18 June 2006

General Notes Part 7


How do I describe this historic moment?

I believe Presiding Bishop-elect Katharine Jefferts Schori put it best when s
he quoted Ephesians saying, “Glory to God whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. To God be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus from generation to generation, forever and ever. Amen.”

Perhaps many of us would not have imagined that Bishop Jefferts Schori would become the first female primate of the Anglican Communion.
Perhaps we would not have even dared to ask for it! And yet today God provided Katharine for ministry with our Church. And Katharine would be the first to tell you – whatever glory we might perceive in this moment belongs to God.

I am so delighted to share with you my own personal perspective on the process of her
nomination, election, and the consent to her election. Serving on the nominating committee was an honor but also a commitment. Each of the candidates we presented submitted themselves with integrity and impressed with me with their vulnerability at a time when the world was watching. Each of them have served and will continue to serve the Church with wisdom and energy. When Katharine came forward I knew there would be intense skepticism that she was a token, a nod to our handful of women bishops, a gesture. I reflected as Katharine moved forward in the nominating process that she was no token. As our group completed each step in our work, my confidence in her ability to overcome “token status” grew.

Serving on the legislative committee for the Consecration of Bishops gave me another unique perspective, because when the envelope with the election results arrived, my committee was charged to leave the floor of the House of Deputies, review the results, and recommend our consent or our rejection to the House.

Leaving the floor with “the envelope” was a dramatic experience for me. I heard so little political gossip before the election I had no prediction in mind. I thought the extent of the excitement would be knowing the election results before the rest of the House. Alas! We entered a small room and sat around a table and prayed together and sat in silence. When the chair of our committee opened the envelope, it was incredible to hear her name. We looked around at each other in awe and wonder. I realized again what an honor it was to be involved in this way. I had such a strong feeling that I was present for a momentous event, for a moving of the Spirit in our Church. I feel grateful to think that “I was there.”

At my seminary reception this evening, Katharine arrived to a thunder of applause and song, and the flashes of many cameras, and many open arms. Since she is a graduate of Church Divinity School of the Pacific, our party was quite a celebration! We toasted her and gave thanks. I felt honored to be following in her footsteps at CDSP. I pray that others who feel called to new ministries will be likewise inspired by Katharine’s example.

I am so blessed that being born into the Episcopal Church in the early 1980’s, the ordination of
women was a given. It was never not so for me. My generation is not as impressed by women in collars as those of my mother’s generation. On this day, though, I am deeply impressed by the message that our bishops proclaimed. A woman in our most prestigious position, our Chief Pastor, our Primate! The House of Bishops, almost entirely men, expressed their confidence in Bishop Jefferts Schori and in her abilities as a leading bishop of this Church. This is a new thing; the Church is moving. I heard so many people say today, “I love this Church. I remembered today that I love this Church.”

Today I give thanks for the Episcopal Church and the new thing God is doing among us. I think you will see Katharine’s gifts and vision unfold quickly in the coming months, and I believe we will be blessed by her leadership. Truly, it is an historic moment. The people of Kansas, who have so loved and nurtured my own sense of leadership and loyalty, are heavy in my prayers and in my heart today. I hope you join me in celebration!

10 Comments:

Blogger Debbie of Boise said...

Sarah,

Love that pix of you holding the ballot. Your face, your smile says everything. I am still dumb-struck by the whole thing. To quote a quote a gentleman in my home parish sent, "And I stood for a while, amazed..." Shakespeare, Taming of the Shrew.

How blessed are you to be involved in this!

7:10 AM  
Blogger LynZ said...

She is awesome. I'm still pretty stunned as I didn't think she had a chance! I am thrilled on so many levels: that she's a CDSP alum, a trustee, that I've talked with her, that she's from the West, that it was a surprise, that when I heard her on the nominees' DVD hers was the voice of the Spirit.....God bless her! God bless you, Sarah.

Lyn

7:15 AM  
Blogger Kirstin said...

So proud of my church, and of you!

Who's between Heather and Callie in the pic?

8:28 AM  
Blogger Sophia said...

AMEN AMEN AMEN ALLELUIA!!!!

9:17 AM  
Blogger Charlotte said...

w00t!

That's a great photo, and a great report.

5:16 PM  
Blogger SingingOwl said...

I love the picture too. And I rejoice with you! I pray it reverberates 'round the world and in other denominations as well. Praise be to God!

6:41 PM  
Blogger Mary Beth said...

Awesome!!!

5:33 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

I'm afraid that the General Convention elected Jefferts Schori to sate the left and to divert attention from not being able to go anywhere with the homosexuality and Windsor issues.

In this respect I feel she is a token.

As a liberal, I'm happy that we are going this way. I just wish that we could finish talking about sex and gender and focus on the important issues of the Church. . . witness, mission, love, service, life.

I think that the left is just as guilty as the right of focusing on all the wrong things.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Debbie of Boise said...

Well Sarah, I bet you're not smiling so broadly now. What the hell happened yesterday?! Did the strong arm of the bishops come down on the Deputies? I do want to hear your side of the story of the Great About Face. I could call it something much harsher, but I'm gathering more data before rendering a final opinion.

My prayers are with you and our Church.

7:48 AM  
Blogger Ann said...

What happened? - we were exhausted and went against all our safeguards about making decisions when not at our best. But GC 2006 was a triumph of turning our hearts to doing something about extreme poverty, HIV/AIDS, maternal health, etc - all the Millennium Development Goals. New leadership - and the will to pursue our call as Christians in the world.

8:18 PM  

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