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Episcopal Diocese of Washington: Speaking the Vision

Episcopal Diocese of Washington: Speaking the Vision

By Sarah Frances Ives
May 16, 2016

I thought I would offer some bullets about what is going on in April and May 2016, in the Washington DC branch of the Episcopal Church.

• Bishop Mariann Budde's administrator has sent to her clergy a way to order orange stoles from an Episcopal priest who will send you one for $95. The email is from Bishops Against Gun Violence so apparently this is the latest scheme from our United States Bishops. (I am hurrying to post this in case you want to get your order in for your very own orange stole before May 17.)

* Bishop Budde has asked that all of the Diocese of Washington participate in the annual Capitol Pride Parade that begins in the Dupont Circle area of Washington DC.

* The Washington National Cathedral has put its last two historic properties on the market because of the cathedral's increasing desperation for money.

Now I ask you, dear reader, do you think that there are any cause and effect relationships between the above-mentioned situations?

So let's start with our first bullet. Apparently the bishops, including Budde, thinks that the orange stoles will stop gun violence. No, they are not bulletproof stoles and they will not stop gun violence that way. The garish stoles still stop it by provoking great thought. You see, this color is symbolic representation of no gun violence. I cannot explain this any further but I am sure you will find more on social media.

My read on the situation is that if they don't stop gun violence, at least they will provide entertainment at seeing how many Episcopal bishops and priests can be hoodwinked into spending discretionary money to look like clowns and magicians. You know, maybe they can all moonlight at Barnum and Bailey when the circus makes its annual visit. Because money here is tight and getting tighter.

And speaking of annual events, if you bear reading this nuttiness anymore, Budde is leading her flock in the Capital Pride Parade. I will quote from her May 12 announcement. "Bishop Mariann Budde will lead Washington National Cathedral's contingent in this year's Capital Pride Parade, which steps off at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday June 11 from 22nd and P St NW in the District."

The parade is on June 11. But if you can't make the parade maybe you could make the other events found at .

* Sunday Funday Pride Drag Brunch advertised as "A cocktail or two is always civilized, but toss in some legendary drag hosts..." You get the picture. Sunday, June 5, 2016

* Drag Ball that includes "DC's loveliest drag queens." Another Sunday June 5 event. (But when are they going to church? Maybe we should ask.)

* Gay Men Seated Speed Dating on Tuesday, June 7. "All gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer men are invited for a night of speed dating. Guests will participate in a classic seated dating event, with the opportunity to meet several new people in an intimate and romantic setting!" Intimate groups of speed dating: sounds like Christian married monogamy to me! They are seeking true and faithful life-long love with one person, I'm sure. Same event for women only is the next night.

So I think Bishop Budde's vision for the Episcopal Church is becoming clear. On Sunday Funday we all show with our orange stoles, have some civilized vodka, leer at the drag queens, and get ready for a group of intimate speed dating. Who needs church services and those pesky buildings?


Which leads to my last piece of news. On April 8, 2016, David J. Kautter, Chair of the Cathedral Chapter, announced that the Cathedral is selling its last two remaining properties off the Close. These were the homes for the dean of the cathedral and the head of school at 3525 and 3511 Woodley Road, DC. The costs are $5,995,000 and $1,957,895 respectively (source Zillow). Kautter says they are cutting back and streamlining everything.

In other words, the Cathedral needs money! Quick!

The human part of this sorrow cannot be ignored. I frequently meet former employees of the Cathedral who tell stories of losing jobs, financial security and ruined retirement dreams. Some cry and others tell about tearful and brutal layoffs that still occur.

Maybe Budde should have had her former employees who still suffer financially make these orange stoles. But probably they will be making the gin and tonics on Sunday morning for the drag queen brunch.

Sarah Frances Ives holds a Ph.D. in Church History and is a frequent contributor to Virtueonline

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