MARY LEE TALBOT – STAFF WRITER
The role of the church, the laity, clergy and bishops, the Rt. Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows said, “is to name the real, to lift up in prayers the injustice accruing for decades.”
Baskerville-Burrows, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis, will be the chaplain at Chautauqua for Week Six. She will preach at the 10:45 a.m. Sunday morning ecumenical service of worship in the Amphitheater. Her sermon title is “Do You Not Care that We Are Perishing?”
She will also preach at the 9 a.m. Monday through Friday morning worship services in the Amphitheater. Her sermon titles include “Seriously? Do You Not Understand?,” “Joanna, Mary, and Salome, “ “Again. And Again,” “Keeping Woke” and “The Promise of Rest.”
All of Baskerville-Burrows’ sermons will use text from the Gospel of Mark.
“Mark’s Gospel compels me so much,” she said. “There is urgency in his writing, and Jesus’ movements in the Gospel resonate with our current conditions.”
One of the issues Baskerville-Burrows feels with urgency is the number of mass shootings in the United States.
In her April 16, 2021, Bishop’s Letter on the diocesan webpage, she wrote about the shooting at the Indianapolis FedEx Ground facility at the Indianapolis International Airport and shared liturgical resources for prayer.
“It is odd that we have such lax gun laws,” she said. “I have been working on gun issues since 2012, almost a decade. It is vexing. Ideally we should never have to pray for the victims and family of gun violence. It is a peculiarity I might expect in the Middle Ages, but not now.”
In writing about her own life on the diocesan webpage, she said, “The Episcopal Church is where I found my relationship with Jesus some 30 years ago, and I have been learning ever since to live fearlessly, secure in the knowledge of God’s love.”
Baskerville-Burrows’ expertise includes historic preservation of religious buildings, stewardship and development, race and class reconciliation and spiritual direction. She will be following the Chautauqua theme of empathy for the week.
“I hope to inspire people, to help them find on-ramps to transform the world. I have wanted to visit Chautauqua for 15 years, so to preach this week will be the icing on the cake,” she said.
Baskerville-Burrows has served as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis since 2017, and is the first Black woman to lead an Episcopal diocese. A graduate of Smith College, Cornell University and Church Divinity School of the Pacific, she has served congregations in the Dioceses of Central New York, Newark and California. Prior to her election as bishop, Baskerville-Burrows was director of networking in the Diocese of Chicago.