Lay and ordained leaders from both home and abroad almost without exception welcomed warmly the election of Katherine Jefferts Schori as presiding bishop. Some of the most powerful comments came from women.
The Rev. Canon Nan Peete, of Washington, D.C., was the first ordained woman ever to address a Lambeth Conference when she spoke to the Anglican Communion’s bishops in 1988.
“Now there is a woman presiding bishop,” she said. “It’s just awesome. It really is a great day for the church and for the world. “This is not just a prophetic voice, but a vision of hope for all people.”
“As a woman, I am so happy,” said Sierra Wilkinson, 19, a deputy from Georgia who served on the nominating committee for the presiding bishop. “This shows the world that women have the gifts, the capabilities to lead the church. And her gifts transcend her gender.”
A special moment came on the floor of the House of Deputies when Blanca Echeverry, wife of nominee Bishop Francisco Duque-Gomez of Colombia, stood to support Jefferts Schori, saying through an interpreter that she was someone who understands the church in Latin America.
Other comments recorded by reporters:
“Surprised? Absolutely. I was stunned. Delighted. I just felt this shiver come over my whole body when I heard.”
- - The Rev. Canon Elizabeth Kaeton, deputy (Newark)
“I think it’s fantastic. I’m all for her. It’s incredible. We’ve already been pioneers in some things. It’s just good we can do it again, moving forward!”
- - Ian Hallas, 16, alternate deputy (Chicago)
“I had a dream last night that Katharine was elected … when I woke up this morning I thought … ‘Oh, darn, it was just a dream.’ And then today I am sitting in here waiting on it and thinking, ‘It can’t just be a dream; it’s gotta be real.’ And it is. It really is! I am speechless with joy and hope.”
- - Katie Sherrod, longtime Episcopal Women’s Caucus board member, editor of EWC’s newsletter Ruac, visitor (Fort Worth)
“I can’t think of a better Father’s Day gift to the Anglican Communion from the Episcopal church than its first woman primate. ... I look forward to working with the new presiding bishop and in working toward the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the body of Christ.”
- - The Rev. Susan Russell, president of Integrity (California)
“It was a fabulous day for the Anglican Communion. This church is once again leading the way in inclusivity and showing the communion the way forward in welcoming diversity.”
- - Bishop Michael Ingham, visitor (Vancouver, Canada)
“The whole hall [of deputies] lit up when they heard. This is one way that the church can know for sure that this is the Holy Spirit working.”
- - Richard Hogue, 18, deputy (Eau Claire)
“I am experiencing the same joy that I did at the announcement of the election of Barbara Harris as the first woman bishop. It proves that the Holy Spirit does work and that, as senior member of the Executive Council, I eagerly await working with our new primate."
- - The Rev. Canon Ed Rodman (Massachusetts)
“I’m thrilled. I’m thrilled … surprised, amazed, and I pray for the church that the rest of the church will feel in a similar way.”
- - The Rev. Nancy Roth, author (Ohio)
“In the Anglican Communion it will be a big challenge, but women have the capacity to lead the church today,”
Martin Barahona of El Salvador, primate of the Church of the Province of Central America
“I didn’t know which way to ask the Holy Spirit to go. …[I} began to realize that Nevada has to share Katharine.”
- - The Rev. Katherine “Kay” Rohde, deputy (Nevada)
“We need to go back to the Anglican spirit of respectful diversity as a source of enrichment and not division.”
- - Carlos Touché-Porter, primate of Mexico
“Katharine will bring to the office of presiding bishop vision, a sense of inclusivity and an openness to the wider church. I am so honored to be able to let people know that we have elected a new presiding bishop with that type of vision and enthusiasm.”
- - Silvestre Enrique Romero, clerical deputy (El Camino Real)
“There was a rumor that it was Katharine Jefferts Schori … and [the Rev.] Gay Jennings came and said to me ‘We want a woman at every microphone, and you need to be one of them.’ So I was up there and standing and waiting … “
- - Marge Christie, deputy, Episcopal Women’s Caucus founder, who was at the 1976 General Convention that approved female priests (Newark)