By G. Jeffrey MacDonald

The mood at General Convention was mixed as bishops boarded four buses Saturday morning en route to elect a new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

“I’m praying God gives us a pastor,” said Charles Lovett Keyser, assisting bishop in the Diocese of Florida, as he prepared for the ride to St. Mark’s Cathedral. “We need a pastor that can inspire with his own faith and preach the gospel.”

A prayer went up for the election as the House of Deputies convened.

“May he who is elected hasten to your call of community and support the mystery of your love,” prayed the Rev. Lester McKenzie, chaplain of the House of Deputies. “May he who is named be the walking sacrament for your church.”

Not everyone was thrilled about the day.

“I’m not excited about three old white men,” said the Rev. Rachel Taber-Hamilton, a deputy from the Diocese of Olympia. She lamented that the slate of nominees did not include a woman, but she hoped for the election of Michael Curry of North Carolina.

“It’s the most safe, boring slate you could possibly come up with,” she said. “I fear it will be business as usual in the Episcopal Church. That means appealing to the Global South, appealing to England, and appealing to Rome.”

The Very Rev. Neal Michell, a deputy from the Diocese of Dallas, said he appreciates that none of the nominees are out of the Episcopal Church mainstream.

“I’m greatly at peace over the election because it is Christ’s church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it,” he said. “There really is a spirit of amity and courtesy at this convention that is very refreshing.”

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