Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.

6/19/2006

The PB's a She

Katharine Jefferts SchoriThe Bishops of The Episcopal Church voted Sunday for the Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Diocese of Nevada to serve as the next Presiding Bishop. When news of the election arrived at the House of Deputies today, the nearly 900 deputies and roughly 200 alternates on hand were joined by about three times as many people in the gallery.

The atmosphere was anticipatory, but not exactly charged. As the announcement was made and quickly sank in, the reaction was electric. There was little if any applause or other reaction from the deputies and the onlookers who broke into applause were shushed quickly enough as the rules of the House only allow for displays with consent of the President and all were aware that when any person is selected others may feel rejected. Yet there was still a very perceptible sense of jubilation.

Katharine Jefferts SchoriIn the debate to the consent to the election which followed, only a deputy from Maryland spoke against the selection noting correctly the strain the election of a female primate (a leader a province within the Anglican Communion) within parts of the communion which do not ordain women, including three dioceses within The Episcopal Church which do not ordain women. The wife of Columbian Bishop Duque-Gomez who also ran for Presiding Bishop was one of the Deputies who spoke in favor of the consent (The Episcopal Church in Columbia is one of the foreign nations whose Anglican churches remain a diocese within The Episcopal Church). The vote to consent to the election readily, but not unanimously, went to Bishop Jefferts Schori.

The House of Deputies moved on to other business as the two bishops who brought word of the election were sent back with word of the vote for consent. In the fullness of time, Bishop Jefferts Schori was escorted into the House by current Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, accompanied by her husband, daughter, son-in-law and others. The House and gallery rose to its feet in a lengthy standing ovation which released the unanticipated emotion of the gathering. I noticed one deputation which voted against the consent standing and joining in the applause in a sign of support I find hopeful.

In anticipation of this post, I've been asking people this afternoon and evening what they think of the day. Certainly quite a few have noted the rightness of this election coming on the 30th anniversary of the General Convention voting to approve of the ordination of women. Many commented on the palpable energy and excitement the announcement produced. Others commented on how they did not see it coming or how unexpected the election was.

I appreciate that the gifts Bishop Jefferts Schori will bring to her new vocation will be in part because of her gender, but she is not only a woman. She, of course, has gifts to offer that have nothing to do with her gender. For example, she brings a scientific background to her vocation. Jefferts Schori holds a Ph.D. in oceanography and worked for the National Marine Fisheries Service before entering the seminary. When elected Bishop of Nevada five years ago she told a newspaper, "I'm still working in the depths and still fishing."

Richard and Katharine SchoriThe one member of the nominating committee I have spoken to is quite sure that Bishop Jefferts Shori was nominated for her gifts in ministry and not due to her gender. Furthermore, I have no reason to believe that the bishops elected our new primate just because she happens to be female. What I notice is that her election does not fit with any preconceived notions, general expectation or particular political agenda, meaning that her election has all the fingerprints of the Holy Spirit and I think that is what led to the unanticipated energy the announcement generated in a gathering that honestly did not think it was on hand to hear of the first female primate in the Anglican Communion.

As for myself, I can't imagine she would have been my choice, though I can't know that as I was in place to vote on the consent, not to vote in the election itself. But with that said, I have been praying for Bishop Jefferts Schori and will continue to do so and as I prayed before the vote to consent, the unease I had at the potential rift it could cause with those who do not approve of the ordination of women was calmed by the peace I felt in voting for the consent. While not my choice, I ended up having good feelings about the consent vote and pray that God will use Bishop Jefferts Schori to energize Christ's Church - including The Episcopal Church - the way the announcement created excitement today.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

Jefferts Schori distributing communion in Nevada

6 Comments:

  • At 6/19/2006 9:22 AM, Anonymous Steve said…

    I like your narrative, "In the fullness of time..."

     
  • At 6/19/2006 4:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This seems like a very unwise choice for PB. At a time when the Episcopal Church has already strained the bonds of the Anglican Communion to the breaking point by following what it takes to be the promptings of the Holy Spirit, it seems foolhardy and a bit arrogant for the Episcopal Church further to force its values and priorities on the Communion in this way. Not only does roughly half of the Communion regard the issue of the ordination of women to be unsettled, but this particular woman (Jefferts Schori) is a staunch, on-the-record proponent of all the American policies that have been tearing the Communion to shreds, and pushing our conservative brothers and sisters here in America further to the margins. The election and confirmation of Jefferts Schori looks to me like liberalism at its worst: talking "reconciliation" and the need for "all voices to be heard," while at the very same moment bowling right over the concerns of the conservative minority, and those of our Christian brothers and sisters elsewhere in the Communion and the Church catholic.

     
  • At 6/19/2006 4:21 PM, Anonymous Victoria said…

    I posted this quote from Archbishop Desmond Tutu in my blog yesterday and while he was speaking on the issue of homosexuality, it is just as true about women:

    "Jesus did not say, 'I if I be lifted up I will draw some.' Jesus said, 'If I be lifted up I will draw all, all, all, all, all. Black, white, yellow, rich, poor, clever, not so clever, beautiful, not so beautiful. It's one of the most radical things. All, all, all, all, all, all, all, all. All belong. Gay, lesbian, so-called straight. All, all are meant to be held in this incredible embrace that will not let us go. All."

    Perhaps there will come a time when some "people" aren't more equal than others.

     
  • At 6/19/2006 6:42 PM, Blogger Laura said…

    I admit surprise at the election of a woman to this position. However, the more I read about our new presiding bishop, the more comfortable I am with her election. But, "Jefferts Shori" is a mouthful! No problem: Sunday mornings we'll use her Christian name in our prayers.

     
  • At 6/19/2006 9:50 PM, Blogger Robin D. said…

    Praise God for giving us an exciting life! Those who wish to separate from the Communion have already separated in their minds. God protect us from the evil one.

    These issues of who is to serve, who is consecrated or ordained are the smoke-screen that the evil one has thrown up to disguise his real attack. His plan is to divide and conquer the Body of Christ! The opposite of Communion is Schism. You gotta say one thing for Satan, he is consistent but not very original. (Oh yeah, that's right, he's no Creator!)

    Our faith that God, (not we) is in control, is our shield. Our sword is the Truth that God loves everyone and wants to bring us to him. Our healing balm for the wounds given us is the Love of Christ that we share for all people. Our strength is the Peace of the Lord. I will stand against dividing the communion over "small" issues given great importance. The important thing is that we cling to each other as brother and sister.


    "'Well, at any rate there's no Humbug here. We haven't let anyone take us in. The Dwarfs are for Dwarfs.'

    'You see', said Aslan. 'They will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out. But come, children. I have other work to do.'"
    The Chronicles of Narnia, The Last Battle, by C.S. Lewis (Episcopalian)

     
  • At 6/28/2006 8:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree that this is a very bad thing for the Episcopal Church. The new PB has a bad track record of supporting heretical issues, and we just can't have this now. I certainly will pray for her though, but I cannot think of her as my church leader.

     

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