The head of the Episcopal Church gives social justice top billing

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Calling for economic evangelism and political advocacy, the Most Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori, elected leader of the nation's 2.7 million Episcopal Church members, roused an audience of her denomination's regional leaders in Roanoke on Saturday.

"Pester your legislators" to be more aggressive in battling poverty and hunger across the globe, urged Jefferts Schori. "Annoy them."

The 53-year-old former oceanographer, who is said by religious scholars to be the only female top-ranked official of a major denomination -- except for Queen Elizabeth II, whose crown makes her head of the Church of England -- spoke with the conviction of a street preacher.

"When I was a kid I remember being taught that the world's food problems would be solved by protein from the ocean. T'aint going to happen," said Jefferts Schori, who before being ordained a priest in 1994 had a career in science that included a stint with the National Marine Fisheries Service.

As the Episcopalians' Presiding Bishop, essentially their chief pastor, the New York City-based leader has been outspoken about her belief that science and religion can comfortably coexist.

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