Freedom of Religion: The Episcopal Church in America: Breaking New Ground

Freedom of Religion: The Episcopal Church in America: Breaking New Ground
Louisa Adams: Religion, Social Issues and Reform

Skill: High School/College
Time Required: One to two weeks


Standards Compliance
NCSS Strand 1
Culture
NCSS Strand 2
Time, Continuity, and Change
NCSS Strand 5
Individuals, Groups, and Institutions
NCSS Strand 6
Power, Authority, and Governance
NCTE Standard 6
Students apply knowledge of language structure, convention, and media techniques to create, critique, and discuss texts.
NCTE Standard 7
Students conduct research by generating ideas, questions, and problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data.
NCTE Standard 8
Students use a variety of technology and information resources to gather, synthesize, and communicate knowledge.
NCTE Standard 12
Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes.
ISTE Standard 4
Technology communications tools
ISTE Standard 5
Technology research tools

Introduction:

Louisa Adams was raised in the Catholic Church in France and the Anglican Church in England.  She was baptized into the Episcopal Church in America in 1837.  The Episcopal Church in the United States has a long history, dating from 1607. It is also the operating organization (the cathedral is non-demoninational) of the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. The Episcopal Church  made history in 2006  with the election of the Most Rev.  Katharine Jefferts Schori as the 26th Presiding Bishop, the first woman in the 500-year history of the church to be so honored.

Objectives:

The purpose of this lesson, as well as others lessons like it under the umbrella of “Freedom of Religion,” is to acquaint students with a major Protestant denomination in the United States, one with a long history of, and contemporary involvement with, both religious and secular issues.

Materials Required:

Access to the Internet; access to print materials; PowerPoint presentation program or art supplies.

Procedures:

1.  This lesson is probably best done as one in a series of inquiries in the context of a study of comparative religion.  In that context, the lesson can be introduced as yet another set of religious ideas to be understood, not necessarily practiced.  Because the Episcopal Church in the U.S. has, over the past several decades, addressed several controversial issues, there are a series of options for research in this lesson, and the teacher should use judgment in selecting, or having students, select from the series.
 
2.  Students can select from among the following projects, each of which offers research opportunities into the Episcopal Church in the United States.  In all projects, the finished product should be a PowerPoint presentation, or a portfolio, showing the results of the research.  The projects can be done individually, or in small groups.  Creativity in presentation is definitely encouraged. Using the websites listed below, as well as other sites found by students, and by print materials as well, students should select one of the following: 
 
Option One
Students can research a general history of the Episcopal Church in the U.S. from 1607.

Option Two
Students can research the general organization and major beliefs of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.

Option Three
Students can research the Presidents of the United States who were, and are, members of the Episcopal Church, with some speculation on if, or how, their religious affiliation affected their views as President.

Option Four
Students can research the history of the Anglican Church in Europe and the World.

Option Five
Students can research some of the art of the Episcopal Church, both historically and contemporaneously.

Option Six
Students can research the history and debate about the ordination of women as priests in the Episcopal Church.

Option Seven
Students can research the history and debate about the ordination of gays and lesbians as priests in the Episcopal Church.

Option Eight
Students can research the history and work of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

Extending the Lesson:

This lesson might be extended by encouraging students to attempt to answer the question, “Why does the Episcopal Church in the U.S. seem to be directly involved social issues whenever they occur?”  In other words, is there anything about the history, organization, beliefs, and values of the Episcopal Church that accounts for its interest in coming to grips with important social questions?

Sources & Resources:

Websites:

   The Episcopal Church

   The Episcopal Church and Visual Arts

   The History of the Episcopal Church in America

   The Anglican Communion

   An Anglican Timeline

   Investiture of Katharine Jefferts Schori as Presiding Bishop

   The National Cathedral

   Ordination of Women as Priests in the Episcopal Church

   The Episcopal Church and Homosexuality

Credits:

This lesson was developed by Averil McClelland, Kent State University.