Recently I received an interesting rumor regarding our Presiding Bishop's plan to run for a second term. Bishop Jefferts Schori, having been ordained and employed for twenty years,certainly must find employment in the Episcopal Church for at least ten more years to receive her full pension. Another term as Presiding Bishop would certainly make a full term period very simple with no job search, disruption of her personal life or professional career trajectory. Such an eighteen year, two term,period would put her third in tenure to +Tuttle and +White in the succession of Presiding Bishops.
I note this rumor because its origin was reliable, the idea of such a possibility historically significant and for its implications regarding the culture and politics of the House of Bishops, General Convention and the Church at large interesting. If Bishop Schori can get herself re-elected, she has managed to gain very substantial power over the years, and/or few other bishops may actually desire this "godly call." In any case, if another nine years is gained by Bishop Schori, what might we expect? Reviewing the activities of her first administration, we can predict more law suits, gyrations of organizational reform and the normal administrative and visitation schedule continuing. In other words, while the numbers regarding Episcopalians and their financial commitments are projected to decline with greater rapidity, the Presiding Bishop will enjoy good pension funding, many interesting trips and sipping gimlets on the pent house balcony facing the East River where this redundant building holds up her apartment. . .
However, except for the name change of the actual occupant of the Office of Presiding Bishop occurring via the normal nomination/election processes of General Convention, what difference would it make? The future of the Episcopal Church is not much in the hands of the Presiding Bishop, General Convention or most the denial of most dioceses as demographic studies indicate all too well. Organizational culture inertia of the Episcopal Church and similar Christian denominations are pulling the institutions down. So as one wag reportedly stated on the deck of the Titantic, "Everyone, grab your drink and watch us hit that big iceberg!!"
Where is the hope here? I hope I am wrong. So prove me so, please.