by Anthony Woollard
from Signs of the Times No. 36 - Jan 2010

This book by the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church in the USA is a collection of addresses and sermons given over the past two or three years in various settings. It sets out her understanding of what it means to 'seek God's dream of shalom'.

Like some similar anthologies, it has the weakness of being a little repetitive at first. Schori has one overriding message: the relevance of faith to social and political justice.

In the first few addresses we learn many times, and rightly so, of the supreme importance of the Millennium Development Goals, but what they mean in concrete terms in different situations is not brought out as fully as it might be. Later addresses are more focused, including two on climate change, one of them particularly well informed by Schori's original discipline as an oceanographer.

Those who imagine that TEC is obsessed by women and gay people will be surprised to see that that complex of issues gets quite scant attention. One address responds to the initial pressure  for an Anglican Covenant with all that that implies. Another considers the issue of women bishops in the Church of England, but in the context of a very wide-ranging meditation on ministry and leadership in general. We are reminded that the agenda of TEC is very much broader than the dimensions which hit the Anglican Communion headlines.

That reminder - that a liberal, inclusive vision of the Gospel ought to be about something far broader than our current local difficulties - on its own makes the book worth a look. And in portraying Schori as one who really is as deeply rooted in the world as in the Church, it offers an all too rare glimpse of an alternative model of church leadership.

Anthony Woollard is editor of Signs of the Times. He taught Theology at William Temple College  before entering the Civil Service where he spent most of his career in the the Department of Education.
The Gospel in the Global Village by Katharine Jefferts Schori is published by Morehouse, ISBN: 9780-8192-2343-2. Reviewed by Jody Stowell in Modern Believing Jan 2012.