March 23, 2017

February 7, 2012

Katharine Jefferts Schori’s Public Relations Efforts

Over on TitusOneNine, Kendall Harmon had linked to something with the headline “Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori invited to Anglican Provinces throughout Asia.”

I nearly passed it by, but I was struck by the, um . . . sweeping generalization of the headline.  See, when you’re trying to spin something as successful, but want to be vague on the details, you say stuff like [name of person you want to pump up] [verb indicating achievement] and “throughout [an entire continent].”

Here’s an example of how this would work if Matt Kennedy had a public relations flack who wasn’t very good [but was trying really hard.]

Famed New York Preacher Matt Kennedy Launches North American Tour

You could even say “Famed Acknowledged Well-Respected Preacher Matt Kennedy Launches Grand North American Tour.”  For the novice reader, this could be considered really neat, even if he doesn’t know Matt Kennedy.  After all, if he’s made it in New York, then he can make it anywhere, right?

But upon reading the article, one discovers that “New York” means “New York State” not “New York City.”  And the “North American tour” consists of preaching stints in Georgia and Texas.

Technically speaking, all of the things mentioned in the headline are correct.  Matt Kennedy is famed, acknowledged, and well-respected in his circles.  And Matt is in New York.  And were Matt to preach in Georgia and Texas, one could truthfully say that he is engaged in a “North American Tour.”

But . . . the sweeping vague grandiosity of the headline gives the game away.  And it does an actual disservice to who Matt Kennedy is because it attempts to inflate someone who needs no inflation.  The only thing such a headline would demonstrate is that either 1) Matt Kennedy seeks recognition beyond his current standing—he wants to leap a rung or two in public recognition and credibility before he is ready or 2) he hired a klutzy pr person.

That’s my general thesis.

But let’s dig a bit more into the details of this actual news release.

First off, this is announcing an “achievement” received from a particular set of people—leaders of Anglican Communion provinces who have, in theory, issued invitations [I have my own speculation even about the idea that they were “issued” but that’s for my own musing].  So immediately one recognizes—from the headline of the news release—the goal: to tout an achievement given by a certain niche segment of Anglitania.  You’ve got someone who is quite desperate to rid herself of the taint of “anathema”—which has apparently led to someone news releasing tea with Primates of Provinces!

Note how carefully the release is phrased too.  We are informed that KJS “has accepted the invitations of Primates of Anglican Communion provinces in Asia to visit, address diocesan gatherings, celebrate Eucharist and preach during February and early March.”

But . . . but . . . where precisely will she be addressing “diocesan gatherings,” and where precisely will she “celebrate Eucharist and preach”?

Ah . . . perhaps that is answered by the list of four Anglican Communion provinces in the third paragraph: the Philippines, Japan, Korea, and Hong Kong.

But no . . . because we are told that what she will be doing in those four provinces specifically is “visit and meet with the Anglican Primates” there.

Now—it may be that our Presiding Bishop will “address diocesan gatherings, celebrate Eucharist and preach” in all four of those Anglican Communion provinces and if so, that’s an achievement . . .  for her.

But we don’t know that from this news release.


We know that she is having tea with the Primates of four Anglican Communion Provinces.  And we know that she will “address diocesan gatherings, celebrate Eucharist and preach” . . . somewhere or other . . .

But the most important thing we know is that Katharine Jefferts Schori needs to announce publicly that she is invited to go to some Anglican Communion provinces.

Matt Kennedy helpfully points us to another excellent model for this kind of news release:

Day of Shining Star to Be Commemorated in Foreign Countries

Pyongyang, February 6 (KCNA)—Events to mark the 70th birth anniversary of General Secretary Kim Jong Il (the Day of the Shining Star) were held in different countries.

They included a meeting and film show in Pakistan on Jan. 28 and a lecture in Benin on Jan. 30.

The chairman of the Pakistan Association for Self-Reliance Studies and other speakers highly praised the exploits performed by Kim Jong Il for the noble cause of ensuring the prosperity of the country and wellbeing of the people and peace and security of the world, adding that it is quite natural for progressive humankind and Juche idea followers to commemorate his birth anniversary.

He would be always alive in the hearts of the Korean people and global progressive humankind forever and his exploits in the international working class movement and global independence would shine forever, they noted, and continued:

The chairman and secretary general of the Benin National Committee for the Study of General Kim Jong Il’s Works said Kim Jong Il pursued original Songun politics, putting forward the Korean People’s Army as a mainstay of the defense capability for self-defence and a main force for building a thriving nation. He was, indeed, a peerlessly illustrious commander of Songun.

Socialism has won victory after victory in the DPRK and the invincibility of the Juche idea has been strikingly demonstrated worldwide despite the U.S.-led imperialist allied forces’ persistent moves to stifle the DPRK for several decades thanks to the treasured sword of Songun provided by him.

The revolutionary cause of Juche is sure to triumph as long as the dear respected Kim Jong Un follows the Songun politics, they concluded.

Upon our Presiding Bishop’s return we can sit back and wait for more news releases about all of her triumphs while taking the continent of Asia by storm

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Potemkin P.B.

[1] Posted by Greg Griffith on 2-7-2012 at 09:24 PM · [top]

According to the latest posted Statement of Operations for the Church (November 2011), the Office of the Presiding Bishop was already running almost $24,000 over budget for the year, thanks mainly to the money she turns over to her Chancellor to sue former Episcopalians. This proposed junket cannot be doing anything to bring the PB’s budget back into balance—a fact which, I’m sure, HoD President Bonnie Anderson would never think of holding against her.

[2] Posted by Chancellor on 2-8-2012 at 12:12 AM · [top]

Actually, the $24,000 deficit in her office was just for the month of November. Her deficit year-to-date is on the order of four times that sum, or nearly a hundred grand ($96,449)—with her own personal office’s budget accounting for $22,240 of that total.  She may not want to call back to her office while she is on her Asian grand tour—the House of Deputies was running a $54,062 surplus during that same period (see page 2 of the operating statement). Dr. Anderson may get the idea that she can run the Church better than Bishop Katharine has.

[3] Posted by Chancellor on 2-8-2012 at 12:27 AM · [top]

I’m reminded of the press releases around her visit to Africa last summer.  Lots of press about which countries she stepped foot into, very little about any meetings with anyone, lots of quotations of her “wisdom” reportedly passed on to Africans, and then a couple photos showing her (IIRC) with African children at an orphanage supported by Trinity Wall Street (the support of orphanages is a GOOD way for them to use the money, don’t get me wrong).

[4] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-8-2012 at 07:30 AM · [top]

I hope the budget challenges don’t mean that the People’s Artist will be dropped from the PBs entourage!  Surely, we are entitled to “quick brush” renderings of this tour. 

Kurosawa would be barely worthy to summon the visual palate and imagery to honor this new chapter of Far Eastern history.

[5] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 2-8-2012 at 07:42 AM · [top]

Throughout Asia…

The whole thing smells of kim chee to me.

[6] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 2-8-2012 at 11:34 AM · [top]

In 2010 she did a tour which included Australia.

Well, actually, she got to preach at one congregation in the outskirts of Brisbane, and that was it. I suspect the only reason she got that gig was because the Archbishop of Brisbane is also the Primate of Australia and he had to be nice to a fellow Primate. So he did the bare minimum.

We have plenty of liberal Anglicans in Australia and the vast majority of them didn’t want to know her.

[7] Posted by MichaelA on 2-8-2012 at 11:16 PM · [top]

I’m not sure why she is even paying any attention as the Anglican Church in Japan is dying just like TEC, perhaps a little quicker .....

[8] Posted by Fr. K on 2-9-2012 at 03:52 AM · [top]

Posing with racially diverse but thoroughly revisionist Anglicans is supposed to make the uninformed believe that +Schori has the support of Anglicans worldwide.  I notice she hasn’t announced a visit to the provinces of Myanmar or Southeast Asia.

[9] Posted by Ralinda on 2-9-2012 at 10:02 AM · [top]

Schori’s posing in photos with different people doesn’t necessesarily mean that she has their support….far from it!  What it does mean is that she wants people to get the impression that she does have that support, and therefore, the influence.  So, in other words, it’s a public relations campaign.

[10] Posted by cennydd13 on 2-9-2012 at 10:39 AM · [top]

Michael A,
You don’t give your primate nearly enough credit.  He has consistently backed TEC in primates meetings and IIRC was the chief architect of the Standing Committee report that made VGR, gay marriage, depositions and lawsuits “Windsor compliant”, while outlawing the provinces which continued to recognize deposed bishops and exiled congregations for “border crossing.”  Said report was rejected by the Primates at Dar, but used as the excuse by Williams, KJS and Aspinall to justify TECs actions in violation of Communion order while penalizing GS churches and exiling orthodox Anglicans in the US, and BTW isolating Sydney.
He has backed TEC’s innovations at every opportunity.
Did he limit KJS while she was in Australia to places where she couldn’t cause too much trouble? Sure he did. He didn’t want the inherent controversy on his doorstep, anymore than ++RW did when she showed up 5 miles from Lambeth and the 2 of them concocted the pointy hat controversy so he could look like he was doing something while in real life fully supporting her and preventing any actual repercussions for TEC abandonment of the Church.

[11] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-9-2012 at 12:30 PM · [top]

The heavens shine brightly on our Maximium Leader. 

After she scores a world record 16 holes-in-one on the golf course, She will preach to the loving throngs who will need water when they pass out from witnesseing her world-renowned rhetotical skills.

[12] Posted by Bill2 on 2-9-2012 at 03:55 PM · [top]

“Did he limit KJS while she was in Australia to places where she couldn’t cause too much trouble?”

Not ‘places’, tj, ‘place’ - she only got one gig! :o)

[13] Posted by MichaelA on 2-10-2012 at 06:08 AM · [top]

Michael, I hardly think you should be so happy about it, or see it as a positive, that she was limited to preaching in “only” one parish.  Here is what the ACL had to say at the time about Aspinall, contrary to your defense of him as though he was orthodox-

We note with profound sadness that the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church, Katherine Jefferts Schori, has been invited to preach in a Brisbane church in early July. This invitation shows an appalling lack of judgment and contempt for those who have suffered at the hands of the revisionists in The Episcopal Church.

That is, your primate holds orthodox in the Communion (including you, and presumably your parish and possibly your diocese) “in contempt.”

The Anglican churches in Australia and New Zealand are hosting Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori for an informal two-week visit to the two provinces.“I’m to speak with people there about their conversations around human sexuality and also about their missionary development work—not in the sense of finances but in the sense of leadership development and theological education,” Jefferts Schori told members of Executive Council

That is, your primate invited her to communicate with groups trying to overthrow orthodoxy in Australia, as well as discuss with him and others TEC’s “sexuality” agenda.  And between the 2 provinces, she was there for 2 WEEKS.  She may have only preached in one parish, but she had a whole lot of time to give aid, comfort, and support to those in your Church who are in the process of remolding it into another TEC- that is what your primate invited her to do, help him with “leadership development.”

[14] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-10-2012 at 07:50 AM · [top]

Tj, I agree with ACL’s assessment and their protest. She shouldn’t even have been spoken to by any Anglican.

But the result still has to be seen as a significant slap in the face to Katie Schori: Of the five metropolitan cathedrals in Australia, three are very liberal and one fairly liberal, and she wasn’t invited to speak in any of them, or at any event sponsored by them. She got less attention than most visiting priests. Some of our liberals are very liberal indeed, yet its clear they found her embarrassing.

Put this in context: there are more Anglicans in Australia than in the USA. She is a visiting primate, she was available for over a week, and she got one parish service. Heck, just be a visiting bishop from some corner of Africa that no-one has heard of, and you will get as many engagements as you want (and not just in Sydney).

“That is, your primate invited her to communicate with groups trying to overthrow orthodoxy in Australia, as well as discuss with him and others TEC’s “sexuality” agenda.”

Ummm no, that’s what she TOLD her EC. I’m curious to know - do you actually believe things when Schori says them (if they aren’t corroborated by someone reliable)? I’m not cirticising, just ... intrigued.

So far I haven’t heard that she had discussions with anyone. And if she had done anything at church fete level or higher, I’m pretty sure we would have heard about it.

[15] Posted by MichaelA on 2-10-2012 at 09:02 AM · [top]

As asign of his ongoing communion with his many American friends Pageantmaster is pleased to annouce that he is about to start on a tour of the Americas.

The Itinerary will commence with cocktails at the American Bar at the Savoy followed by surf and turf at Joe Allen’s in Covent Garden.  Later Pageantmaster will be available for a nightcap at the Texas Embassy off Trafalgar Square, and if still peckish, may have a late Southern snack at The Big Easy and a milkshake at Ed’s Diner in the Kings Road.

Pageantmaster has friends in over 16 different countries worldwide!

[16] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 2-10-2012 at 09:09 AM · [top]

Good point PM, I do intend to maintain communion with the distillers of Malt Whisky, regardless of the revisionism of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

[17] Posted by tjmcmahon on 2-10-2012 at 09:45 AM · [top]

Pageantmaster has friends in over 16 different countries worldwide!

Tee hee.

[18] Posted by Sarah on 2-10-2012 at 09:46 PM · [top]

I am a Priest in the Newcatle Diocese (next door to Sydney diocese) and I heard absolutely nothing about Schori’s visit. It was not mentioned in any of the ad clerums by our bishop. Actually the only reason I knew she was coming was that I read it on Stand Firm. Then I read the ACL’s post about her visit.

By the way tjmcmahon, I agree with you about the Malt (Uisge Beathe) Whisky, though the Scottish Episcopal Church does have some good people (a few), just like Newcastle diocese! smile

[19] Posted by Josh Bovis on 2-17-2012 at 04:59 PM · [top]

Nice comparison of ENS and the North Korean News Agency.  I’ve long suspected there’s a thriving exchange program going on between the two, so slavish, obsequious and grandiose the verbiage used to refer to personages that are, at the core, morally bankrupt mediocrities presiding over sputtering, wheezing organizations.

[20] Posted by Jeffersonian on 2-18-2012 at 09:14 PM · [top]

I like that this story is now in “Protestant,” not “Anglican”.

[21] Posted by Newbie Anglican on 3-19-2012 at 07:50 AM · [top]

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