International guests, including five Primates and several Anglican and ecumenical leaders, journeyed to Washington National Cathedral November 4, bringing an intercontinental flavor to the historic investiture of the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori as the 26th Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church.
Among the regions and countries represented were Australia, Brazil, Canada, Central America, England, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, Scotland, Southern Africa and Tanzania.
More than 30 ecumenical and interfaith guests also participated in the two-hour liturgy.
Representing the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, was Bishop John Saxbee of Lincoln, Church of England. The Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, was also in attendance.
In a message read by Saxbee during the service, Williams sent his prayers and best wishes "to Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on the historic occasion of the inauguration as Presiding Bishop. She will take on this responsibility in the most challenging times, but she will be supported by the good will and prayers of very many in the USA and around the world as she strives to lead faithfully, honestly and collaboratively. I pray that she will daily know the love and mercy of God in Jesus Christ as the foundation of all she does, so that this reality will radiate from her ministry and her witness. With my love and every blessing, Rowan."
The Most Rev. Mauricio J.A. de Andrade, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Brazil, described the investiture as "an emblematic moment" for the Anglican Communion.
Jefferts Schori "is a very open and sensitive person," he said, "and I hope that the Anglican Communion will live this historical moment and adjust its focus to the mission of the church."
Andrade looks forward to an opportunity to welcome Jefferts Schori to Brazil where, in 2005, the Anglican Church celebrated 20 years of the ordination of women. "The Church in Brazil is waiting to welcome her with open arms," he said.
Andrade acknowledged his support for Jefferts Schori's commitment to the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals, and upheld them as "a special priority for the Church right now."
"This is a moment for the Anglican Communion to look for a different focus and I hope that Katharine will help us in this moment," he said. "I hope that the Anglican Communion can walk together in this new moment."
In her investiture sermon, Jefferts Schori reaffirmed the Church's commitment to the Millennium Development Goals, calling for "a world where the hungry are fed, the ill are healed, the young educated, women and men treated equally, and all have access to clean water, adequate sanitation, basic health care, and the promise of development which does not endanger the rest of creation. That vision of abundant life is achievable in our own day, but only with the passionate commitment of each and every one of us. It is God's vision of homecoming for all humanity."
Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, has been a leading voice of reconciliation in the Anglican Communion and has been instrumental in addressing issues of poverty, trade, debt and HIV/AIDS. He was among those who presented Jefferts Schori with oil as a symbol of healing and reconciliation.
The Rt. Rev. Bruce Cameron, retired primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, currently serving at Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg, Virginia, enjoyed the "mixture of the wonderful theater and a great deal of charisma in the traditional framework of the Anglican liturgy."
"The warmth people expressed to the new presiding bishop was great," he said, "and her homily -- talking about an inclusive church where all are welcome -- I hope that message is heard by others."
Cameron, who upheld the historical link between the Scottish Episcopal Church and the U.S.-based Episcopal Church, said: "I think her ministry will be a very positive one for the mission of the church and I hope that we get back to what the church is really all about -- proclaiming a gospel to the world outside, which has many needs and needs to hear her words of shalom a great deal."
Canon James Rosenthal, director of communication for the Anglican Communion said that the liturgy showed the diversity within the Episcopal Church. "It is no longer just the USA, but extends to other countries that are part of the Communion," he said. "All that Bishop Katharine said in her sermon about the ministry of reconciliation and the Millennium Development Goals reflects the thinking of many parts of the Anglican Communion, including the work of International Anglican Women. It epitomizes what the real need is for the years ahead and it calls us to action."
Rosenthal looks forward to welcoming Jefferts Schori to the Primates' Meeting when it next meets in Tanzania in February 2007.
"It is a great day for the church of God and a dream has come true," said Bishop Munawar Rumalshah of Pakistan. "I wish Katharine every blessing as she leads the Episcopal Church as a servant of God."
Rumalshah said her homily message was "absolutely brilliant," noting that people's responses had been overwhelming. "So it is a great day, not just for the Episcopal Church, but for the whole church, for women's ministry and for the hope it brings to many others."
"Reconciliation is the ultimate goal any Christian can wish for," he added. "That was the climax and ultimate mission of Jesus himself. My message to Katharine as she embarks on her term as Presiding Bishop is to keep the doors of the home open to one and all, including the prodigal sons and daughters, because that is what the need of the day is."
Bishop Orlando Guerrero Torres of Venezuela, a diocese in the Spanish-speaking Province IX of the Episcopal Church, said, "We made history for the whole Anglican Communion today."
He said he felt "very excited about the liturgy, the ceremony, the entire installation."
His message for Jefferts Schori is "to have the faith of Abraham, the wisdom of Solomon and the passion of Job."
Speaking about his hopes for the future, Torres said: "It's all coming together for us. Province IX is Spanish-speaking and the new Presiding Bishop will be a very good support and we're very happy we can share more with her."
Bishop Alfredo Morante of the Diocese of Literol Ecuador, also in Province IX, said: "My impression of the service was renewal without losing the tradition of the church. The liturgy felt new. It had new ingredients."
"The church is walking with a new space for women, not only in our church, but throughout the whole society," he added. "We are always waiting for a change for the good, for shalom."
The full text of Jefferts Schori's sermon is available here
One of the ecumenical guests, Bishop Raul Tobias of the Philippine Independent Church, with which the Episcopal Church shares a full-communion relationship, said: "Her sermon and message of ‘shalom' is very important and it is crucial that her new ministry begins on the right footing."
Tobias called her to be patient and be ready: "She is entering into a very complex situation and everyone is backing her to unite the church."
Other global dimensions that resonated throughout the service included the prayers of the people, which were read in Haitian Creole, Mandarin Chinese, and Yoruba (Nigerian), and a South Africa hymn, that was sung in Zulu, English and Spanish. The Book of the Gospels, a symbol of her ministry, was presented in both English and Spanish. Jefferts Schori blessed the assembly at the end of the service in Spanish.
Jefferts Schori, 52, was elected by the House of Bishops June 18 on the fifth ballot and from a slate of seven nominees.
An airplane pilot and former oceanographer, she will be the first woman to hold the top post in an Anglican province in the nearly 500-year history of Anglicanism.
She has served the Diocese of Nevada as its bishop since 2001 and she officially took office as presiding bishop on November 1.
As well as serving as presiding bishop and chief pastor of the Episcopal Church, Jefferts Schori is also one of the 38 Primates in the 77-million-member Anglican Communion. She will also be the first woman eligible to attend the Primates Meeting when it next convenes in February 2007, in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
Among the international guests at the service were:
- The Rt. Rev. Phillip Dunstan Baji, Bishop of Tanga, Anglican Church of Tanzania;
- The Most Rev. Martin de J. Barahona, Primate, Anglican Church of Central America;
- The Rev. John Beer, representing the Bishop of Bathurst, Anglican Church of Australia;
- The Most Rev. Bruce Cameron, Retired Primus, Scottish Episcopal Church;
- The Rt. Rev. Douglas Cameron, Retired Bishop of Argyll and the Isles, Scottish Episcopal Church;
- The Most Rev. Mauricio J.A. de Andrade, Primate, Anglican Church of Brazil;
- The Venerable A. Paul Feheley, principal secretary to the Primate, Anglican Church of Canada;
- The Rev. Kay Goldsworthy, Anglican Church of Australia;
- The Most Rev. Andrew S. Hutchison, Primate, Anglican Church of Canada;
- The Rt. Rev. Michael Ingham, Bishop of New Westminster, Anglican Church of Canada;
- The Rt. Rev. Colin Johnson, Bishop of Toronto, Anglican Church of Canada;
- The Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general, Anglican Communion Office;
- The Most Rev. Njongonkulu W. H. Ndungane, Primate, Anglican Church of Southern Africa;
- The Rt. Rev. Phillip Poole, Suffragan Bishop of Toronto, Anglican Church of Canada;
- The Rt. Rev. Munawar Rumalshah, Bishop of Peshawar, Church of Pakistan;
- The Most Rev. Carlos Touche-Porter, Primate, Anglican Church of Mexico;
- The Rt. Rev. Peter Jintaro Ueda, Bishop of Tokyo, Anglican Church in Japan;
- The Rt. Rev. Garry Weatherill, Bishop of Willochra, Anglican Church of Australia;
- The Rt. Rev. John Saxbee, Bishop of Lincoln, Church of England, representing the Archbishop of Canterbury.