I have yet to read a story in the mainstream media that captures even a hint of the excitement that Bishop Jefferts Schori's election has engendered here in Columbus. People still can't believe that the bishops were brave enough to do it, and we are delighted with her initial encounters with the media. Amidst the forecasts of doom and gloom, I just want to offer a reminder that women with young children make most of the decisions in this country about who is going to go to church where. I think these women are going to respond very positively to what we've done, especially when they have a chance to see and hear Bishop Jefferts Schori. She is a powerful messenger. Looking at it from my own rather narrow viewpoint--My primary professional concern is making the Church look good so that we can grow--I think we chose the person most likely to help us do that.
As an example of the general lunkheadedness of the coverage so far, have a look at this piece in the Detroit Free Press.
The lead: COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The global Anglican Communion was in an uproar Monday over Sunday's decision by its U.S. branch, Episcopal Church USA, to name a woman as its next presiding bishop.
Only problem is, not one Anglican leaders worldwide is quoted in the story. Possibly because only Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury has issued a statement and it courteous, if rather over modulated. The story fails to support its primary assertion.
The first prize for hyperventilation, however, goes to the Times of London. Here is the lead it took two writers to devise:
"The Anglican Church descended into “ecclesiastical anarchy” last night as American traditionalists refused to accept the authority of a woman and asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to lead them instead."
For those of you not following the convention closely, what actually happened, was that one diocese, Fort Worth, which has already petitioned the Communion's panel of reference for alternative oversight, has renewed its request, this time with an appeal to Dr. Williams.
It is a curious requests because in the Episcopal Church, the Presiding Bishop does not exercise authority over dioceses. So Fort Worth is asking to get out form under that which is not on top of it. I am filing a request this morning to be free of the tyranny of the British king! It is as sensible a maneuver as what Forth Worth pulled yesterday, but I don't think it will make the papers.
Be not afraid folks. No matter how hard they try to scare you.