Woman becomes Episcopal presiding bishop

Nov. 4, 2006 at 6:02 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- More than 3,000 people packed Washington National Cathedral for the installation Saturday of the U.S. Episcopal Church's first female presiding bishop.

Katharine Jefferts Schori, the 26th bishop to preside over the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion, was an unusual choice for a number of reasons. An oceanographer who became a priest at the age of 40, she has never served as a parish priest.

But her installation followed centuries-old ritual, Episcopal News Service reported. Jefferts Schori knocked three times on the doors of the cathedral and was presented by leaders from the Diocese of Nevada, where she had been bishop.

"Katharine, Bishop of the Church of God, we have looked forward to your coming with great joy," her predecessor, Frank Griswold, said. "In the name of Christ, we greet you."

Jefferts Schori was a controversial choice in a church where a significant minority of its members have not yet accepted women's ordination. Traditionalists were also angry because she supported the installation of the church's first openly gay bishop.

She was elected at the church's convention in June.

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