+Michael Curry got it right in his sermon this morning. He thanked Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori for her leadership and ministry over the last nine years. And he said, “This is a woman of God. She has led us with passion. Hers is different from mine, now. I want a little of her cool. She has been God’s gift.”
I’ve spent the last week-plus observing the House of Bishops at work. Cool is a good word for our current Presiding Bishop. As another observer commented to me after a few sessions, “No one can run a meeting like she does.” Conversation in the House of Bishops flows smoothly and cleanly. She knows the rules and communicates them clearly. She maintains order but also camaraderie. She makes sure correct procedure is followed. Since she does not have the same electronic queuing system used by the House of Deputies she has to keep a list of those who ask to speak. She has an accurate memory but does not mind being corrected. This is like leading a vestry meeting of 200 participants. I was in awe.
And I realize now what a great gift God gave us when she was elected in 2006. No one knew then quite how choppy the waters ahead would become. She led us through the reorganization of several dioceses, through changes and challenges at many of our seminaries, through a financial crisis that affected funds available for ministry at all levels, through years of work that led to same sex marriage, through the rise of the “nones” and an overall decline in religious practice.
And now we’re here. Our church is strong. We’re united. We’ve made room for different points of view. We’re ready to evangelize in word and deed. We are stronger now than we were in 2006.
I love this picture of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori interacting with children on the floor of the Convention worship space prior to Sundays Eucharist. She has preserved and strengthened our church for the future they represent. We will continue to build on this foundation. Thanks be to God.
Photo by Patricia Templeton.