By Nancy Jane Moore
[updated at 4 PM EDT]
The Episcopal Church of the United States chose a woman to serve as presiding bishop in an election on June 18. Katharine Jefferts Schori, currently bishop of the Diocese of Nevada, is the first woman to act as presiding bishop, though the Episcopal Church has been ordaining women priests since 1976 and has other women bishops.
You wouldn't expect that putting a woman into a top job would be all that controversial in 2006, but the press coverage I saw focused on whether this would be another step toward schism in the church, both in the U.S. and in the worldwide Anglican communion. Incredibly, Anglican churches in some other countries do not even ordain women as priests.
Here's the Associated Press story on the selection of Jefferts Schori, which is typical of the news coverage given her selection.
Of course, part of the controversy goes back to the selection of Gene Robinson, a gay man, as bishop for the Diocese of New Hampshire several years ago. Bishop Jefferts Schori is a supporter of Bishop Robinson and the Diocese of Nevada blesses same-sex unions.
Having a woman head one of the major groups of the Anglican communion should shame those member churches that don't ordain women. It's time they recognized that women are a full part of all branches of society -- including religion.
I was raised and confirmed in the Episcopal Church, so I take personal pride in its continued progressive leadership.