Katharine Jefferts Schori

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The Most Reverend
Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop of TEC
JeffertsSchori.JPG
Katharine Jefferts Schori
Province The Episcopal Church
Diocese Non-territorial/non-metropolitical
See Washington, D.C.
Installed 2006
Term ended Incumbent
Predecessor Frank Tracy Griswold
Other posts Bishop of Nevada
Orders
Ordination 1994 as priest
Consecration 2001 as bishop
Personal details
Born (1954-03-26) March 26, 1954 (age 60)
Pensacola, Florida
Spouse Richard Schori
Children 1 (Katharine)

Katharine Jefferts Schori (born March 26, 1954, in Pensacola, Florida) is the 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States. Previously elected as the 9th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada, she is the first woman elected as a primate in the Anglican Communion. Jefferts Schori was elected at the 75th General Convention on June 18, 2006, and invested at Washington National Cathedral on November 4, 2006. She took part in her first General Convention of the Episcopal Church as Presiding Bishop in July 2009.

Early and family life[edit]

Katharine Jefferts Schori in 2009

Of Irish ancestry, Jefferts Schori was born in Pensacola to Keith Jefferts and his wife Elaine Ryan. Jefferts Schori was first raised in the Roman Catholic Church. In 1963, her parents brought her, at the age of eight, into the Episcopal Church (St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, New Providence, New Jersey) with their own move out of Roman Catholicism. Her mother converted to Eastern Orthodoxy a few years later and died in 1998.[1]

Jefferts Schori attended school in New Jersey, then earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Stanford University in 1974, a Master of Science degree in oceanography in 1977, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1983, also in oceanography, from Oregon State University. She is an instrument-rated pilot, and both her parents were pilots.

She married Richard Schori, an Oregon State professor of topology, in 1979. Their daughter Katharine is a captain and pilot in the United States Air Force.[2] She has flown VIPs in VC-21 Learjets and has also flown AWACS command-and-control planes.[3]

Career[edit]

Jefferts Schori earned her Master of Divinity in 1994 from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific[4] and was ordained priest that year. She served as assistant rector at the Church of the Good Samaritan, Corvallis, Oregon, where she had special responsibility for pastoring the Hispanic community (she speaks Spanish fluently) and was in charge of adult education programs.

In 2001, Jefferts Schori was elected and consecrated Bishop of Nevada. The Church Divinity School of the Pacific awarded her a Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa) in 2001. Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois awarded her an honorary degree in 2007, as did The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee the following year. (Most Episcopal seminaries award an honorary doctorate to alumni who become bishops.)

In 2006 Jefferts Schori was elected to serve a nine year term as Presiding Bishop.

Election as Presiding Bishop[edit]

Jefferts Schori greeting attendees at the consecration of the 10th Bishop of the Western Diocese of Oregon

The Episcopal Church met in General Convention in Columbus, Ohio, in June 2006. Jefferts Schori was elected to serve a nine year term as Presiding Bishop by the House of Bishops, on June 18, from among seven nominees on the fifth ballot with 95 of the 188 votes cast. The House of Deputies, consisting of deacons, priests and laity, overwhelmingly approved the House of Bishops' election later that day. Jefferts Schori is the first woman primate in the worldwide Anglican Communion and the 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

During the selection process for Presiding Bishop, some controversy arose[5] in connection with the characterization in her profile in the Nominees information booklet as the "Dean of the Good Samaritan School of Theology" in Corvallis, Oregon, from 1994 to 2000.[6]

Although Jefferts Schori's election was an indication of widespread support in the Episcopal Church in the United States for ordaining women to the historical episcopate, the Diocese of Fort Worth, which opposed women in holy orders, asked the Archbishop of Canterbury for "alternative primatial oversight" (a previously unknown ministry), analogous to the "alternative episcopal oversight" suggested in the Windsor Report. Several other conservative dioceses affiliated with the Anglican Communion Network, including some that do ordain women, have made similar requests.

Jefferts Schori voted to consent to the election of Gene Robinson, an openly gay and partnered man, as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, to which some conservative Episcopalians have objected strenuously. As not all churches in the Anglican Communion uphold the ordination of women, the election of a female bishop as primate has also proved controversial in some other provinces.

At a news conference on June 18, 2006, the Presiding Bishop-elect articulated a willingness to work with conservatives. She expressed her hope to lead the church in the reign of God, rooted in imagery from Isaiah and including such United Nations Millennium Development Goals as eradicating poverty and hunger: "The poor are fed, the Good News is preached, those who are ostracized and in prison are set free, the blind receive sight."

Jefferts Schori remained as Bishop of Nevada until taking up the position of Presiding Bishop officially on November 1, 2006; her investiture was held on November 4 at the Washington National Cathedral. Her official seating was held the following day, also at the National Cathedral. An Episcopal Presiding Bishop's term typically lasts for nine years, running in three-year cycles in conjunction with General Convention.

Jefferts Schori was the 963rd bishop consecrated in the Episcopal Church. She was consecrated by Jerry A. Lamb, Bishop of Northern California; Robert L. Ladehoff, Bishop of Oregon; and Carolyn Tanner Irish, Bishop of Utah.

Tenure as Presiding Bishop[edit]

Jefferts Schori at the Cathedral of All Saints, Albany, New York in 2011

Jefferts Schori's tenure has been highly controversial and marked by nearly unprecedented schism, with four dioceses having broken off to become part of the Anglican Church in North America and a fifth having split over the prosecution of their bishop (Mark Lawrence of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina).[7][8] At her direction the national church has initiated lawsuits against departing dioceses and parishes, with some $22 million spent thus far.[9] She also established a policy that church properties were not to be sold to departing congregations.[10]

Jefferts Schori is a supporter of same-sex relationships and of the blessing of same-sex unions and civil marriages.[11] Like her predecessor, she is a supporter of abortion rights, stating that "We say it is a moral tragedy but that it should not be the government's role to deny its availability."[11] She also supported the HHS mandate on birth control.

Some within the church have questioned the orthodoxy of her theology. For example, her statement that "the great Western heresy – is that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God" in her opening address to the 2009 General Convention was widely criticized and prompted a clarifying statement from her in the following week.[12][13]

Jefferts Schori announced on September 23, 2014 that she would not seek another term as Presiding Bishop.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Carole Beers (7 April 1998). "Obituaries: Elaine Ryan; To Her Life Was Just A Smorgasbord To Be Sampled". Seattle Times Newspaper. 
  2. ^ Presiding Bishop: Biography. Episcopalchurch.org (2001-02-24). Retrieved on 2010-11-25.
  3. ^ Rogers, Diane. (2003-07-02) STANFORD Magazine: January/February 2007 > Features > Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. Stanfordalumni.org. Retrieved on 2010-11-25.
  4. ^ Episcopal Life Archives. Episcopalchurch.org. Retrieved on 2010-11-25.
  5. ^ Ward, Terry (July 28, 2006). "Troubling Questions Raised About PB Elect Katharine Jefferts Schori's Ministry". VirtueOnline. Archived from the original on 2014-10-05. Retrieved March 19, 2011. 
  6. ^ Lee, Peter; Pollard, Diane, eds. (2006). "Profiles of Nominees for the Office of Presiding Bishop" (PDF) (booklet). Columbus OH: Joint Nominating Committee for the Election of the Presiding Bishop. Archived from the original on 2010-08-16. Retrieved 2014-10-05. Parish and Related Ministry Pastoral Counselor, Benton Hospice Service Corvallis, OR 1995–2000 Pastoral Associate & Dean, Good Samaritan School of Theology Corvallis, OR 1994– 2000 Assistant Rector, Good Samaritan Corvallis, OR 2000–2001 Bishop of Nevada 2001 
  7. ^ Goodstein, Laurie (December 4, 2008). "Episcopal Split as Conservatives Form New Group". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  8. ^ "Bishop Mark Lawrence said to have abandoned Episcopal Church". Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  9. ^ "Twenty-First Century Excommunication". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  10. ^ Conger, George (2009-08-07). "Presiding Bishop steps in to prevent church sales". Church of England Newspaper. p. 7. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "Katharine Jefferts Schori, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop, Speaks About Gay Clergy And Birth Control, 27 March 2012". Huffington Post. March 27, 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  12. ^ Kwon, Lillian (August 28, 2009). "Episcopal Head Clarifies 'Heresy' Comments". The Christian Post. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  13. ^ Chemberlin, Peg (July 12, 2009). "Great Western heresy — that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God?". Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  14. ^ Jefferts Schori, Katharine (September 23, 2014). "From Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori". EpiscopalChurch.org. Archived from the original on 2014-10-05. Retrieved 2014-10-05. I recognize that standing for election as Presiding Bishop carries the implicit expectation that one is ready to serve a full term. I do not at present believe I should serve and lead in this ministry for another nine years. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Episcopal Church (USA) titles
Preceded by
Frank Tracy Griswold
26th Presiding Bishop
November 1, 2006–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Stewart Zabriskie
9th Bishop of Nevada
2001 – November 1, 2006
Succeeded by
Dan T. Edwards