The confirmation of an openly lesbian
candidate to bishop is just five votes shy of completion, the
Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles reported Thursday.
The Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool was
elected to become suffragan (assistant) bishop of the Diocese in
December, just six months after the church did away with its
self-imposed moratorium on the election of gay bishops. Church rules
require that a majority of the church's representatives, which
include bishops, clergy and lay persons, consent to her ascension.
The Diocese reported that Glasspool's
confirmation lacks only five more votes (51 out of 56).
Glasspool's ordination is scheduled to
take place on May 5 at the Long Beach Arena, provided a majority of
the church agrees.
The ordination of a second openly gay
bishop is certain to once again test the bond between the Anglican
Communion and its more liberal American branch, the Episcopal Church.
Soon after Glasspool's election, Dr.
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the church's
spiritual leader, warned of a schism, saying her ascension “raises
very serious questions not just for the Episcopal Church and its
place in the Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as a whole.”
Earlier in February, Williams
elaborated on a two-track proposal that would give some churches full
membership in the Anglican Communion, while others, presumably more
liberal ones, would remain on the outside. A schism in all but name.
“It may be that the covenant creates
a situation in which there are different levels of relationship
between those claiming the name of Anglican,” Williams said in an
address to the Church of England's governing body. “I don't at all
want or relish this, but suspect that, without a major change of
heart all round, it may be an unavoidable aspect of limiting the
damage we are already doing to ourselves.”
The issue of openly gay bishops in the
Episcopal Church first arose in 2003 with the ordination of New
Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson. The selection led to the
self-imposed moratorium on the election of gay bishops that was
lifted last July.