What a wild, amazing, Spirit-filled, historic day behind us -- may God give us grace for the wild, amazing, Spirit-filled journey ahead of us!
I am still fairly stunned by the rapidly accelerating sequence of events that left us at the end of the day with the historic choice of the first woman primate in the Anglican Communion as the Rt. Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori (Bishop of Nevada) was elected (on the fifth ballot) the 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.
Thrilled on so many levels at her election I am also deeply, powerfully aware of how far this church has traveled in order to allow it to MAKE this courageous and historic (I know -- third time I've used historic ... well it IS!!!) choice possible.
I remember the deep pain, division and anguish of the 1970's when the ordination of women (the last great threat to global Anglicanism and Western Civilization as we know it) was the thing that was going to split the church. I remember the lines for communion stretched out at diocesan convention with folks jockeying to get into position so they wouldn't have to receive communion from (horrors!) a woman priest. I remember my own Aunt Gretchen whose congregation (one of four) tried to "leave the Episcopal Church" over the ordination of women in the Diocese of Los Angeles in 1977. And I carry with me, close to my heart, the stories of sister priests who had to cross police lines to get to their own ordinations because of the bomb threats.
And so the very idea that the bishops of the Episcopal Church could elect a woman to lead them ... and the House of Deputies concur OVERWHELMING to that election with barely a murmur of dissent is so overwhelming I'm almost afraid to go to bed tonight lest I wake up and find out it was all a dream.
I am so proud of this church I could just burst.
Proud that we were ready, willing and able to put everything else aside and select the person the Holy Spirit anointed to lead us with grace, with concord and with great joy.
Proud that through the many dangers, toils and snares we have come over the divisive issue of the ordination of women we have emerged on the other side of those challenges stronger, bolder and more open to God's Holy Spirit.
And convinced that this election is huge message of hope to those who fear these present challenges will be our undoing. We have history on our side -- we have hope on our side -- and most importantly we have the Holy Spirit on our side who leads us into all truth and into all knowing.
And what I know tonight is that this election is tremendously good news for a church in desperate need of same. It is not only a vote for a Presiding Bishop it is a vote for the future -- a vote for a new vision of what the church can be and who the church can become if we can be open to the Spirit of truth that leads us into all truth and refuse to be discouraged by the voices crying, "Not yet" -- "Slow down" -- "Be careful."
I am convinced that if we had listened to those self-same voices in 1976 after the General Convention approved the ordination of women -- if we had succumbed to the doomsayers and the sky-is-falling-ers who threatened split and schism and (I'll have to check but I think I'm right on this) the end of civilization as we know it -- we wouldn't be celebrating the election of the first woman primate at this 75th General Convention.
And I can't think of a better Father's Day gift to the Anglican Communion than its first woman primate.
Bishop Jefferts Schori has been a supportive voice and vote in the House of Bishops, she has been a strong supporter of Integrity Nevada and was a most welcome honored guest at last Friday's Integrity Eucharist here in Columbus. (Three of the seven PB candidates were with us for that amazingly wonderful celebration ... feel free to guess the other two! :) She has every best gift we could ask for in a Presiding Bishop and it is with great joy and anticipation that we look forward to working with her in the months and years to come.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise God all creatures here below
Praise God above ye heavenly host
Creator, Son and Holy Ghost.