Katharine Jefferts Schori took office in 2006 as presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, thus becoming the first woman to reach the level of "primate" in any of the world's Anglican churches. Jefferts Schori earned a Ph.D. in oceanography and was a marine scientist and a professor in the Pacific Northwest before her ordination in 1994. She served as a parish priest in Oregon and as bishop in Nevada before her 2006 election by the Episcopal General Convention made world news. Some conservatives in America and elsewhere were uneasy with her "liberal" views on homosexuality and other matters. But Jefferts Schori expressed hope for dialogue with all, as well as concern over world poverty, AIDS and environmental threats. At the time of her election, the Episcopal Church had some 2.4 million members and 7,600 local congregations. It belongs to the Christian
religion's Anglican branch, which originated with the Church of England in the 16th century.