From Sunday Oct. 1 through Friday Oct. 6, 177 women, deacons, priests, and bishops, gathered at Kanuga, a retreat center in Hendersonville, NC, to reflect on the role of ordained women's leadership in the Episcopal Church. The week was filled with panel presentations on various leadership themes, including one with our newly elected Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori who spoke about qualities of leadership:
1. Courage - a quality that can be learned and is a process of spiritual training with the possibility of producing wisdom. A leader needs to have courage.
2. Risk - when you have risked enough and failed enough you learn something about yourself as a leader.
3. Creativity - we are made in the image of God, the creative process can lead to common ground.
4. Playful - a leader needs to be playful
5. Interconnection - a leader recognizes we are all part of a larger whole, all of creation is made by God, God is present in all that is (mystery), creating the Body of Christ.
6. Curiosity - willing to explore and consider possibility; if we've always done it this way, why? A leader will, at times, be dissatisfied with "conventional wisdom."
7. Dream big dreams - imagine and dream big dreams, focus on the "essentials" but consider the big picture.
8. Vision - one needs to go right to the "edge" to gain perspective and get something central to the "vision" (which is also about taking risks).
Katharine Jefferts Schori also said that in a unique way women are 'bodied" beings, incarnational, because of how we feel, how we know pain and feeling in our bodies.
It was very powerful to be in a place with 177 ordained women all worshiping, praying, talking, reflecting, and imagining church. I have been blessed by the time we spent together and am very hopeful for the future of the Episcopal Church.