Yesterday, Wednesday August 14, come and went. For most people I imagine they woke up in the morning and went about their normal routine oblivious to what was happening in Pittsburgh. Tuesday came and went. For some gathered in Pittsburgh as representatives, as delegates for a nearly 4 million Lutherans (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), to discern what the Holy Spirit is up to today. As they gathered they made decisions about all sorts of thing: they met to talk about how we are going to walk with global ministry partners, talk about our relationship with other denominations, about how to support nontraditional families, and so much more. History was made when it came time to vote for our presiding Bishop.
As we came to the fifth vote and it was apparent that history was going to be made, either we were going to elect Bishop Hanson for his third six year term or a female was going to become presiding bishop for the first time in our church's history. After prayerful discernment of the delegates, with more online viewers than actual assembly attendants watching on, as twitter feeds go wild, and as prayers flooded the heavens Elizabeth Eaton was elected presiding bishop of the ELCA.
I rejoiced and continue to rejoice that the church I serve has not placed a cap on what someone can do based off of gender. I have no, desire at this point in life, to ever be bishop, even a synodical bishop, however, I rejoice that we are not limiting how far the Holy Spirit can be leading someone.
Ever since I was an infant women have been ordained into word and sacrament, I have known nothing else. I have only heard the path that some have paved for those of us who have followed suit, I have heard of the first women who were ordained, I have heard their stories, and I give thanks for them. While I still from time or time will hear a comment about being a female pastor, for the most part I get along without much grief. In all honesty, I get more grief about my age rather than my gender.
Today I pray, I pray for bishop elect Elizabeth Eaton, while we have no idea how her term of service will go I have hope. I have hope for the ways in which God is moving and the ways in which our church is open to change and continually being made new. Thanks be to God for continuing to work in and through all of creation.
While for many this means little, for many this means a lot, history has been made.
Thanks Bishop Hanson for 12 years of faithful service as presiding bishop, for your love of God's people, and your willingness to lead in the midst of hard times in the church. I give God thanks and praise for you (and your family who has shared you with the church).