What an astounding day.
Quite simply the announcement of our new Presiding Bishop Catherine Jefferts Schori came as a huge surprise yesterday. The gallery and deputies broke discipline and cheered briefly following the announcement then just looked at one another in utter shock. I'm lucky enough to know one of the people who served on the committee to select the initial four candidates. She told me that she had been very impressed by the bishop of Nevada during the process and called her a "uniter". The process moved very quickly at first, the bishops had done three ballots by lunch time then didn't have a decision till between three and four. The confirmation by the Deputies was overwhelming. There were about 220 potential voting deputations (lay and clergy vote separately from each diocese) and 196 voted yes.
It's amazing to have watched history being made twice here at GC. It was interesting trying to call St. Luke's (I utterly forgot it was Sunday and couldn't figure out why no one was in the office. Being at GC is a lot like entering the Twilight Zone) and home. Even with a very strong signal I couldn't make a connection probably due to the massive amount of traffic at that time. EVERYONE was on their cell phones.
As yet we haven't seen anyone walking off the floor in protest but I expect to see that today as we begin working through the Windsor Report resolutions. It's very sad to realize that this will finally bring about the break that we've worried about for the last three years. At the same time there's almost a sense of relief. Of course it's going to be incredibly painful and there will be lots of angry words and court battles. Pray for our church.
Other news - I forgot to mention that Adam (one of the GCOYP) addressed the E3 group (an event that brings some 200 young people to GC to learn more about how our church works). He did a great job despite being pretty nervous. He followed the bishop of Colombia who was a candidate to be the next PB. Adam is also a Formula One racing fan so he and I have something to bond over. He's a major McLaren fan.
Seeing more Anglican nuns than normal (come on how many Episcopal nuns do YOU see on the average day? lol) Interesting note: there seems to be a height restriction since the average nun is about 4 feet 10 inches tall!
Met a "celebrity" yesterday -Brad Drell a conservative Episcopal blogger (Drell's Descants). I almost always disagree with him but he's articulate and intelligent. I see on his blog that he's also leaving the Episcopal church because of the election. My prayers will go with him. He was personable and very nice during our conversation in line to get lunch. He's also a Happener!
Today the legislation kicks into high gear. We did have one small victory yesterday on legislation. A resolution to encourage more young people into leadership roles had set the ages as "18-30" Several young people pointed out that the canonical standard for adulthood is 16. There was some discussion and in the end the amendment was approved as was the overall resolution. Now it has to go back to the House of Bishops. I hope they approve the change quickly. I'm very excited.
The rest of our day was a bit of a mess. The schedule (through no fault of ours or anyone's really) came apart after the election. People just weren't available etc. So we scrambled to cover things like dinner. Remember that dinner is for a group of 30! Makes planning a little complicated. Special thanks to Brown Stone on main here in Columbus. They stayed open late, kept staff on, fed us some fabulous food and all for a very reasonable price. If you're ever in Columbus I recommend it whole heartedly. They were a gift from God.
This has been an amazing event, one I will never forget. But I'm ready to come home. I miss you all.