(Thunderous applause. Wild cheering.)

Thank you. Thank you. God bless you. No, please. Enough. Everyone please take a seat, or we’ll be here all day and we still have a great deal of business to conduct, as you well know.

Well, it took thirty-six hours and forty-two ballots, including three contested votes, but . . . we did it! Talk about breaking glass ceilings! A layman, elected Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church!

(More thunderous applause.)

First, I want to thank all those who sent me congratulatory telegrams, particularly President Al Gore, who certainly knows a thing or two about tough, contested elections! Also, the Archbishop of Canterbury, +John Broadhurst, has been very gracious.

Of particular interest to you all should be the kind words of Pope John Paul III, the former Alvin Cardinal Kimel (man! Talk about breaking barriers!). “Coming from a lifetime of service in the Episcopal Church, I can only say that I am eager to carry forward the great strides in ecumenical progress we have made in recent years, symbolized first by my own election, and now yours. Clearly, a fresh round of ARCIC is called for!”

Second, I want to make it clear that, in seeking reconciliation, during my primacy there will be no harsh words or measures against those dismayed at my election. I understand that the Diocese of Newark has already put forward a proposal asking for Alternative Primatial Oversight and has expressed a desire to come under the canonical jursidiction of the Anglican Church of Canada. I can see no reason why such a wish should not be speedily granted, nor any cause to deny any Newark clergy the full terms of their benefits from the Church Pension Fund. Should any other diocese or parish make a similar plea, well of course each request will have to be judged on its merits, but in principle I see no reason to automatically say, “Hell no.”

Third, in pursuing our goals of a renewed church, I hope that my primacy will be marked by a fresh emphasis on theological education, both of our clergy and or laity. To that end, I will be asking for a resolution calling for the immediate resignation of all instructors in our seminaries. Now, before anyone gets either too excited or incensed, let me say that I mean ALL of our seminaries. It would not be fair to single out just a few. Admittedly, we could fill our parishes with fresh, enlightened, orthodox clergy from only Nahsotah and TESM, and I know that would all be our preference, but such a form of discrimination would surely be unfair. Better to start from scratch, I say! To that end, I am appointing a committee, chaired by Bill Witt, to set up a screening process for all the new hires that will be necessary.

Fourth, my new chaplain, the Rev. Kendall Harmon, will be responsible for coordinating suggestions as to where our new headquarters should be. Yes, folks, that’s right. 815 is history. What our new location should be . . . well, my only personal requirement is that it not be too distant from a) the beach, b) a Starbucks, and c) really good food. I understand that a bid has already come in from a small island off the coast of South Carolina that has facilities in place.

Finally, a question that I know has been on all of your minds: what to do with the Episcopal News Service? Let’s admit it: so many changes in such a short time has rendered ENS almost dysfunctional. I therefore propose that we outsource the entire news operation to Canada. Some people up there really seem to know what they’re doing, and its time we ended our parochial, imperial American attitude and learned a thing or two from those ingenious folks at CaNN. After all, in the Age of the Internet, what does it matter where we get our information from, so long as we know it’s reliable?

Well, enough for now. We have work to do! Let’s get to it, and God bless you all!

(Standing ovation. Cheers of “IRNS for ABC!”)

(Sorry. I just couldn’t help myself.)


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