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Exeter bishop, South Indian scholar offer texts from House of Bishops' meeting

[Episcopal News Service]  England's Bishop of Exeter, the Rt. Rev. Michael Langrish, has today released for posting the text of his March 22 remarks to the House of Bishops's retreat meeting at the Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina.

Also posted online today is the paper on biblical interpretation that the Rev. Sathi Clarke, priest of South India and professor at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D. C., delivered to the House of Bishops on March 20. Additional texts from this presentation will be posted as they become available.

The web site of the Diocese of Exeter carries Bishop Langrish's full text at:

Some Reflections offered to the House of Bishops of ECUSA
29 March 2006

From the Bishop of Exeter:

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in America invited the Archbishop of Canterbury to send an English Bishop to attend the Episcopal Church House of Bishops meeting at Kanuga in North Carolina.

I was invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to attend and was asked by the Presiding Bishop to spend a week listening to the assembled Bishops, and then to offer some reflections setting what I had heard and experienced within an Anglican Communion context and offering a personal perspective of a Bishop of the Church of England.

In consultation with the Presiding Bishop's office, I am making public what I said as follows:

Some Reflections offered to the House of Bishops of ECUSA Kanuga N.C. 22nd March 2006

It has been really good to be with you this week and I do thank you for your invitation. This is my first visit to the USA, and so means a great deal to me. Visiting here has been on my 'to do' list for years now and I have felt increasingly disabled by having no direct experience of American culture so dominant an influence is it in the world today. I do wonder to what extent Americans recognise and understand just how great this dominance and influence really is.

So thank you, thank you for your warm hospitality and for the generous way you have taken me into your life corporately and opened your hearts to me individually. That has been a great privilege.

May I also bring you greetings most especially from the Archbishop of Canterbury who specifically asked me to bring you this message and assure you of his own prayers for you this week and in the run up to General convention. I also bring you the greetings and prayers of my own Diocese of Exeter.

(Full text continues at:

Speech given by Sathi Clarke at the House of Bishops                               
March 20, 2006

Biblical Interpretation: modes and themes from an Indian Christian
I feel like the embodiment of a blessed hyphen. A hyphen exists as a symbol of creative and conscious tension between two realities both of which may be wonderful gifts from God. One part of this reality stems from my being Indian Christian by birth and upbringing. I lived, learnt, and ministered in India for the first 30 years of my life. I am the sixth generation of consecutive Christian priests. I am the grandson of a Canon of the Anglican Church in India and the son of a minister of the Church of South India, who became the Bishop of Madras in time to ordain me to the priesthood in 1985. I ministered as a priest and social activist among untouchable communities in rural South India. The Dalits, as the untouchables wish to be called, challenged and reshaped me as a Christian disciple, theological teacher and Bible interpreter. Dalits, meaning broken or crushed ones, consist of about 15 per cent of the Indian population. They make up about 160 million people who were outcast, dehumanized and pushed outside the village or city gates. They were literally untouchable, and often unapproachable. The term pariah in fact takes its root meaning from their plight. "Pariah"is a Tamil word that means polluted drum people. Because it was made from the skin of dead cattle the drum was the epitome of degradation and pollution. Perhaps this can be contrasted with the pure book people who were the high caste Hindu Brahmins. Pariahs are outcast people because they are not human enough to be part of the Caste system. It is important to note that more than half of the Indian Christian community is comprised of Dalits. They found new life in the good news of Jesus Christ. Those Dalits who could not touch or read or even hear the sacred book of the Hindus were handed the book of life in the Christian Bible. And I was privileged to interpret this newly acquired treasure book among newly empowered Dalit Christians.

(Full text continues at: