. good morning. welcome to "mosaic" and a blessed sunday morning to you. i am pastor elizabeth from st. marks lutheran church here in san francisco and also a host of the mosaic show along with a good colleague of mine, reverend ron swisher. today i have another colleague of mine here on the show i'm eager to have you get to know better. reverend mark anders, from california. you were installed 2006. is that correct? >> that's true, ten years ago. >> wonderful. it's a position of oversight that you have with the miss
episcopal community we're going to hear about. you're not from here. i'm interested how you got from the deep south to bay area. please introduce yourself and welcome. >> thank you so much it's a great pleasure to be with you. well, you know, when i speak to groups here in the bay area, sometimes i ask how many are born here like you. or even right here in san francisco. there's usually two or three people in the room. then i go on to make the point, everybody including the ones born here have chosen to stay here or come here. this is a place people very deliberately choose. for big, big reasons that have to do with aspirations of freedom, ability to innovate and bring all their powers of
creativity to bear. so i think that's important as we think about who we are and why we're doing what we're doing here in the bay area. sheila and i, my wife and i, came from alabama. i was the bishop like the lieutenant governor of diocese of alabama which is most the state of alabama. i was elected. we elect all our bishops. it's a mixed democracy of the episcopal church. i was elected in 2006. we moved here. the position i had certain areas of responsibility in alabama and also scope to follow what god was calling know do there. i worked in the areas of environment and racial
reconciliation. those experiences were very transformative for me. i learn -- i learn sod -- learn sod much. those helped prepare me for coming here. >> you grew up in rural south, right? >> that's true. we lived in birmingham in alabama. i was raised in a small town -- i was born in oak ridge, the nuclear city, that was part of the manhattan project. we lived in an old town, east tennessee town that became a bedroom community of oak ridge. i was raised in the united methodist church. my mother comes from a long, long methodist family in north carolina. she was raised on a farm in east carolina. interestingly, i remember them talking about glide memorial here in san francisco when i was
a kid. these farm folks in eastern carolina were connected to the sense of what glide represented in terms of justice. >> i'm interested in where you good morning some of your progressive values. -- where you got some of your progressive values. >> it started with my mom and also my dad. certainly my mother's commitment to justice in the methodist church. very strongly. >> you saw that in your home and the way they lived their lives? >> yes, very much they were -- they fit in with a small southern tennessee town. they were not people who were not really part of things. i remember there was a meeting they hosted in their home when people were asking question of should we have black members in our all white church?
my dad strongly believed that we could, should, absolutely. he invited church members and the pastor. they had this big meeting. i was a little wild listening in. of course when we listen in, sometimes we take that in more deeply than the things that are said straight on to us. >> that's right. we're going to take a break right now. we're going to hear more about bishop andrews. here's our guest today. thank you.
welcome. >> thank you. >> the south is a long way from the bay area. i'm curious why god chose you to be the bishop here in this diocese. why did you choose to come here? >> the sense of call, you're referring to, is very powerful idea that we don't just simply make choices that there's more woven into the universe than our individual hopes and desires and accidents. when i was nominated -- i was nominated to be bishop of california. as i said, it's a democratic process. there were seven candidates. before the candidate list was announced, my wife and i -- sheila and i took three days off of work. we used our minds and prayed and used our spirits to sort through several options. not just california.
because i was nominated for several things at once, i thought it was unfair to just passively let the processes unfold. in other words, somebody might be better suited for a position than i. if i stayed in it and once i was slotted in for one, someone else might have been eliminated for another. at the end of the three days we felt strongly called to california. i called the other places i had been dominated and withdrew from all those. i still wasn't on the final list here. it was like walking off. we didn't know if we would be chosen, how the election would go. it's a very public process. election of a bishop is -- we have what are called walk abouts. five different churches here in
the bay area hosted each one a walk about and over 1,000 people that week came and asked questions. then they had the election two weeks later. >> what was the toughest question that someone asked you in the walk abouts, do you recall? >> that's a great question. the american south and the bay area are in many people's minds polar opposites. it's the bible belt. one of the questions i was asked, you're coming from the bible belt. what are you bringing to the bay area? >> good question. >> i said how about the bible? but not as a weapon. not as something literally true but something living, beautiful. not that it wasn't here. it was a funny answer.
it's serious in the way i take our scriptures to be a source of life in the way, here we are in this matrix of religions living here in the bay area. such a rich gift to all of us. our brother and sister religions outside of christianity take their scriptures very seriously. i find main line denominations are weary about the bible. there's good reason. they have been with public understanding the brush of intolerance and people that use the bible as a tool, a weapon against people. they don't want to be associated with that in so doing, we've backed from this source of god speaking to us through scriptures as
powerfully >> is it fair to say it might be different to be the bishop here in the bay as in other parts of the country? what particular gifts have you brought in your service here as bishop? >> i find the episcopal church everywhere i go, 82 congregations in the bay area, also diocese to diocese to be on the one hand very diverse. we have chinese congregations. we have black congregations. we have poor and rich congregations. we have primarily gay congregations. at the bottom level, i find a quality to the he episcopal church that's the same. >> what is that? >> i'm not claiming it exclusive. lutherans are very close in in
in -- in many ways. in terms of spirit, it's different than tolerance. tolerance is higher to lower. i tolerate you from a place of height or privilege. i think it's more curiosity and appreciation and sense of dignity of everyone that god has made. i find this everywhere in the episcopal church. i find it in alabama. find it here. i think obviously there are spectrum differences. go to some diocese in the episcopal church and find people politically aligned differently than most people here. at that basic level, we stayed together through the. i became a bishop through the episcopal church went into most
intense struggle over human sexuality. we stayed together as a church. yes, some people left. as a church, we moved forward together through that ten years of struggle. it was remarkable. >> you've been leader in lgbtq movement here too. probably one of the reasons you were elected, would you say? >> i doubt it. certainly i was known for being progressive. there were openly gay people in the election with me. it was a surprise i was selected. >> you were surprised you were elected? >> miss definitely surprised the world that was paying attention was as well. >> why do you think you were elected? >> i think it has to do with connection. the other candidates were really
. welcome back. we have bishop mark andrews, bishop of the episcopal diocese of california. wonderful guest. you've been the bishop ten years. >> true. >> surprises, challenges in these ten years. how were episcopal churches doing under your oversight? >> those are all good questions. well elizabeth, when i got here,
when sheila and i moved here ten years ago, iraq war was on. i had been publicly opposing it in alabama. there weren't a lot of people publicly opposing the war in alabama, but i carry had carry had the commitment. my belief was strong for variety of reasons here. i left a protest joining with mainly quakers in front of the federal building ten years ago. just a few months after i got here. i didn't plan it to be a defining moment. it has put a stamp on me because it was so public. i got hundreds and hundreds of letters. when ever you step forward, it puts you in a position to learn something. i learn sod much from people. i got letters from -- >> what did you learn? >> i got letters from servicemen
and women serving in iraq saying this is a terrible war and thank you for standing up for us. i was so moved by that. itle taught me that we who are given -- it taught me that we who are given the gift of public positions have to be mindful of how we carry hope for people. thinking about harvey melt saying give them hope. this is what we're all about, standing up, offering hope to people. >> how do we carry hope for people? >> i really -- because we stepped forward in that way, there were about 200 that walked from grace cathedral to the federal building with me. we met wonderful quakers, arrested by federal marshalls. interestingly, almost every one of those federal marshals served in desert storm and privately
said to me we don't support this war. thank you. it was illuminating. from that moment on, i've felt that responsibility of carrying hope, not by myself, but with people. i worked on a lot of public issues like immigration, lgbtq rights, recognition of their rights, environment -- >> climate change. i've been in meetings with you. also affordable housing. >> yeah, definitely. we're working together on that with the interface council and mayor. that's beautiful work. >> yep. >> very important. >> i like what you said about our faith pen -- faith engaging with the public issues. how are some of the churches under your oversight engaged in public life? >> well, much like your lutheran congregations. these are beautiful people.
lots have sprung up. the episcopal diocese in california got started around 1949 with two churches. first trinity which is now trinity st. peters on goff and bush. it wasn't there then. and grace cathedral in stockton, california. from that time, i would say that as people say that california leads and the country will go that way eventually, the episcopal church has been with the culture not following but actually helping shape the values that we call our bay area values. they've been leaders in that for almost 170 years. they're still doing that.
they're meeting new challenges -- >> what are those new challenges? >> i think clearly income equality is one of those. the other is our recognition that we are in what's being called e pot. we have shaped the climate. this is human-induced. interestingly here here in california n northern equal kal we are good -- northern california, we are good stewards. we do a good job carrying for the environment that didn't insulate pus from four year -- since late us from four years of extreme drought and probably more to come. we got a break. late winter early spring with el nino. we said prayers of thanks for that. at the same time, that el nino was the strongest in 100 years and caused bleaching of coral wreaths in the pacific.
a third to a half of those are gone and may not come back. these are planetary effects that we're now dealing with. so the income equality which we have the unfortunate position of maybe being the most income equal city, region in the united states among them for sure. what that's done to our population. >> we see it in the city don't we? >> so much. there's a very old settlement house like hall house, the oldest in chicago. we have one in episcopal, good samaritan here in the city the narrator told the story to me, there are clients of theirs -- what they can have in the way of housing is an old model car they buy for little and then rent space in
,, . we are back with the bishop finishing the story about income equality. people are living in cars where they pay somebody in the yard to use bathrooms. they're low wage workers. otherwise they'd be commuting two hours each way on low wages it pushes them further down and drives income equality gap even further. this is the cost of what's happening in our city.
it's driving people out of all kinds. we have our public school. not because we don't have good teachers. think about what they have on their backs in terms of moderate wage people that have to commute long disstans to teach in public schools. >> i'm interested how you as a bishop can influence either your priests that serve under you or along side you and parishes to address these public issues. do you do it through teaching, preaching, leadership? >> all that. they're there as i was saying. this diocese has been here for a long time. these have been -- people step into roles where people have been there before them who have held great values in terms of solidarity with neighborhoods and generosity, the word i've
used before. i don't have to do a lot in that way. they're there. i think a missing thing in our church and may be true for lutherans is advocacy. we have the ability to influence from our position as faith people, as citizens too. public policy, we don't use that very much. when he was a chaplain at a -- when i was a chaplain at a boarding school, largely conservative, parents largely republicans and kids believed what parents believed. i got amnesty international chapter started there a group of students would write letters all over the world and including our own government about human rights >> are you bishop for life? >> yes. we have mandatory retirement at 72. >> you have ten years. let's project next ten years as
we conclude our show. what do you hope to accomplish in a brief response? >> the revitalization of our churches. they're wonderful, but we face decline like all world religions. we've -- in the diocese of california, we've stopped the decline. we're not to describe part. archbishop ghani in south africa said to me that the best deliverer of social good is the local church because in a village in africa -- think about a neighborhood in san francisco or bay area -- there may not be a government office but there's always a church there. these churches are life, been -- life, beacons in neighborhoods.
if i don't give them the light to shine or it goes out, it's hard to get it started back again. we have -- we stabilize many fragile congregations. now it's thrive time. >> we look forward to watching and supporting you and your leadership for the next ten years. we want to thank our guests bishop mark andrews for coming on mosaic for being here and guests this morning. thank you so much.
that was such a jewel among paints that you had to seek it out. nope, even easier than that. more like taking a left on that street where you usually take a right that wasn't so hard. and if finding that paint made you and your walls beam with pride, is it still paint? benjamin moore. paint like no other. find one of our 5,000 authorized retailers near you.
have a show idea......we wod . welcome to "bay sunday ." i'm your host. we begin with a pitch. we'd love to hear from you. go to facebook.com /baysunday and comment to the page. we've got an interview with a book author and non profit. author of "bitter melon, inside america's last chinese rural town ." tell me about this book. why this story, where's this place, why should people care? >> happy chinese, asian pacific heritage month. kpix had a great month kicking that off last week. it's