There’s been a bit of an ‘edit war’ on the Wikipedia page dedicated to The Most Reverend Dr Katharine Jefferts-Schori the 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States.
Apparently at her behest, a paragraph was removed by an employee of the Episcopal Church Center (sic) which contained false information presented in theofficial documentation for her election as Presiding Bishop.
She had stated on her CV that she had held two significant positions of ecclesial and pastoral authority, which would have gone a very long way to establishing that she had what it would take to be a bishop. One of these was: ‘Pastoral Associate and Dean, Good Samaritan School of Theology, Corvallis, OR.’.
A “school of theology” that doesn’t exist.
It transpires, however, that she was actually simply in charge of her parish’s adult education program (and not a very large parish, at that). The fact the she lists the same institution as three of her major qualifications for office is worthy of a little scrutiny, not least because the Good Samaritan School of Theology is shrouded in a little mystery (to say the least): it is not apparently accredited by any academic institution, and there’s some question over whether it exists at all.
Asked in writing to explain her reference to this seemingly phantom school of theology, Bishop Katharine responded: “The Good Samaritan School of Theology was the then-rector’s term for all adult education programs, both internally and externally focused.”
The then-rector’s term? So it existed only in the mind of the then-rector?
Here’s another “school” that may have been a figment of Mrs. Schori’s imagination.
She further clarified that she ‘spent a year as Dean of the School of Theology and Ministry for the Diocese of Oregon (1990-1991)’
Which was really cool since she wasn’t ordained for another three years.
But according to her CV, she was not ordained until 1994. How can a lay person exercise such spiritual authority in an Anglican theological college? Unless, of course, it wasn’t quite an Anglican theological college.
All this suggests to His Grace that a whole lot more may have been going on here than a little resume-padding.
It is certainly observed that Bishop Katharine’s rise has been meteoric in ecclesial terms: she has never been a rector, and was an assistant rector for just one year. How many diocesan bishops are appointed with such little pastoral experience of practical ministry? How many have ever risen to become Presiding Bishop?
I didn’t make too much of this story at the time because I knew it wouldn’t matter. No one was going to bring charges and nothing would have happened even if they had.
The Episcopalians were so determined that Kate get the Big Miter that minor details like these would not have stopped them or even slowed them down. Indeed, Mrs. Schori’s strange theological career suggests that someone was grooming her for the position well before her appearance on the national stage.
Let’s face it; Katharine Jefferts Schori was an affirmative-action hire. Because a man with her employment history couldn’t have been elected a suffragan bishop, never mind gotten close to the top job.