When the Episcopal Church welcomes Katharine Jefferts Schori as its 26th Presiding Bishop, only one of every four people who applied for general admission tickets will be seated in the nave of the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Washington, D.C., to witness the event.
General admission seating for the historic investiture, to be celebrated in the context of a Eucharist beginning at 11 a.m. on November 4, was distributed by a lottery system due to space constraints. The cathedral has a seating capacity of 3200.
The Office of the Presiding Bishop, in consultation with the Cathedral, "worked very hard to ensure that the distribution would be equitable" churchwide, said the Rev. Carlson Gerdau, canon to the Presiding Bishop.
No more than two names could be submitted per request, and all requests had to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope and be mailed and postmarked no earlier than August 15. On that day alone, 3,500 requests were received. The date was chosen because it gave all provinces of the church an equal "starting point," Gerdau said.
The thousands of requests received were sorted by location and then allocated in equal proportion across the church's nine geographic provinces. No requests for groups were honored, and no email or fax requests were accepted.
The Cathedral also issued passes for the All Saints service on Sunday morning following the investiture, which will include Jefferts Schori's official seating in the church's chancel.
For those not able to attend the investiture, the Episcopal Church's Office of Communication, in collaboration with Washington National Cathedral, will carry live web streaming of the service, beginning at 11 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) and continuing through the liturgy's conclusion, expected around 1:15 p.m. EST.
The Rev. Jan Nunley, a former broadcast news reporter who is currently deputy for communication at the Episcopal Church Center, and the Rev. David Crabtree, a deacon and television news anchor at WRAL-TV in Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina, will anchor the web coverage of the event.
The webcast, available in Windows Media and Real Player video formats in both high and low bandwidth options, as well as an audio-only version, will have a direct link on the Episcopal Church homepage http://www.episcopalchurch.org/ that will go live shortly before the service begins.