Monday, June 19, 2006

father thorpus on the election of jefferts-schori

Hi, WB.

As I told you, I took the day off for Sabbath and only
connected with Convention news when i attended the
Berkeley dinner this evening. That's when I found
out. They elected The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts
Schori, Bishop of Nevada, for the next Presiding
Bishop. The only woman on the slate, and the most
liberal candidate, fully in support of the inclusion
of gays and lesbians at all levels of the church.

Her bio from the Episcopal News Service is pasted

At the Berkeley dinner the mood was elated. Bp. John
Chane of Washington, D. C. said that this proves
"listening to the Holy Spirit drives a process that by
human hands would have been impossible." He said
there was not a lot of politicking at the election,
but lots of hymns and prayer. Bp. Jeffrey Rowthorn,
retired bishop of Europe, sat at my table: he said
that as they read out the count for the last ballot,
there was a moment of stunned silence, like everyone
was thinking "i can't believe we just did that." Then
the whole place erupted in applause. I sat next to
George Conger, priest and reporter for the Living
Church and other publications. He showed me the
ballot count. She was elected on the 5th ballot, but
had tied for the lead on the 1st and stayed there.
Second in the running was Henry Parsley, Bp. of
Alabama. Jenkins never had a chance. After about the
second ballot, all the traditionalists seem to have
migrated toward Parsley and the progressives toward
Schori. Congar said he was on the phone with Lambeth
palace just after it happened -- the Archbishop of
Canterbury was in evening prayer and had no statement
as of yet. He called back 30 min. later and was told
the prepared statement (ready for the insertion of the
name of whoever won) had been torn up, and the
Archbishop himself would write the official statement
(which he rarely does). Congar predicted the Queen
would be incensed: she never appoints women priests to
the chaplaincies she controls, and the Queen Mother
(God rest her soul) refused to recieve communion from
women priests. congar and I discussed the
ramifications of this election for the Communion.
Several provinces, of course, still do not believe
women to be validly ordained. This means they can't
be assured of the validity of any Eucharists,
ordinations, or consecrations of bishops that Schori
presides over (I don't know WHAT we'll do in Albany
come September, when our consecration is scheduled.
Hopefully Griswold will still be in office.). This
means our very claim to the historic episcopate could
be in jeaopardy in the future. (great move for
ecumenical relations, I gotta say in all sarcasm)
When I asked Congar what the Primates' meetings will
be like, he replied, "Well, they'll have to build
another bathroom."

Also present at the dinner were the Rev. Harold Lewis,
dressed in his best white suit, Bp.
Bennison, and Harry Attridge. Dean Britton expressed
over and over again, during his own remarks and
inbetween the remarks of others, as MC, what a great
day this was and how elated we all must feel. He
claimed that "as a church we have grown impatient with
our lack of attention to the gospel [by which he means
the gospel of social justice and inclusion)" and that
"we are all feeling the pressure of the Spirit calling
us back to the bedrock of the identity of the church
as a place of the gospel." He repeated several times
that students at Berkeley want to be firmly "grounded
in the gospel".

congar showed me some of his notes from short reaction
interviews with several important figures. Kieth
Ackerman, when asked what do we do, said something
like, "Well, if you believe our church is protestant,
get out now. If you believe our church is catholic,
stay in and wait for the councils of the church -- in
a catholic church decisions are made by the [wider]
councils and not by one particular church." That's
slightly paraphrased because I dont' have the direct
quote in front of me. Words like 'devastating' and
'destructive' were used by my bishops. Most everyone
else, though, is highly elated.

Congar thought this left-ward swing would be balanced
by a right-ward swing on the Windsor response. I
wouldn't bet on it, if my time watching the HoB is any

Ok, that's all I've got. More tomorrow when I get the
response of my delegation and can talk to my bishops.
God help us. I'd love to hear your thoughts, of
course, but mostly just be assured your prayers are
mingled with mine.

The Peace of the Lord,

Katharine Jefferts Schori, 51, was consecrated the
ninth Bishop of Nevada on February 24, 2001. She
serves a diocese of some 6,000 members in 35
congregations. Jefferts Schori is the first woman
selected as a nominee for Presiding Bishop.

Her service to the wider church includes current
membership on the Special Commission on the Episcopal
Church and the Anglican Communion; the Board of
Trustees, Church Divinity School of the Pacific in
Berkeley, California; the CREDO Advisory Board; the
House of Bishops peer coaching program; the General
Board of Examining Chaplains; the Board for Church
Deployment; the House of Bishops' Pastoral
Development, Racism, and Planning Committees; the
Court for Review of a Trial of a Bishop; the Episcopal
visitor team for the Community of the Holy Spirit; and
the Bishops of Small Dioceses group.

From 2001-2003 she was a member of the 20/20 Strategy
Group, and served as secretary of the House of Bishops
Ministry Committee at the 2003 General Convention.

She is the author of "When Conflict and Hope Abound,"
Vestry Papers (March-April 2005); "Building
Bridges/Widening Circles" in Preaching Through Holy
Days and Holidays: Sermons that Work XI, Roger Alling
and David J. Schlafer, eds. Morehouse (2003);
"Multicultural Issues in Preaching" in Preaching
Through the Year of Matthew: Sermons That Work X,
Roger Alling and David J. Schlafer, eds. Morehouse
(2001); and "The Nag" in Preaching Through the Year of
Luke: Sermons That Work IX, Roger Alling and David J.
Schlafer, eds. Morehouse (2000). Her Maundy Thursday
sermon was included in What Makes This Day Different?
by David Schlafer, Cowley (1998).

She is an active, instrument-rated pilot with more
than 500 hours logged.

At the time of her election as bishop of Nevada,
Jefferts Schori was assistant rector at the Episcopal
Church of the Good Samaritan in Corvallis, Oregon,
where she also served as pastoral associate, dean of
the Good Samaritan School of Theology, and
priest-in-charge, El Buen Samaritano, Corvallis. She
was ordained deacon and priest in 1994. Prior to
ordination, she was a visiting assistant professor at
Oregon State University's Department of Religious
Studies, a visiting scientist at Oregon State
University's Department of Oceanography, and an
oceanographer with the National Marine Fisheries
Service in Seattle.

She received a B.S. in biology from Stanford
University, 1974; an M.S. in oceanography from Oregon
State University, 1977; a Ph.D. from Oregon State
University, 1983; an M.Div. from Church Divinity
School of the Pacific, 1994; and a D.D. from Church
Divinity School of the Pacific, 2001.

Jefferts Schori was born March 26, 1954, in Pensacola,
Florida. She has been married to Richard Miles Schori.


Jim said...

I'm saddened to read of your despair, 'Fr. T.' Have you considered the possibility that your reaction suggests a lack of confidence in God's sovereignty and in His ability and right to disrupt the expectations of man? With all due respect, sir, the Sanhedrin's response to the ministry of Peter and John, and the response of the Pharisees to the ministries of Peter and Paul to the Gentiles, is ringing loudly through your lamentations and criciticisms. If you can't celebrate, sir, then at least drop to your knees in humility, and try praying for yourself instead of praying against others. Please consider the possibility that the Holy Spirit of God really is still alive and active, and evident in the Episcopal Church today, confounding the wisdom of man.

Anonymous said...

I have often wondered what it must be like to be on the Titanic as it was I know.


Mark said...

Jim, The Holy Spirit of God doesn't confuse the Millenium Goals with the reign of God, which is exactly what Schori has done.

And we sure as heck don't confuse apostasy with a move of the Spirit.


Johnny Awesomo said...

Fr. Thorpe,

I'm sure that Berkeley dinner was a blast! I wish I'd been there...

From my point of view, this is a somewhat magical and wonderful decision. As an ordinand in the diocese of Nyanza, Kenya who is about to take over pastoring duties in an Anglican church, I am perfectly content with the election of the ECUSA's new presiding bishop. Think of all the parishioners who will finally flee their ECUSA parishes!!! Now, instead of gritting their teeth through pointless and heretical sermons, they will make their way to places where they will truly be fed with the Word before they are fed the with the Sacrament.

Only somewhat tongue in cheek,

Anonymous said...

Mark, I agree with you. Jim is confused, at best.

Jim, Have you considered the possibility that your reaction suggests a lack of confidence in God's sovereignty and in His ability and right to disrupt the expectations of man? With all due respect, sir, the Gaderene swineherd's responsive movement to the ministry of their new-found spirits tightly parallels the movement of the spirit of whom you speak--which is ringing loudly through your lamentations and criciticisms.

Simon said...

The Queen controls appointments at Westminster Abbey, where one of the residentiary canons is Jane Hedges.

geoffrobinson said...

Jim, maybe the Israelites had confidence in the sovereignty of God when the made the golden calf?

You have to judge these things against the Scriptures. But if you have cut yourself off from an authority which can correct yourself than you just have your own subjective opinion.

Rank heresy is tolerated. Bishop Spong was never excommunicated nor reprimanded. But Fr. T has the problem?

Craig Goodrich said...

There is an interesting story at VirtueOnLine -- -- to the effect that +Katherine was elected by a group of bishops unhappy with ++Griz' self-absorbed policies, +Bruno being the instigator.

While I can't vouch for Virtue's accuracy -- he's been burned by unsubstantiated rumors before -- this would explain a couple of odd coincidences -- one I posted on T19:

Back in 2003, after the Convention but before the Consecration, I attended a publicly-announced meeting of the local Integrity chapter in one of the meeting rooms at Christ Church (Las Vegas; it sort of serves as a cathedral for the diocese). It was a small group — less than a dozen; I was fairly obviously the only straight in attendance.

The meeting was fairly routine sorts of stuff, for one inured to the self-important planning and rhetoric of small but fervent do-gooder groups, but one agenda item in particular sticks in my memory: the chair(wo)man of the chapter, Susan Craw, read a pretty much bland but congratulatory letter about Gene’s election, with all the usual buzzwords (”full inclusion in the life of the Church”, “struggle for justice”, etc.), from Bishop Katherine to the chapter. At the conclusion of the reading, Ms Craw went on for quite a bit of time about what a wonderful letter it was and what a great bishop Katherine was and wouldn’t Katherine even make a wonderful Presiding Bishop?

Now, I simply discounted that at the time as wild gushing and overreaction, since in my involvement with a couple of congregations in the diocese I had developed a somewhat jaundiced view of +Katherine’s talents in the area of leadership and personnel management, but it was quite clear that she was extremely popular with Integrity. (And bear in mind that Las Vegas is only about a four-hour drive from Los Angeles, at typical out-west driving speeds.)
* * *
Another is that not too long after the candidates were announced, I read on at least one blog that some well-known liberal bishop mentioned during a discussion of the most prominent candidates -- Parsley and Alexander -- that one should "keep an eye on Schori", or words to that effect, when +Katherine was by all accounts at that point the darkest of dark horses, due to inexperience and other factors mentioned here.

Curiouser and curiouser. In any case, my impression of her here in Nevada is that she's managerially a complete control freak and a disaster at personnel relations, but I'm sure the Holy Spirit can fix all that up, too...