Thousands line up outside Cathedral poised to observe history in the making

November 4, 2006

They came from near and far to Washington National Cathedral for the November 4 installation service of the 26th Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Thousands of ticket holders braved the cold weather in Washington, DC, four or more hours prior to the 11 a.m. service to observe what many referred to as history in the making.

"This is a very historic event," said Angela Daniel of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina. "Katharine's presence means something to the future generation of women leaders in the church."

Sally Johnson from St. John the Baptist in Minneapolis, Minnesota, said the event was so important that she and others from her parish arrived at 7:40 a.m.

Frieda Garcia, of Trinity Church in Boston, Massachusetts, called the investiture "a special moment" and said that Jefferts Schori should bring "a slightly different perspective" to the church.

Edithe Duracin, of the Diocese of Haiti, expressed excitement about having "a leader who can speak French."

Youthful presence

The significance of the event was not lost on the youth.

Abigail Brdlik, 17, of Summit, New Jersey, said that Jefferts Schori is a graduate of her school, Summit High School, and that "this is a good step forward in the church" because "it shows acceptance of women in higher levels."

Wendy Vurik, of San Diego, California, brought her daughter Joanna, 10, who said "it's exciting, but it feels kind of normal because my mom works for a woman."

Vurik said the event is historic and noted that her daughter's answer is indicative of the times.

"I'm proud that there's a woman stepping up," said Audreana Robinson, 15, an acolyte at St. Timothy's Church in Washington, DC. Her brother Josef, 10, said "there have been so many men, so it's great to have a woman."

Their mother, Jozetta Robinson, said she was excited about the investiture on "two levels. Yes, this is a historical event, but what also makes it special is that my children are involved in the service," she said. "Not everyone is given that honor. I know they will not forget it."

Karen Glasco of Christ Church in Richmond, Virginia, said that her daughter Sidney, 9, attends an all-girls Episcopal school and she felt it was "important for her to be part of this" because it shows her the "possibilities of women in leadership."

Sidney said she felt Jefferts Schori would "do a great job."

"This is a wonderful opportunity for the Episcopal Church," said William Packard, 23, from the Diocese of Virginia. "I'm confident in her leadership ability."

Ed Simon of the Diocese of Nevada said Jefferts Schori, who served as bishop of Nevada since 2001, "will be missed."

"Katharine is the kind of person that in her presence, you feel her energy and commitment to the mission of the church," he said. "She'll be bishop to all people."