Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Where was her mitre?

Today I bring you a brief commentary from the U.K. Guardian about Presiding Bishop Katharine Jeffert Schori's appearance Sunday at Southwark Cathedral in London (you can read her sermon below). We now come to find out that she was asked to not to wear her mitre, and asked by none other than Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. The Guardian termed the archbishop's request "petty," especially since her sermon was about God's love for all. Katharine complied with the request, but carried her mitre. Here's the commentary...


One step forwards, two steps backwards. The wonderful world of the Church of England

• If the US Episcopal Church – still part of the worldwide Anglican communion despite having the temerity to elect gay bishops – feels nervous about the warmth of its welcome from the mothership that is the Church of England, perhaps there are reasons. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the US church and the first woman ever to lead an Anglican province, preached at Southwark Cathedral last weekend despite muted hisses of disapproval by conservative evangelicals. But close observers would have seen there was something missing: no mitre on her head. Who could be responsible? Step forward, Rowan Williams, Archbish of Canterbury, birthday boy (60 yesterday), who couldn't stop her preaching but said she could not wear the symbol of her office, or carry a bishop's crosier. Something to do with women bishops not yet being allowed in the C of E. A bit petty, some say, as Jefferts Schori is indeed a bishop and head of her national church – but in any event, she carried the mitre. And the subject for her sermon: God welcomes everyone, regardless of dress or condition.

• And, with women clergy in the C of E looking forward to next month's vote in the general synod in York – which is expected finally to agree that women can become bishops here – word comes of a last-minute attempt to scupper the plans. And who is responsible for that? Step forward again, Williams, who with fellow archbishop John Sentamu is framing an amendment to put off yet again making any decision. Synod headed off their attempts to delay progress last year, but the archbishops are trying it on again. The world moves on but somehow time stands still. Welcome to the C of E.

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