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Save the Date: Episcopal Church hosts major topical forum: Civil Discourse in America: Finding Common Ground for the Greater Good

May 19, 2014
Office of Public Affairs

On October 22, The Episcopal Church will host and produce a groundbreaking forum on an important topic in our society:  Civil Discourse in America: Finding Common Ground for the Greater Good.

The 90-minute live webcast will originate from historic Christ Church, Philadelphia (Diocese of Pennsylvania), the birthplace of the Episcopal Church and the home of our country’s beginnings. In partnership with the Diocese of Pennsylvania, Civil Discourse in America will begin at 2 pm Eastern (1 pm Central, noon Mountain, 11 am Pacific, 10 am Alaska, 9 am Hawaii).

“This nation’s life is remarkably polarized in the current season,” commented Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. “We have largely forgotten or ignored the need to value the well-being of others as a significant contributor to our nation’s quality of life.  We see the evidence in increasing economic inequality, the decreasing quality of public schools, continuing high levels of unemployment and underemployment, and rabid rhetoric that blames the suffering for their own plight.  Some of the current polarization is certainly generated by fear – often stirred up for particular ends – fear of the other, whether of other faith traditions or none, immigrants both documented and not, or those who inhabit different social locations – economic, geographic, or cultural.  We have forgotten what it is to know our neighbors as human beings with equal rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” 

The forum will be moderated by well-known journalist and commentator Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, Executive Religion Editor for the Huffington Post. Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori will present the keynote address. Two panel discussions will focus on main themes: Civil discourse and faith; and Civil discourse in politics and policy

Raushenbush noted, “It is encouraging that The Episcopal Church is focusing on civil discourse in America and is recognizing the crucial role spiritual and moral discipline plays in finding common ground for the greater good.  At this time of deep divisions within our country and the world, we can only repair the rifts when we encounter the other with respect and openness.  I'm honored to be a part of this discussion and fully expect to leave the event better equipped to be the kind of prophetic peacemaker that each of us is called to be, filled with a spirit of hope that we can move forward together in peace.”

Panelists will be recognized leaders from faith groups, NGOs, the media, academia and government.  Viewers will be able to submit questions to the participants during the live webcast.

The forum is ideal for live group watching and discussion, or on-demand viewing later.  It will be appropriate for Sunday School, discussion groups, and community gatherings.

The event supports Mark 4 of the Anglican Marks of Mission: To seek to transform unjust structures of society.

“People of faith claim to know something about how to respect the dignity of people created in the image of God,” the Presiding Bishop said. “Our own tradition teaches us to be “repairers of the breach, and restorers of cities fit to live in (Isaiah 58:12).”  We will consider both how to learn that wisdom more deeply and how to share it in our communities.”


Resources such as bibliography, on-demand video, materials for community and individual review, discussion questions, and lesson plans will be available.

For more information contact Neva Rae Fox, Public Affairs Officer,


Anglican Five Marks of Mission


Christ Church Philadelphia

Diocese of Pennsylvania