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Episcopal Presiding Bishop “Revises” Her Online Biography at Wikipedia

Episcopal Presiding Bishop “Revises” Her Online Biography at Wikipedia

By David W. Virtue
March 18, 2011

A portion of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church’s official biography has been deleted from Wikipedia. It was removed in February.

An 815 staff person with the e-mail handle "Matisse412" who made the changes stated, "I work in the Communication Office at the Episcopal Church Center and the edits were made per Bishop Jefferts Schori's suggestion.”

When VOL inquired as to why the changes were made, a spokesperson in the communications office told VOL, “Yes it was changed. The information was incorrect and it was changed. We were not about to have inaccurate info there.”

When asked who Matisse-412 is, the source responded, “I prefer not to name who that is…It is correcting items that are wrong.”

The offending section of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church's reads thus:

“It was later discovered that the information provided by the Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop described in its summary of her career the position of Dean of the "Good Samaritan School of Theology" in Corvallis, Oregon, from 1994–2000,Episcopal Church Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop, [http://www.episcopalchurch.org/documents/PB.Booklet.EnglishFinal.pdf "Profiles of Nominees for the Office of Presiding Bishop"] though there is no school of theology with this name, nor any corresponding school of theology in Corvallis. The Presiding Bishop later described the choice of these words for her profile as having been motivated by her having been in charge of the "then-rector's term for all adult education programs" of the church where she had been a pastoral associate.[http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=37277 "New top Episcopal bishop challenged on her resume"], World Net Daily

In July 2006, VOL first broke the story http://tinyurl.com/475zrno raising troubling questions about PB Elect Katharine Jefferts Schori's ministry.

An investigation into the background and credentials of incoming Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori listed her major qualifications as: Pastoral Associate and Dean, Good Samaritan School of Theology Corvallis, OR, (six years) and Priest-in Charge, Good Samaritan, Corvallis, OR.

However, on examination of her credentials, VOL concluded that none of the sources showed any evidence that the "Good Samaritan School of Theology" existed as an independent organization with staff or facilities. There was no mention of the school or of the titles or positions (Dean, Pastoral Associate) associated with the school.

As a priest, Bishop Jefferts Schori served the parish of Good Samaritan in Corvallis, Oregon, where she was instrumental in expanding educational offerings and in beginning Hispanic ministry.

The web page of the Association of Theological Schools, which lists all accredited and affiliated theological schools in the United States and Canada, did not list “Good Samaritan School of Theology”.

Terry A. Ward, who wrote the exclusive article for VOL, asked Jefferts Schori directly about the Good Samaritan School of Theology: How many students did it have? Who were the faculty members? Where were the classes held? What was its theological orientation? What are the school's graduates doing?

She replied, "The Good Samaritan School of Theology was the then-rector's term for all adult education programs, both internally and externally focused. They included initiation of such programs as Education for Ministry; "popcorn theology" (movies and discussion); a weeknight meal and education offerings for all ages; Lenten and Advent series; satellite-downlink programs with discussion (begun in the days when ECTN and Trinity were doing so many effective ones); invited speakers; Sunday adult forums; inquirers' classes; confirmation classes; and so on. At one point, the School offered a set of historical liturgies, about seven or eight from the time of the church father Hippolytus through the 1928 Book of Common Prayer; the series featured instructed Eucharists."

Jefferts Schori said she also spent a year as Dean of the School of Theology and Ministry for the Diocese of Oregon (1990-1991). “This was a more formal academic program intended to provide education for a variety of lay ministries. The faculty members included clergy and academics from across western Oregon. The classes were held at a parish in Wilsonville. I believe the alumni now include clergy and active lay people in several dioceses in the West."


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