Sunday, June 18, 2006

Dear Friends,

Sorry Folks - I got to my room about ten-thirty last night and discovered that I had no connection. Then I was gone all today (more in a moment!), and tried to get on the Internet again. No luck. They sent me a computer person who has spent over an hour trying to fix the problem - He thinks the weekend housekeeping people mixed-up the connections. Anyway, we finally gave up and now I'm downstairs in their computer "lab". They have two desktop computers - one is occupied - and I guess that there isn't a time limit, so here I go!

Yes, we elected a woman as Presiding Bishop today! As Ian Douglas said, "This will really change the Primates meeting next February." After the Eucharist this morning, the bishops all caught buses to Trinity Church where they went into seclusion. Instead of white smoke, though, they send two bishops to the House of Deputies with the results in an envelope. We knew when we broke for lunch that the bishops had done three ballots, and had also gone to lunch. So after lunch, we worked for awhile - passing the Consent Calendar items, a few resolutions, and then the two bishops arrived. The envelope was given to the committee that oversees the election of bishops, and they disappeared for about thirty minutes. Then they returned, and the chair gave their report. Just before the name was announced, Skip Winsor (who sits beside me) asked me who I really wanted. I pointed to Kathryn's picture, and said, "But I don't think she won." Then the name was announced! We all gasped; we were so surprised. President Werner had to quiet us down, and then we had to concur with the Bishops' election. It took five ballots - as you will hear/learn via other means. It was a very emotional, exciting time for me - still is. This event has overshadowed everything else I was going to tell you - almost.

So after we voted to concur, the two bishops were sent back to Trinity (The others had been kept in the church. Again, Byron Rushing had the comment about that, "Can't think of a better place for bishops to be hanging-out!") Maybe another fifteen minutes went by, and then Kathryn arrived. They had let the New York Times Reporter and one other on the floor for the arrival.