Taking the city to court

Date: April 18, 2024

It was lovely to get a phone call from Bishop Neff Powell – a Board member and a very good friend of VTS. He wanted to lift up the ministry and impact of the Rev. Bernie Lindley (class of 2007) of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Brookings Oregon. Bernie runs an Episcopal Church which seeks to feed the homeless in his town. In 2022, the City passed a new ordinance that insisted that you must have a permit to provide meals in a residential area and that the service should be limited to 2 days a week.

Bernie took the city to court. In the end, he argued, feeding the unsheltered is a Gospel obligation. And the Judge Mark Clark agreed. The city cannot prohibit the practice of feeding those in need that is the heart of the ministry of St. Timothy’s.

Bernie did his Anglican Studies year at VTS. Did seminary prepare him for the challenge of taking a city to court? Well, not explicitly. But perhaps all that time in Chapel, all that time thinking about our obligations as Christians, all that time learning about vibrant congregations – perhaps we prepared him better than we realized.

The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
Dean and President of Virginia Theological Seminary and the President of The General Theological Seminary

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