The chair of the house asked us not to react to the announcement, but to receive the news respectfully and prayerfully; sensitive to those who might take the news badly.
In spite of that request an audible collective gasp, hoops of delight, and even several cheers belied the absolute delight with which the church at large received the news. The chair reminded us to restrain ourselves and again a polite Anglican composure returned to the house.
The cell circuits however were immediately all taken as the news spread like wildfire. News reporters flew out of the house to report the flash around the world.
And thus it was that the church made history. God had done a new thing. As the Bishop of Liberia reported; "God is a God of surprises!".
Typical of the American church, we threw caution to the wind. A small minority of conservatives had planned to walk out of convention as a protest to our "progressive and revisionist" doctrines. Perhaps we beat them to the punch!
The rest of us, remembering Christ's reaching out at the margins to the outcasts, the halt, the maimed, the blind and the poor...yes and to the woman at the well...and the women who were the only ones to stay even to the end with him...yes Jesus was the one who reached out his arms in ever widening circles of inclusion.
It was thus that the Church gasped. Imagine, in spite of all the dire predictions of the church's self-destruction, instead we found ourselves saying yes to the Bishop from Nevada. She who taught theology at Corvalis, she who allowed her clergy to bless same sex relationships along with boats, and pets...she let her clergy bless persons who love one another. She who was a pilot and diligently visited her congregations like a missionary bush pilot would in any desert outpost. She who had most impressed the House of Bishops in her earlier presentations along with the other candidates with her wit and wisdom and intelligence. A common comment from many mainstream bishops was "If only she weren't a woman, she'd be the next Presiding Bishop"...
Apparently the Holy Spirit must have heard that. It appears that even the Bishops heard that somewhere at the center of their hearts, because lo and behold they elected her!!!
Later there was a party of well wishers and supporters. And to everyone's delight, as she entered the hall, it was then said in one voice of utter delight: "Its a girl!"
Fr. Paul Bresnahan