LOS ANGELES: Live webcast with Presiding Bishop to feature economic issues

Harvard's Richard Parker will introduce lecture
December 3, 2008

In a live webcast on December 6, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will deliver the first Margaret Parker Memorial Lecture focusing on "Peace and Justice Through the Empowerment of Women." Webcast access will be available at http://www.ladiocese.org, beginning at 11 a.m. Pacific time (12 noon Mountain, 1 p.m. Central, and 2 p.m. Eastern) from Riverside, California, where the Presiding Bishop will deliver the lecture as part of the 113th annual convention of the Diocese of Los Angeles. Online access, and later on-demand viewing, will be available. Economist and Harvard University lecturer Richard Parker will introduce the Presiding Bishop to inaugurate the series, which honors the memory of Parker's mother, a lifelong Episcopalian active in the diocese for some 70 years. The author of books including "The Myth of the Middle Class" and a co-founder of Mother Jones magazine, Richard Parker will open the webcast with brief remarks including "reflection on the current economic times and their relationship to faith and justice." Diocesan bishop Jon Bruno will welcome Jefferts Schori, the Parker family, and other lecture series organizers, including priests and laypersons from St. Cross by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, Hermosa Beach. St. Cross parishioner Jean Mannings joined St. Cross rector Paul Lawson on the lecture planning committee. She praised Jefferts Schori's advocacy for so many priorities also valued by Margaret Parker. Her husband, the late Rev. Dr. Richard I.S. Parker, was rector of St. Cross for 42 of his 52 years of ordained ministry in the diocese. He died in 1991. "We look forward to welcoming our Presiding Bishop and the Parker family as we come together to focus on the values that Margaret Parker helped instill in our lives," Bruno said. "This is a time to emphasize important priorities, including achieving the Millennium Development Goals and especially their call to support the lives of women and girls. It is also a time to give thanks for the great examples that Margaret and Dick Parker continue to be in our lives." Bruno named Margaret Parker an honorary canon of the Cathedral Center of St. Paul in 2002. She died in 2007 at age 93. Richard Parker said that his mother "served the church well for more than 70 years, and not just as a clergy wife—an honorable role of its own—but as her husband's partner and in her own right. She was his counsel and inspiration in a ministry that transformed a tiny beachside congregation into an Episcopal mega-church; after her children left for college, with his counsel, she became a quietly forceful leader statewide among Episcopal women and then Church Women United." In the diocese, Margaret Parker was a co-founder of the Episcopal Church Women's "Today's Woman" annual conference, which continues today as "Tomorrow's Woman." Margaret Parker's "steady and far-sighted role proved invaluable in negotiating the crucial 1960s and '70s, as the Episcopal Church made room for a new understanding of women and minorities, listening to God's call for them to share in the Church's leadership," Richard Parker said. "St. Cross, not surprisingly, in 1976 was one of the country's very first Episcopal parishes to hire a woman curate; in 2009 it will call its first female rector." Margaret Parker's life "turned around her family, her church, her community—and most deeply around her commitment to justice as the expression of love," Richard Parker added. "She treasured W. H. Auden's answer, when asked whether he considered himself a Christian. 'I'm trying,' he replied, 'I'm trying.'" Margaret Parker was born in 1914 in South Dakota, where she grew up and was educated. She was deeply influenced by the rector of her small church—a priest who eventually became bishop of South Dakota. After a year of college and another in business college, Margaret traveled to California to live with an uncle. She attended St. James' Church, Los Angeles, where she met Richard Parker, who was curate. After he was called to St. Cross, Hermosa Beach, in 1938, she joined that church, where she sang in the choir, taught Sunday School and worked with youth. The Parkers were married in 1944.