Katharine Jefferts Schori was elected Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in June 2006. She serves as chief pastor and primate to the Episcopal Church's members in 17 countries, 109 dioceses and three regional areas. She joins with other principal bishops of the 38-member Provinces of the worldwide Anglican Communion, seeking a common cause for global good and reconciliation.
Over the course of her 9-year term, Bishop Jefferts Schori is responsible for initiating and developing policy for the Episcopal Church and speaks on behalf of the church regarding the policies, strategies, and programs authorized by General Convention. She has been vocal about the Episcopal Church's mission priorities, including the United Nation Millennium Development Goals, issues of domestic poverty, climate change and care for the earth, as well as the ongoing need to contextualize the gospel. The Presiding Bishop is charged to speak God's word to the church and to the world.
Bishop Jefferts Schori's career as an oceanographer preceded her studies for the priesthood, to which she was ordained in 1994. She holds a B.S. in biology from Stanford University, an M.S. and Ph.D. in oceanography from Oregon State University, an M.Div. from Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and several honorary doctoral degrees. She remains an active, instrument-rated pilot – a skill she applied when traveling between the congregations of the Diocese of Nevada, where she was elected bishop in 2000 and ordained to the episcopate February 24, 2001. At the time of her election as bishop of Nevada, she was a priest, university lecturer, and hospice chaplain in Oregon.
Bishop Jefferts Schori grew up in the Seattle area and has spent most of her life in the West. Bishop Jefferts Schori and her husband, Richard Miles Schori, a retired mathematician (topologist), were married in 1979. They have one daughter, who is a captain (pilot) in the U.S. Air Force.