A Capital Congregation: Proximity, Community, and Ministry for American Statehouse Neighborhoods
Rev. Richard Burnett
Why are some forty congregations of The Episcopal Church, and many other ecumenical partners, located either in direct proximity or very near statehouses in American capital cities? And, given this fact, what difference does it make (or might it make) for public policy, social witness, and community minstry today?
Looking at three active responses to this mission of location - 'opening the doors,' 'celebrations for all the people,' and 'proclaiming justice' - the lunchtime conversation at the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life welcomes the Rev. Dick Burnett, past rector (1997-2021) of Trinity Episcopal Church on Capitol Square in Columbus, OH. Through story, symbols, creative tensions, and valued ecumenical citizenship, 'Capitol Congregations' serve the heart of state politics & culture by, as sociologist Robert Wuthnow says, being places of healthy diversity and disagreement. Lical clergy and lay leaders will be able to connect with theologians, political scientists, and historians in this exploration of a vital lever for renewed democracy in American states.
Louis Brandeis said that the states are "our best laboratories for democracy." So let's meet in 'the Lab' at BC's Boisi Center!
Rev. Richard Burnett, an Episcopal priest recently retired from pastoral ministry as rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Columbus, OH, has a long history serving with community and ecumenical/interreligious partners in urban public ministry. For twenty four years, Burnett experienced the fluidity of ministry at Trinity, Capitol Square - like Boston's Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul an historic "capitol congregation" - and now wants to convene leaders of similar congregations to share best practices and mission strategies for a more robust witness in public life.
Raised blocks from the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg and ordained at Washington National Cathedral, Burnett now resides with his spouse, Katharine, in Lenox, Mass, The Spiritual Capital of the Berkshires!