In an surprise move, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA, Katherine Jefferts Schori, will announce her resignation today. In a letter to the House of Bishops Jefferts Schori outlines the rationale behind her decision.
"After much reflection and discernment, the Holy Spirit has decided to once again redirect me into areas that would never have seemed possible to the unenlightened mind. I hereby announce my formal resignation to be effective April 15, 2009."
In an exclusive interview with this reporter, Jefferts Schori stated,
"It was during the preparation of my upcoming Easter message on 'Jonah, Darwin, and the Incredible Mr. Limpet' that I was overwhelmed by this incredible feeling of longing to return to the sea. Just like in my earlier career as an oceanographer that I first felt the call to walk on dry land, it is now in my role as Presiding Bishop of the most important Protestant denomination in America that I am blessed to receive this new call. I am naming it the 'call of the deep.'"
Balancing a beach ball on her nose she continued,
"One of the great joys I have experienced as Presiding Bishop has been the wonderful sense of progress in unity towards the Church Universal Triumphantly Trumpeting Her Royal Ornaments And Tridents."
After reminding her that critics of her goal had labelled it by its acronym C.U.T.T.H.R.O.A.T. , she tossed her head back adroitly propelling the beach ball into a basket and said,
"In every healthy body there must exist the many parts. It is through the love of Christ that we are held together, so that when the hand tells the fin to cut off the tail, the head intervenes and says, 'No you don't, you evil hand, you may be part of this body, but I can cut you off and replace you with a fin.' In this way I myself have been evolving like the Church itself into a new creation. My evolution is nearly complete and the time for my return to the sea draws near."
I asked if there was any unfinished business that she would like to complete before her departure, and why did she choose April 15, 2009.
"I have been asked to perform one more official act as a minister of the cloth before I shed those human vestments. As you are aware, the Bishop V. Gene Robinson has announced his resignation. This was a surprise to all of us, but he says he was called by the Spirit to abide by 1 Timothy 3:2 and I reluctantly accepted his version of the truth. The bigger surprise was his engagement to marry the Rev. Susan Russell, and they then informed me that they wished for me to be the officiant of their marriage. I told them that I was honored, and I have chosen to preach from Psalm 69,
'Save me, O God,
for the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.'
I will be sure to include verse 34," she added.
"Let heaven and earth praise him,
the seas and everything that moves in them."
"But why the date?" I inquired.
"The couple chose the night of April 14, which I am sure will be a night to remember, for historical reasons which escape me right now, but I believe you can find suitable references on the Internet.
I shall be doffing my robes and slipping under the waves myself shortly thereafter."
Thanking her by tossing her a smelt, I flew to the nearest cyber cafe to be the first to post this exclusive story.