The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, was in La Vista on Friday preparing for the Saturday consecration of Nebraska’s bishop.
The Rev. J. Scott Barker, an Omaha native, will be consecrated in a public ceremony at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Embassy Suites in La Vista. Barker was most recently the rector of Christ Church, Warwick, N.Y.
The ceremonies will be held at the convention center because Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Omaha could not accommodate the 700 to 800 people expected to attend, church representatives said.
The presiding bishop and the future state bishop spoke Friday during a press conference at the hotel, which sits about five miles from where Omaha’s Tri-Faith Initiative proposes a joint campus with an Episcopal church, a synagogue and a mosque.
Bishop Schori, in her fourth year of a nine-year term, said the Episcopal Church is eager to see the project move forward near 132nd Street and West Center Road.
“The Tri-Faith Initiative ... is really one of the leading examples in the Episcopal church of what’s possible in terms of Abrahamic reconciliation and understanding,” the bishop said. “It’s a story that I tell frequently because people don’t know that something like this is possible, and here it is in Omaha, in the center of the United States. It’s a witness and an example to the rest of the nation and to the rest of world. There is nothing like this in New York City, Washington, D.C., or Chicago. There are small initiatives that are usually bilateral — Jews and Episcopalians ... but this is the only intentional community that involves all three.”
The effort can work even though Episcopalians represent only one segment of the Christian faith, Barker said.
“The real work of reconciliation and learning to love one another has to happen in a single worshipping community,” he said. “If it’s too big, it wouldn’t be real people.”
While she’s in Nebraska, the presiding bishop is meeting with clergy in the diocese to discuss their mission projects, including an anti-hunger campaign that allows poor children to discreetly carry food home in their backpacks.
“Mission is the active part of our ministry as Christians, what we are to do to make the world look more like the reign of God,” she said.