Portion of an interview in The Oregonian
How would you describe the process of becoming nominated for the office of presiding bishop?
It was a struggle. Several people over the years suggested it to me. About three years ago, the bishops had to elect someone to serve on the nominating committee. I thought I would be interested in doing that. And one of the bishops said, "You can't. We can't elect someone who might be eligible as a candidate." I thought that was pretty ridiculous, and I told him so. I had only been a bishop for two years. I was a woman. I was pretty young. I was serving one of the smaller dioceses in the church.
Once the voting began, did you think about withdrawing because of the tension your election might create?
No. If you say yes to being nominated, you are saying yes to the movement of the Spirit.
The response to your election has been described as "wan" on the archbishop's part and almost hostile from other quarters. One pastor said you would not be welcome in his diocese. What do you make of these reactions?
They are quite predictable. There are three dioceses in this country that don't ordain women. No one expects these bishops to respond any differently. I can understand that my presence among the rest of the primates is going to challenge some of them, and that it might make the archbishop of Canterbury's job harder.
Will you be the only woman sitting at that global table of primates?
Yes. But I've spent most of my adult life as a woman in occupations that are primarily male-dominated. It's where I've always functioned.
In your homily at the closing session of the General Convention, you said, "We children can continue to squabble over the inheritance or claim our name and heritage as God's beloved." Did you have your critics in mind?
That wasn't in my consciousness as I wrote it. I was trying to address the challenges of the convention and what people would face when they got home.
And what were those challenges?
We had just finished wrestling with our responses to the Windsor Report. It had been a challenging road. We did the best we could have done at this point in our history. We have to all be willing to stretch, especially with people who are the most challenging.
How far you can stretch?
We're all human beings. We all have our limits. I don't know what mine are.
Is a schism or break in the Anglican Communion the worst thing that could happen during your nine-year tenure?
I think that the worst thing that could happen would be for the church to forget why it's here, to forget our mission. That mission looks different in different places. We can work at healing the world around us, at transforming the communities in which we live -- or we can spend our time arguing.
As presiding bishop, will you need to set aside your personal convictions on gay rights for the greater good of the church?
That is a piece of who I am. I am not going to set that aside. It is a piece of my vocation.