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ECUSA 26th Presiding Bishop elected by House of Bishops

Posted on: June 19, 2006 1:42 PM
Related Categories: USA

The Episcopal Church, 30 years after it allowed women to become priests and bishops, has elected a woman as its Presiding Bishop.

Katharine Jefferts Schori, Bishop of the Diocese of Nevada, was elected the 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, June 18, on the fifth ballot cast by the House of Bishops. Her election was confirmed by the House of Deputies, as is required by church canons. She is the first woman to hold the top post in the church's nearly 400-year history. Her nine-year term officially begins November 1st 2006; she will be invested and seated November 4th during a liturgy at Washington National Cathedral.

The other nominees were bishops J. Neil Alexander of Atlanta; Edwin F. Gulick Jr., of Kentucky; Henry N. Parsley, Jr. of Alabama; Stacy F. Sauls of Lexington; Charles E. Jenkins III, of Louisiana, and Francisco Duque-Gomez of Colombia.

"I give deep and abiding thanks for the ministry of the current Presiding Bishop," she said after an introduction by Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold. She added that she hoped his "gifts continue to be shared within the church and the world in years to come because he has very much to give us all."

Jefferts Schori was born March 26, 1954, in Pensacola, Florida. She has been married to Richard Miles Schori, a retired theoretical mathematician (topologist), since 1979. They have one child, Katharine Johanna, 24, who is a second lieutenant and pilot in the U.S. Air Force.

She received a B.S. in biology from Stanford University, 1974; an M.S. in Oceanography from Oregon State University, 1977; a Ph.D. from Oregon State University, 1983; an M.Div. from Church Divinity School of the Pacific, 1994; and a D.D. from Church Divinity School of the Pacific, 2001.

Jefferts Schori was consecrated the ninth Bishop of Nevada on February 24, 2001. She serves a diocese of some 6,000 members in 35 congregations. In the House of Deputies she spoke of needing time to "leave Nevada well," and thanked her diocese for the wonderful ministries in which they engaged.

Her service to the wider church includes current membership on the Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion; the Board of Trustees, Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California; the CREDO Advisory Board; the House of Bishops peer coaching program; the General Board of Examining Chaplains; the Board for Church Deployment; the House of Bishops' Pastoral Development, Racism, and Planning Committees; the Court for Review of a Trial of a Bishop; the Episcopal visitor team for the Community of the Holy Spirit; and the Bishops of Small Dioceses group. From 2001-2003 she was a member of the 20/20 Strategy Group and served as secretary of the House of Bishops Ministry Committee at the 2003 General Convention.

The Presiding Bishop serves as spiritual leader to more than 2.4 million Episcopalians, is responsible for leading the church, and must oversee the planning, development, implementation and assessment of its programs.

The Presiding Bishop is elected every nine years to serve as the chief pastor and Primate of the church. Canon law (Title I Canon 1.2.4(a)(1)), charges the Presiding Bishop with responsibility for leadership in initiating and developing church policy and strategy, and for representing church policies, strategies and programs authorized by the General Convention.

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