And On the Third Day, Put on Your Glad Rags.

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.


  1. Might you post a link to the site hosting the webcast of the insitution??


  2. The link for the live webcast isn't available yet.

    You might want to read the Episcopal News Service Caution about the live webcast.

    An alternative for us in the Diocese of Massachusetts is the live satellite broadcast at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul. Perhaps your diocese is also offering such a live broadcast. Satellite broadcasts are much more reliable and stable.

  3. Mark,

    Nice job ignoring that both you and she apparently don't believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Light, and that no one comes to the Father except through Him.

    THAT was really the point of the Unitarian comment. That the head of a supposedly Christian denomination denies the Christian belief in the route to salvation.

  4. ++Griswold actually does have an acting past (of a sort). He apparently received notice of his election as Bishop of Chicago while rehearsing for the parish production of You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown. He played Snoopy.

  5. Perhaps (Presiding) Bishop Katharine and Priest Mark understand "No one comes to the Father except by me", in the way I do, as not limiting the ways Jesus might choose to bring others to the Father - sheep from other folds, which folds the gospel does not limit by defining them.

    I believe the ways of God in Christ Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit are too vast to be contained by our understanding. They may indeed be wholly contained in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, but if they are, we are way too finite for any one of us, or even any one group of us or ALL the groups of us to catch it all.

    So I am quite comfortable trusting that Jesus may have ways with humankind that are beyond my understanding on this side of life.

    Dear people, that in no way makes me a Unitarian, nor does it in any way diminish the witness of the martyrs or those faithful departed who have gone before, although by the above remarks, I find it very possible that Jesus is working through Unitarianism also. Who am I to limit the ways of Almighty God, even - especially ? - by quoting the Holy Scriptures inspired by the Holy Spirit?

    Priest Lois Keen

  6. Rev. Lois,

    The Holy Scriptures "limit" God? Instead of God's revelation to us, teaching us the way, they are limiting? In other words, the Bible "limits" us. Never mind that we call it "Holy" Scriptures for a reason, and that the Scriptures teach us about God... our judgement is apparently superior to what we call the word of God.

  7. Anonymous,

    Go breathe into a paper bag for a while and calm down, you're going to bust a vessel in your head.

  8. On our way, rejoicing!!!

  9. Here's a list of parishes and groups who are gathering to watch the webcast together. Cucumber sandwiches afterwards, of course.

  10. Anonymous - OMG...what if the Holy Bible were written by a mere falliable human being, who heard God's word but through a glass darkly?

    I'd guess I'd have to just jump off the edge of the world and hand over my Christian membership card.


    If God didn't mean for us to use our reason, what did he give it to us for? I believe he gave it to us so that we coud keep moving closer to him - to give us a tool to try to discern the truth of the words of the bible DESPITE the fact that they were written by a falliable human being with hosts of human failings (including cultural prejudice and limited understanding of the ways of the natural world).

    So...it's not that we are now above God, but, we might have evolved a bit further along then our brothers who originally wrote down the words to begin with, and, through prayer, discernment and worship, we can perhaps move along a little closer to God's true purpose - whatever that may be.

    Rev Lois - Amen and Amen to your words.

  11. ENS left out the viewing party right in the heart of ++KJS Territory: St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Sparks, NV. We'll be having breakfast together starting at 8am and cheering our former bishop on!


  12. (Dave)
    Rev. Lois and the new PB both make a good point about our finite nature being incapable of fully understanding God's infinite nature but I have trouble with the conclusion they reach. On the one hand, we have God's revelation, via His Son, who claimed to be THE way, and who said NO ONE comes to the Father except through Him. Accepting that God is bigger than our understanding, how can we operate on the assumption that because there may be more, we don't have to live our lives and conduct our ministries as if Jesus' words were the only and the definitive words on the subject? Better we get to heaven and are surprised by how much we didn't understand than to get there and find out God meant Jesus was really the only way - for everyone. How sad it would be to learn that we had abandoned others when we had it within our ability to have been witnesses of the revealed truth. How do we choose, instead, to hope that God's nature was not fully revealed in the Son, and that He is really more like what WE want Him to be than the Scriptures teach us. Who is willing to be that arrogant about matters with eternal consequences?


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.