you for your letter of concern about the situation in Uganda. I, too, grieve the death of David Kato, and the dearth of pastoral concern for the mourners at his funeral. I sense some confusion about roles in your comment about this, "but also by the denial of comfort to Kato's family in their time of need by our church." The Anglican Church of Uganda had responsibility for this funeral, rather than The Episcopal Church.
The Episcopal Church has repeatedly expressed concern about draconian laws relating to homosexuality in Uganda.
The primates of the Anglican Communion, gathered in Dublin last week, also expressed our concern about the death of Mr. Kato, and reminded the Communion that as fellow Anglicans we are called to uphold the dignity of all persons. I enclose a copy of our statement. I have also spoken about this situation, both the murder of Mr. Kato, and the larger issue of criminalizing homosexual behavior –– in particular, at the end of 2009, when this law first began to be considered.
I assure you that The Episcopal Church stands against prejudice toward gay and lesbian persons, against the violence directed toward such persons, and for the availability of pastoral care to all members of Christ's body.
I give thanks for your concern and pray that your ministry may be a blessing to many. I remain
Your Servant in Christ
Katharine Jefferts Schori