CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first female presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church and a graduate of Oregon State University, will return to OSU on Thursday, April 19, where she will present a lecture on religion and science.
Her talk, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. in the University Theatre, located in Withycombe Hall at 30th and Campus Way in Corvallis.
A native of Pensacola, Fla., Jefferts Schori earned a master’s degree in oceanography from Oregon State in 1977 and a Ph.D. from OSU in 1983. She began her career as a biological oceanographer before pursuing a master of divinity degree, which she received in 1994 – the same year she was ordained as a priest.
She served as assistant rector at the Church of the Good Samaritan in Corvallis, where she used her fluency in Spanish to work with the growing Hispanic community in the mid-Willamette Valley. In 2001, she was elected and consecrated Bishop of Nevada, with responsibility for 35 congregations and some 6,000 members.
In June, 2006, she was elected 26th presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church during its general convention in Columbus, Ohio. The church’s House of Deputies – consisting of deacons, priests and laity – overwhelmingly approved the election.
Jefferts Schori was invited to present the lecture at Oregon State by Marcus Borg, the Hundere Professor of Religion and Culture at OSU. Borg is a nationally recognized scholar of historical Jesus studies; his wife, the Rev. Marianne Borg, heads the Center for Spiritual Development at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland.
“Katharine is not only the first woman to become the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church,” said Marcus Borg, “but she is the first woman in the world-wide Anglican Church to become the leader of a national church. It is an extraordinary accomplishment.
“She brings to the office remarkable intelligence, advanced education in both science and theology, and a deep personal centeredness,” he added. “Corvallis and OSU can be very proud that one of their own has risen to such a level of prominence.”
Jefferts Schori is married to Richard M. Schori, a retired OSU mathematician. They have an adult daughter, also named Katharine, who is a second lieutenant and pilot in the U.S. Air Force.
Katharine Jeffers Schori also is a pilot and owns a Cessna 172 plane. She enjoys backpacking and climbing, and is the author of five books, including a recently published collection of sermons called “A Wing and a Prayer.”
Her OSU appearance is sponsored by the university’s Hundere Endowment and the Department of Philosophy, with support from the Episcopal Church.