Speaking OUT to end clergy sexual misconduct.

Thank You, Bishop Katharine

On August 15, I sent a letter to the Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. This morning, I received her extraordinary response:

Dear Ms. Thiemann,

My apology for the length of time this response has taken.  I have been out of the office for the last several weeks.

I deeply regret your own injury by sexual misconduct in this Church and the response thereto.  I am very much aware of how deep the pain and how difficult healing can be.  As Christians and Episcopalians, we seek healing for the whole creation and we also continue to fall far short of God’s dream for that healing.

I will have a conversation with Bishop Whalon, and hope that he will respond constructively to your request.  In regard to your second request, the Title IV process is under review, and I hope that the next General Convention will attend to some needed revisions.

May you know God’s healing grace in your own life, and continue to be a minister of healing for others.  I remain

Your servant in Christ,

Katharine Jefferts Schori

What makes Bishop Katharine’s letter so remarkable? To heal from clergy sexual abuse, victims need to be heard and believed. We need our pain acknowledged, we need compassionate care,  and we need to know that other vulnerable people will be protected. Most of all, we need to be vindicated, cleared of the cloud of accusation and innuendo, and held blameless for the abuse we suffered. For me, Bishop Katharine’s letter rings every one of those bells. And she makes no excuses; she simply expresses sorrow for the pain of this one victim. Do you know how seldom a religious leader responds with this much grace? My friend “Jane,” a survivor from another mainstream denomination, shook her head in wonder and said, “This just doesn’t happen.”

Well, now it has. I’m profoundly grateful on my own account, and I’m more hopeful for the Episcopal Church than I have been for a long time. I pray that Bishop Katharine will have the impact she hopes for. I will eagerly follow both stories, and I’ll share important developments here.

 

Comments on: "Thank You, Bishop Katharine" (4)

  1. survivorgirl007 said:

    This is truly an extraordinary, unprecedented response! Maybe this is God’s way of encouraging us survivors to continue to press forward. We all need hope, don’t we? And this Bishop’s response provides that in spades.

  2. That is just amazing. I expect clerical stalling when clergy are faulted. I’ve seen it before. This seems unexpectedly healthy!

  3. Marie Fortune said:

    excellent. so is this public? can I use it as an example of something helpful to survivors??????? J

    Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune

    Founder and Senior Analyst

    FaithTrust Institute

    Working together to end sexual & domestic violence

    2900 Eastlake Ave E., Suite 200

    Seattle, WA 98102

    206-634-1903 ext 24

    206-634-0115 fax

    http://www.faithtrustinstitute.org

    Check out my blog

    http://www.faithtrustinstitute.org/blog

    “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” — Augustine

    • Marie, I sent a note to her office this morning thanking her for the superb response. I let her know it would be up on my blog as an encouragement to others. It would be great to spread the word that the leader of the Episcopal Church is doing something important and right on this issue.

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