Today, and tomorrow, moments of piqué, moments of puzzlement, but on the third day, get dressed and go to Church for the Investiture of The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori as Twenty-Sixth Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. The Service leaflet is HERE. Barring that, try to see the webcast.
I'm looking forward to being there in the congregation. For the occasion I plan to wear a saffron scarf as a prayer for compassion, compassion she will surely need to receive and give.
Meanwhile, moments of piqué, moments of puzzlement. Thinking Anglicans has posted the text of the letter from Chancellor David Booth Beers to several dioceses concerning their Diocesan Constitutions. The TA article, with its usual good linkages may be found HERE.
TA writes, “It turns out to be a piece of milk toast.” Well, yes and no. Yes, in that all polite letters on difficult subjects do not try to assume the worse. Chancellor Beers can write very polite letters. Thus the inquiry at the beginning, couched in vague references to “several persons” who have passed on information that may or may not be true. But it would appear that candidates for the “several persons” mentioned would include a wide variety of reports of Convention actions and it would appear that Constitutions have indeed been changed.
The more than milk toast portion – fairly high protein in fact – is in the second paragraph:
“if your diocese has indeed adopted such an amendment, then, on behalf of the Presiding Bishop, I want to express the hope that your diocese will promptly begin the process of amending its Constitution to declare clearly an “unqualified accession” as Article V of the Church’s Constitution plainly requires. If your diocese should decline to take that step, the Presiding Bishop will have to consider what sort of action she must take in order to bring your diocese into compliance.”
This too is polite, true to the work at hand and no surprise to anyone, except those who wonder why it took so long.
The remarkable thing is the phrase, “what sort of action she must take…” I am so proud that the Bishops of this Church elected Bishop Katharine Presiding Bishop, glad to have been both a member of the House of Deputies in consenting and delighted to have been on the Nominating Committee that put her name forward with other fine nominees.
Still, to hear words concerning her BEING the Presiding Bishop, “…actions she must take…” still takes my breath away.
So, although in the form of a milk toast letter, perhaps this letter provides greater nourishment as a first quiet affirmation that we have indeed come a long way as a Church and have a long way to go.
Then, under the rubric of puzzling moments, or perhaps moments for a small smile and a laugh, there was the following headline from The Living Church on line: “Bishop Griswold Accepts St. John the Divine Role.” It turns out to be about Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold’s future ministry, but for a brief moment I thought he, like the Archbishop of Canterbury, had a acting past, and now was about to come out as an actor, whose first role, not inappropriately, would be that of St. John the Divine. Alas, not true.
Then for piqué mixed with puzzlement, we have this small comment to an otherwise informative and interesting transcript of a “Here and Now” interview with the Presiding Bishop Elect, posted on TitusOneNine.
It would appear the transcriber for the CaNN News Editor includes the following heading, ““What are you: a Unitarian?!?” October 18th NPR interview with +Schori"
Now the NPR folk did not have that as a title. In fact all that is said is, “Bishop Katherine Jefforts Schori, New female head of American Episcopal Church.” (note the misspelling.) The CaNN News Editor has given the transcript the title “What are you: a Unitarian!?!”
The question is from the transcript. In it there is the following question from Robin Young:
RY: TIME Magazine asked you an interesting question, we thought, “Is belief in Jesus the only way to get to heaven?” And your answer, equally interesting, you said “We who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box.” And I read that and I said “What are you: a Unitarian?!?” [laughs] What are you– that is another concern for people, because, they say Scripture says that Jesus says he was The Light and The Way and the only way to God the Father.
Robin Young, who I love to listen to, is a fine interviewer, but in this case she missed it. Saying, “And I read that and I said (one assumes to herself) “What are you: a Unitarian!?!” misses the mark. I think Bishop Katharine’s remark was not Unitarian, but rather about God’s amazing willingness to reach humankind at various times, places and conditions. And I suppose were I a Unitarian I might take exception to what seems a kind of back handed joke on Unitarians, who have enought to deal with already.
So, thanks for the transcript CaNN. No thanks for the title.
Time to move on...
Some of us have the sense that the Investiture on Saturday is a “very big event.” Others of us believe it is life as usual in the Church, with the orderly transfer of authority from one prelate to another. It will be both.
But, I think a really big deal would be if on Saturday, this Country came to its senses. I can imagine several peaceful ways that might be made manifest.
Better yet, and a bigger deal, what if we got to work trying to fulfill the visions of Isaiah and Micah, may peace be upon them and all the prophets?
And, may peace find a place in the land, in our Church and in our homes, and in Katharine that she may be a servant leader.