Friday, June 3, 2011

Sandra Day O’Connor – Another Reason to Be Rather Fond of the Episcopal Church (Sept 2009)

With all the attention this summer on the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court let’s turn the spotlight on the woman who paved the way - Sandra Day O’Connor. 

O’Connor was raised on the family ranch in Arizona.  She attended Stanford University for undergraduate and law school.  Her gender prevented her from working in law upon graduation so she turned to public service in California then in the Arizona state legislature.  In 1975 she was elected judge in Maricopa County.  She would be appointed to the Supreme Court six years later by Ronald Reagan becoming the first woman ever to serve on the high court.

A cradle Episcopalian, O’Connor was married at All Saint’s Episcopal Church in El Paso, Texas.  Today she is an active member of the Cathedral Chapter of the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.  Last month she received the presidential Medal of Freedom alongside another famous Anglican, Desmond Tutu.

O’Connor’s accomplishments are a legacy to her keen mind, hard work and tenacity.  And they remind us of the gifts God has given you and me.  And just like us Justice O’Connor has found something worthwhile in the Episcopal Church.  Perhaps it’s a tradition of intellectual rigor in approaching ethical issues, perhaps it’s the beauty of the liturgy that acknowledges God as the supreme judge of all, or maybe it’s a place to feel comfortable presenting our gifts as we look for discernment.

Chances are none of us will ever serve on the Supreme Court, but we are called to use our gifts to their highest and best.  In what ways has our church helped us discern?  Has the Episcopal Church helped clarify a difficult issue in your life?  Feel free to stop by the message board and post a comment.

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