Katharine Jefferts Schori

September 23, 2014

Jefferts Schori Won’t Run For Second Term

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Katharine Jefferts Schori indicated Tuesday morning that she would not seek re-election at the 2015 General Convention in Salt Lake City. The announcement puts to rest speculation that the first female Presiding Bishop could have also been the first to seek re-election.

“I believe I can best serve this Church by opening the door for other bishops to more freely discern their own vocation to this ministry,” Jefferts Schori said in a statement released by the Episcopal Office of Public Affairs. “I also believe that I can offer this Church stronger and clearer leadership in the coming year as we move toward that election and a whole-hearted engagement with necessary structural reforms.  I will continue to engage us in becoming a more fully diverse Church, spreading the gospel among all sorts and conditions of people, and wholeheartedly devoted to God’s vision of a healed and restored Creation.”

Speculation over whether Jefferts Schori would seek a second term was sparked earlier this year in a Missouri Public Radio interview. In the interview, Jefferts Schori pushed back against the implication that she couldn’t seek another term, and indicated that she was still in the process of discernment. In response to a question of whether she was “not saying ‘no’ to the possibility of a second term,” Jefferts Schori responded, “That’s correct.”

There has never been a re-election of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. Under church law, if the Presiding Bishop would turn 72 during their term, they must resign at the General Convention closest to that birthday. With the shorter nine-year term and Jefferts Schori’s relative youth, she would have been the first Presiding Bishop capable of serving two full terms.

Jefferts Schori’s term has been a controversial one, to say the least. The election of a female primate would have been contentious enough, given the debates throughout the Anglican Communion over women’s ordination and consecration. But Jefferts Schori was also famous for her unfettered political and theological liberalism, and has a knack for making controversial comments that inflame more orthodox Christians. Most recently, Jefferts Schori was criticized for a sermon in Curacao, during which she said that St. Paul was wrong to heal a demon-possessed girl, in that he “depriv[ed] her of her spiritual gifts.” But before that was her denial that a belief in Jesus was the sole path to salvation, her references to “mother Jesus,” and her claim that a belief in individual salvation was the “great Western heresy”.

Needless to say, Jefferts Schori also presided over an unprecedented decline in membership and average Sunday attendance. So far in her term, the number of baptized members has fallen 12.08%, partly due to an exodus of traditionalist Anglicans to alternative Anglican jurisdictions.

IRD Anglican Action Director Jeff Walton said that despite their mutual adversity, traditionalist Anglicans and Jefferts Schori  were instrumental to one another’s rise. “The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) would most likely not have found their footing without an exodus of conservative Episcopalians sent packing by the clear, unambiguous contrasts drawn by Jefferts Schori that Jesus Christ is not the only way to salvation and that personal salvation is a heresy.”

“Similarly, Jefferts Schori directly benefited from church traditionalists: she was elected by the slimmest of margins with support from three conservative bishops, including the late John-David Schofield of the Diocese of San Joaquin. Schofield correctly identified that the Episcopal Church had already committed to a liberalizing trajectory, and that an election of Alabama Bishop Henry Parsley as Presiding Bishop would not alter this path. Instead, Schofield foresaw the crisis that a Jefferts Schori election would exacerbate, and the wedge she would drive between the Episcopal Church and the Global South.”

A new presiding bishop will be elected at the Episcopal Church’s 75th General Convention, set to meet in Salt Lake City beginning June 25, 2015.


15 Responses to Jefferts Schori Won’t Run For Second Term

  1. Nick Porter says:

    Here’s the hoping that the General Convention will elect a Christian this time.

    • Noel Weymouth says:

      Ouch! That’s blunt! But I agree!

    • John S. says:

      No one elected will change the direction and focus of the Episcopal Church. There may be slight differences in emphasis and variations in style but the course is set. Remember the people who elected Schori are still there or have been replaced by thier followers.

    • Mike Ward says:

      I’m afraid, I have to agree. Calling DEMON possession a spiritual gift is simply beyond the pale. My mind can’t even take it in.

      • Edward says:

        I am appalled by what I read about this distinguished human being Jefferts Schori. Could she have the guts to wrong the apostle Paul? Really? Could she declare for all to hear that Jesus Christ is not the only Savior? No, surely a religious leader of her stature in the Christian Church could not say that! She did not call demon possession spiritual gifts. How could she! You mean she could say all that and the denomination she leads looks on without raising any protest and life continues as business as usual? Then she has taken her denomination over the bridge, and outside the circle of faith of believers in Jesus Christ. I am appalled, shocked, horrified, scandalized as a follower of the only savior of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ.

  2. Greg says:

    Where does the ECUSA go from here? It can only get more radical, more controversial, more Unitarian, less Christian, less populated, and less relevant (if such a thing were possible). And the shame of it all is that they are willfully hastening and cheering on their demise – all in the name of “justice,” you understand.

    • SallyE says:

      I’m looking at the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church and the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod. It’s going to be hard to leave a church I happily joined over 30 years ago, but I am clearly unwelcome.

  3. brucechap says:

    A she-wolf in sheep’s clothing….

  4. David Naas says:

    In college, back in the late 1960’s, I would attend the local Protestant Episcopal Church, mainly because I was a friend of the priest. (And I am fond of the BCP, no less.) I attended on and off for several years thereafter, but finally stopped going when it became apparent the Episcopal Church had become very exclusionary of all but approved opinions.

    • Namyriah says:

      I can relate. I attended an Episc church in the Chicago area for a long time, it was unique in being truly Christian. Didn’t surprise me to learn recently that its pastor has since left the Episc and now serves with the Anglican church. The BCP really is a treasure, or at least it was before the “relevance” committees started tweaking it.

  5. Worry says:

    Why even belong to such an entity? Jefferts Schori jumped into apostasy long ago.

  6. Paul Frantizek says:

    I’m sure Oprah Winfrey will offer KJS a platform if she wants one. After all, they share the same identity-obsessed, New Age heathen belief systems.

  7. Sejanus says:

    it is a mercy that TEC will not embarrass all further by re-electing so divisive and dismissive-of-the-Gospel leader. Any real Biblically-faithful prospects?

  8. ve6 says:

    He was thirsty and I gave him drink. Now, an Anglican, he was thirsty and we went on a retreat.

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