Clergy need new training in languages and cultures to keep up with a rapidly changing Episcopal Church in the 21st century, the House of Deputies heard yesterday as it began deliberation on a resolution that calls for each seminarian to become competent in a language or culture other than his or her own.
The House of Bishops had passed the resolution, but amended it to make such language training an option rather than a requirement.
“The bishops took the teeth out,” said the Rev. Canon Mary June Nestler, dean of the Episcopal School of Theology at Claremont, a deputy from Los Angeles. As the House of Deputies began to consider this resolution, the sponsors proposed an amendment to restore the original wording.
Deputies who spoke against the amendment said that in some areas of the country such training was not necessary, and to require it would be an unreasonable burden. Others pointed out that priests rarely remain in the same area for their entire ministries, and that language and culture training would give them better skills for work in the wider Church.
Deputies voted yesterday afternoon to suspend the discussion until this morning’s legislative session.