Writing in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Op-Ed page, Patricia Templeton gives thanks for the ways that the Episcopal Church celebrates diversity:
Thank heaven for church that celebrates diversity
By Patricia Templeton writing in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
When my family began going to the Episcopal Church when I was about 10, women and girls were still expected to cover their heads in church with little lace caps that looked like doilies. (I’m sure there is some arcane ecclesiastical word for those things.) I don’t remember when the doilies disappeared, but by the time I was a teenager they were gone, and females went bare-headed in God’s house. Somehow the church survived.
Now, four decades later, women’s headgear is making ecclesiastical headlines again. Or to be more precise, one woman’s headgear in church — or lack thereof — is making news on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
The brou-ha-hat, which has been dubbed “mitregate,” involves Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Archbishop Rowan Williams, head of the Church of England, who have already been involved this year in one theological smackdown (as writer Diana Butler Bass aptly called it).
A mitre is the pointy hat that bishops wear. It is not the most flattering of headgear. But flattering or not, the pointy hat is a symbol of a bishop’s office and authority; they are expected to wear them.
Mitregate began with an invitation to our presiding bishop from the dean of Southwark Cathedral in London to preach and preside at the Eucharist there last month. She accepted.
Then she received a letter from Lambeth Palace, the London home and office of the Archbishop of Canterbury, instructing her not to wear her mitre at the London cathedral.