Katherine Jefferts Schori to Lead U.S. Episcopalians
American Episcopalians have chosen a woman, Katherine Jefferts Schori, as their leader despite the fact that the ordaination of women is prohibited by the Anglican Communion to what the church ostensibly belongs.
Episcopal Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori has tackled male-dominated fields before as an oceanographer and a pilot. Now, she is taking on an even broader challenge as the first woman in the world to lead an Anglican province. Jefferts Schori, bishop of Nevada, was elected Sunday as the first female presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, the U.S. arm of the Anglican Communion. It is the latest groundbreaking and potentially divisive move by the American denomination.
Three years ago, Episcopalians stunned the communion by consecrating the first openly gay bishop — V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. The Episcopal General Convention, the national meeting where Jefferts Schori was elected, will decide this week whether to appease angry overseas archbishops by temporarily barring homosexuals from leading dioceses. As presiding bishop, Jefferts Schori will have to explain the church’s decision to elevate Robinson, which she supported, to the Anglican leaders who don’t even consider her ordination valid. Many Anglicans believe women should not be ordained.
Only two of the 37 other Anglican provinces — New Zealand and Canada — have female bishops, although some allow women to serve in the post.
In related news, American Presbyterians are looking for gender inclusive language to describe Jesus and his associates.
Delegates of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are to tackle whether to adopt gender-inclusive language for worship of the divine Trinity along with the traditional “Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” A study panel said the classical language for the Trinity shouldn’t be diminished, but advocated “fresh ways to speak of the mystery of the triune God” to “expand the church’s vocabulary of praise and wonder.” One reason is that language limited to the Father and Son “has been used to support the idea that God is male and that men are superior to women,” the panel said.
Conservatives object that the church should stick close to the way God is named in the Bible.
Among the feminist-inspired, gender-inclusive options:
• “Mother, Child and Womb”
• “Lover, Beloved, Love”
• “Creator, Savior, Sanctifier”
• “Rock, Redeemer, Friend”
• “King of Glory, Prince of Peace, Spirit of Love.”
Two professors at the Presbyterians’ Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Andrew Purves and Charles Partee, said there is potential danger that “we not only lose the ground for our language for God, we in fact lose the Trinity. We lose God.” “We do not need a diluted, metaphorical Trinity; rather, we need our confidence in the Christian doctrine of God to be restored,” they said.
Rather amusing. “Mother, Child and Womb” isn’t gender inclusive; it merely reverses the gender. Conversely, “King of Glory, Prince of Peace, Spirit of Love” is no less male than “Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”