I've been chatting with people, in person and via the Internet, about the visions our new Presiding Bishop-elect will bring to the position and how she might choose to implement them. Most people seem generally positive about Jefferts Schori's qualifications - having an airplane pilot and oceanographer for a bishop delights me - though inevitably the discussion turns to the unity of the greater Anglican Communion.
The Church of England can't seem to decide where it stands on the current arguments. The United States has more than a generation of ordained women within our experience, and if we can ordain women, why not have them as bishops and presiding bishops? Other areas of teh church, the Africans in particular, still oppose the ordination of women and have urged all sorts of penalties for homosexuality, whether among the clergy or otherwise. As I see it (in my own biased way) if a split does happen, the big question will be and is: on which side will the Church of England chose to ally its self?
In discussing this with one person, the conversation moved on to the subject that the African Episcopal clergy are still grappling with trying to eliminate polygamy: the acceptance of homosexuality, however grudging, is unthinkable there due to the social/ cultural/ economic situation. The other person then commented that his concern with Jefferts Schori is that she wants to continue working with AIDS/ HIV issues in Africa. "This is pouring good money down a sieve. I see no point in sending them drugs or working toward curing them with the various therapies available in the West until they change their culture. Why throw away our efforts on people who refuse to change their behaviors? Until the beliefs about the sexual availability of women..."
I almost burst into tears.