A Statement from Bishop Jack Iker
on the Election of the New Presiding Bishop
In a rather surprising election today, the House of Bishops chose Katharine Jefferts Schori to become the next Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. When first nominated, she was widely regarded as a “dark horse candidate” and as “the token woman” on the slate. I for one never expected that she could be elected.
Her election signals a continuation of the policies of the outgoing Presiding Bishop, namely support for the ordination of practicing homosexuals and the blessing of same-sex unions, practices which have divided the Episcopal Church, impaired our relationship with a majority of other Provinces, and brought the Anglican Communion to the breaking point. The fact that her ordination as a bishop is not recognized or accepted by a large portion of the Communion introduces an additional element of division and impairment. When she becomes the first female primate of the Anglican Communion, it remains to be seen as to how she will be regarded by the other 37 primates, the vast majority of whom come from Provinces where women cannot be elected as bishops.
In one sense, we should not be surprised, at all, for this is The Episcopal Church, which takes pride in being first with every new innovation: women priests and bishops, the blessing of same-sex unions, the election of the first gay bishop in 2003, and now the selection of the first female primate in 2006. One wonders what might be next.