Another mainline denomination swirls around the drain hole of history:
The decision Sunday by the Episcopal Church to select Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as head of the American branch could even overshadow the high-stakes issues remaining on the agenda for the church’s General Convention meeting in Columbus, Ohio — including a proposal to deal with Anglican demands for a moratorium on openly gay bishops.
Disputes over the ordination and cleric status of women cut across all corners of the 77-million member Anglican Communion. They have the potential to sharply escalate the ideological clashes already threatening to rip apart the alliance of churches that goes back nearly 500 years.
Conservative Anglican groups around the world — led by traditionalists in Africa and England — had already prepared for a general snub by the Episcopal leadership, but had hoped for some gestures to try to preserve the communion.
The election of Jefferts Schori, a 52-year-old mother ordained in 1994, was an unexpected slap.
And a deliberate one. The delegates knew what they were doing — sending a big “up yours” to the rest of the Anglican Communion.
The problem is only partly that the election of Jefferts Schori rejects Paul’s directive against placing women in authority over men. That’s a touchy issue, I know, but that aside, the Rt. Rev. Jefferts Schori voted to ordain the openly homosexual V. Gene Robinson as a bishop three years ago, and she supports “blessing ceremonies” for same-sex couples.
That’s in clear opposition to God — unless you believe that the Bible isn’t actually the Word of God, which appears to be the case for the majority at the ECUSA’s convention.