Thursday, November 02, 2006

CSMonitor: In turbulent times, a new Episcopal leader

In turbulent times, a new Episcopal leader | "This week, the US Episcopal Church installs a woman as 'chief pastor' - the first to lead a national church in the five-century history of the global Anglican denomination.

Katharine Jefferts Schori - oceanographer, pilot, professor, mother, priest - will be invested as presiding bishop in a stately ceremony at Washington National Cathedral on Nov. 4.

Although most Episcopalians are eagerly anticipating the upcoming ceremony, it comes as the church grapples with history of another sort - the most troubled moment in Anglicanism. A rift over actions of the US church, especially in regard to homosexuality, has grown into a genuine threat of schism.

And the new leader herself faces predicaments:

• Seven US bishops have requested that the leader of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, provide them with 'alternative oversight' to that of the new pastor.

• Leaders of some 'provinces' in the developing world recently said they cannot sit down with her at a scheduled February meeting of the denomination's 38 'primates' (Latin for 'leader').

Seventeen years after the first woman bishop in the United States was consecrated, female leadership remains controversial in most of the Anglican Communion. Archbishop Williams said after Ms. Jefferts Schori's election in June that it 'will undoubtedly have an impact on the collegial life of the Anglican primates.'"


At 11:53 PM, Blogger mephi said...

I have a number of family members in the Episcopal church so I've been following this somewhat. There was already the issue about ordaining an openly gay man--some bishops in the US started picking off local churches from each other (more conservative local churches would align themselves with a more conservative bishop somewhere else). Some churches were even splitting between more and less conservative factions. If I remember correctly, the US church was actually declared as being in "impaired communion" with the global church or some similar status. At some point it really seems like the tension will be too much for it to handle.



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