Friday, May 29, 2015

Encounter: Presiding Bishops

I have known, at least briefly, a succession of the Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishops. I met John Hines when he came to visit All Souls' in Berkeley, where his son (Chris) was serving in his early period of ordained ministry. I heard his successor (John Allin) on several occasions, but never actually met him. Next came Ed Browning whom I did meet, but would not claim that it was a close acquaintanceship. I came to know Frank Griswold quite well, when we were serving on the same panel, and I'll always remember the twinkle in his eye and witty comment when I pontificated on some topic. I was also on friendly terms with his successor Katharine Jefferts Schori. I was delighted when she was first nominated to the office, and since her age and date of birth were matters of public record in Episcopal Church publications, I remember pointing out to her that whether or not she were elected, which we thought quite unlikely at the time, she would have a second opportunity nine years later. She explained in warm response, that she was, in fact, aware of this. In those days, only the bishops voted for the PB, and I didn't think she stood a chance, but the two leading candidates canceled each other out, so I remember the cries of joy when her election was announced. This was at the last General Convention for which I was a Deputy from the Diocese of California, ant the last time I spoke personally with her was at the joyful event when her election was announced. She decided not to seek a second term, and at the time of writing, we do not know what she will do when her successor is appointed later this year (2015).

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