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Utah’s Catholic and Episcopal bishops swap pulpits

First Published      Last Updated Jan 27 2014 12:49 pm

It wasn't what he said that made Bishop John C. Wester's Jan. 19 sermon on unity stand out — it was where he said it.

Wester, leader of Utah's 300,000 Catholics, was preaching at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Salt Lake City rather than in his own church's sanctuary.

To visually underscore the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Wester and his Utah Episcopal counterpart, Bishop Scott Hayashi, decided to switch pulpits for a day.

Hayashi will be preaching Feb. 9 at the Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City.

The two leaders decided that appearing in others' churches was "one way to publicly display their belief that Christians of various denominations share witness and fellowship, and can work together," according to a story in the Intermountain Catholic.

"Christians, by their very nature, 'are called to be one as God is one, made in his image,' " the paper quoted Wester as saying. "However, despite great strides being made in Christian unity, some issues remain."

Echoing comments made by Pope Francis, Wester also "urged all Christians to respond together to the gospel call to reach out to the poor and the homeless," the paper reported, "in ways that include supporting immigration reform, promoting health care for all and care for the environment."

Peggy Fletcher Stack