R-1 Resolution Concerning Wage Theft
Whereas, the Bible commands employers to “pay [workers] their wages each day before sunset, because they are poor and are counting on it;” (Deuteronomy 24:15); and
Whereas, the Bible also warns: “Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper rooms by injustice, who makes his neighbor serve him for nothing and does not give him his wages” (Jeremiah 22:13); and
Whereas, our Lord, Jesus Christ, preached compassion and commitment for the poor; and
Whereas, working people are entitled to all of the wages they have earned; and
Whereas, wage enforcement policies express the moral values of the public, including our valuation of honest work and honest pay; and
Whereas, our national church has recognized the importance of wage enforcement policies, when it joined other faith groups in issuing a statement in 2009 to the U.S Congress saying, “As communities of faith, in devotion to our common religious traditions of justice and compassion, we are concerned that wage theft is harming the most vulnerable in our society, drawing working people deeper into poverty through dishonest employment practices that the Department of Labor has not been able to address adequately;” and
Whereas, some employers seek to minimize labor costs, by withholding wages from workers or committing payroll fraud; and
Whereas, wage theft occurs when workers are not paid all their wages, denied minimum wage or overtime pay they are due, or are not paid at all for the work they perform or their tips are stolen or they are called independent contractors when they are really employees; and
Whereas, wage theft is a common problem for many low-wage workers and some middle-income workers particularly in sectors like agriculture, landscaping, restaurants, retail, hotels, construction, car wash and janitorial/cleaning services; and
Whereas, Virginia has a crisis of wage theft, very weak laws protecting workers against wage theft and only a handful of state staff enforcing the wage theft laws; and
Whereas, in their events, congregations, ministries, organizations and institutions of the Virginia Episcopal Church have significant purchasing power in sectors that are rife with wage theft such as construction, hotels, restaurants and catering firms;
Whereas, individual Episcopalians and their employers regularly intersect with sectors that are rife with wage theft, such as construction, restaurants, retail stores, janitorial services and car washes;
Therefore, be it resolved that the Virginia Episcopal Church invites and encourages all Episcopal congregations, organizations, ministries and institutions - including the seminary - to address issues of wage theft biblically, theologically and ethically; and
Be it further resolved that all members of the Virginia Episcopal Church are encouraged to support state legislation that strengthens enforcement against wage theft and protects workers from wage theft.
Be it further resolved that all members of the Virginia Episcopal Church consider ways that they might unknowingly participate in wage theft by purchasing goods or services produced or provided by workers who are cheated of their wages.
Be it further resolved that the members of the Virginia Episcopal Church are encouraged to support movements that address wage theft and cooperate with workers, employers, labor unions, worker centers and organizations that are working to secure greater justice in this area; and
Finally, be it resolved that all congregations, ministries, organizations and institutions of the Virginia Episcopal Church will diligently strive to see that the businesses and/or individuals with whom they contract are ethically treated and justly paid.
Submitted by the Rev. Fletcher Lowe
R-2 Resolution Calling for the Inclusion of “The Way of Light” (Via Lucis) Liturgy in the Next Edition of The Book of Occasional Services.
Whereas, in December, 2001, the Vatican officially endorsed the liturgy, “The Way of Light” (Via Lucis), which incorporates fourteen stations of post-resurrection appearances, culminating in the account of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost; and
Whereas, the said endorsement stated that “the Via Lucis . . . can effectively convey a living understanding to the faithful of the second moment of the Paschal event, namely the Lord's Resurrection” (Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, 153); and
Whereas, no comparable liturgy of The Episcopal Church is or has been available for liturgical use by congregations in any of its official publications; and
Whereas, one of the clergy of Region VI in the Diocese of Virginia has crafted an Episcopal version of this liturgy, retaining the outline of the fourteen stations in the Roman Catholic edition, but exclusively incorporating collects and scriptural texts from The Book of Common Prayer and the NRSV translation of the Bible; and
Whereas, at the Bishop's Spring Conference for Lay Professionals, Clergy and Spouses in May of 2017, members of that Conference participated in a spiritually meaningful enactment of this liturgy; and
Whereas, the clergy of Region VI of this Diocese have reviewed and discussed this liturgy (available for download at https://www.dropbox.com/s/z5zpa26k8qzf30x/The%20Way%20of%20Light.pdf?dl=0 ) and in several instances made use of it within their congregations; now, therefore be it
Resolved, that the Diocese of Virginia present the above-referenced text of an Episcopal version of “The Way of Light” to the 79th General Convention of The Episcopal Church for consideration of its inclusion in the next edition of The Book of Occasional Services.
Submitted by the Clericus of Region VI of The Diocese of Virginia