Members of St. Andrew’s may represent our church in local marches for justice. These have included the Women’s March, Science March, Families Belong Together March, Gun Control March, Pride March, Black Lives Matter.
A Word on the Blessing of Marriage
In a statement this week, the Vatican said that because of their purportedly sinful nature, same-sex unions do not enjoy God’s blessing. These words injure LGBTQ+ people and all who advocate for justice and equity for all children of God. The magnitude of their pain cannot be overestimated. May God’s healing power comfort each person who has felt themselves in danger or who has been plunged deeper into isolation or discouragement.
And yet the wound cuts even deeper. The statement risks putting a stumbling block between Jesus Christ and all who are spiritually hungry and who need and deserve the hope of Resurrection. These include LGBTQ+ people, their beloveds and advocates, and millions more, especially younger people, who will be lost to a life of faith as long as religious institutions hew to doctrines that condemn and exclude God’s people on the basis of orientation and identification. In the 21st century, no church will be able to thrive and grow if it insists that the Almighty God nurses prejudices that God’s people, fallible as they are, are finally leaving behind.
At a moment such as this, it is helpful to remember how our Anglican inheritance led The Episcopal Church to a different view of covenantal marriage. We honor Holy Scripture – but we read it discerningly, understanding that texts were inspired by God and influenced by the mores of their time. We honor tradition – but we recognize that traditions change, enabling us at last, after two millennia of oppression, to proclaim the sacramental equality of women late in the last century and of those of all orientations and identifications in ours. We honor our God-given reason – but we test it in community, sharing authority, debating and collaborating, always remembering the prophets’ call, amplified by Christ, to justice and love, even if it means taking a different view than most Christian denominations and sects.
It is important to say that we don’t get everything right. But in a week such as this, it feels right indeed that I am able to say, on behalf of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, that those who heard a rumor this week that God’s blessing has been withheld may come through our doors, and into our Zoom rooms, knowing that we will recognize God’s blessing in them and their unions and marriages – recognize, and give thanks. Because Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)
The Rt. Rev. John Harvey Taylor VII
Bishop of Los Angeles
Wednesday, March 17, 2021 St. Patrick
Voices of Justice: Attorney Jane Stoever supports and empowers abuse survivors ‘when home is not a safe place’
By Pat McCaughan
Jane Stoever views her service as director of the domestic violence clinic at the University of California at Irvine as holistic and transformative – supporting and empowering abuse survivors, teaching the law students who seek justice for those clients in court, and advocating for protective policies and legislative changes to a system that can victimize rather than restore.
The clinic’s work, says Stoever, a parishioner at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Irvine, has become even more critical since incidences of domestic violence and technology-enabled abuse have spiked during the pandemic. “Gender-based violence was already at pandemic levels before Covid-19,” said Stoever. “It’s a basic human rights issue … key to all the ways in the world we think about justice – can I be safe in my home?”
While during the pandemic “the message of ‘stay at home’ has been so important broadly for public health, we also have to recognize that home is not a safe place for some.”
Technology-enabled abuse involves ways in which technology can be leveraged to exert power over another person, she said. “It can be stalking someone through technology or tracking their movements or constantly checking on them, keeping tabs. It might be that your partner has your passwords and has been impersonating you or posting information that is embarrassing.”
Stoever is featured as part of The Episcopal News’ ongoing “Voices of Justice,” series highlighting the vocations of Episcopalians who are effecting positive community change.
Read more here.