The Episcopal Church is on the verge of
confirming the election of a second openly gay bishop, a move certain
to provoke a strong reaction from conservatives in the church.
The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles
announced Wednesday that the nomination of Rev. Canon Mary D.
Glasspool to become suffragan (assistant) bishop of the diocese has
received the needed number of consents from diocesan standing
committees. Glasspool's election, however, won't be complete until a
majority of presiding bishops agree.
“I am not unaware of the many
complicated dynamics that have been a part of this election and I
want to acknowledge them,” Glasspool said in addressing the
diocese. “Any group of people who has been oppressed because of
any one isolated aspect of their persons yearns for justice and for
equal rights. My own heart has been stressed deeply today.”
In a statement released soon after
Glasspool's nomination, Los Angeles Bishop Rev. J. Jon Bruno said the
church “must move forward and respect the dignity of all human
beings which is called for in our Baptismal Covenant and canons.”
Glasspool's ordination is scheduled to
take place on May 5 at the Long Beach Arena, provided a majority of
The ascension of a second openly gay
bishop is certain to once again test the bond between the 77
million-member Anglican Communion and its more liberal American
branch, the Episcopal Church.
The 2003 ordination of New Hampshire
Bishop V. Gene Robinson sparked a firestorm of protest within the
church and led to a self-imposed moratorium on the election of gay
But last July the church reversed
course, voting in favor of lifting the ban at its general convention,
and within six months the Los Angeles diocese had nominated
Dr. Rowan Williams, the spiritual
leader of the Anglican Communion, appealed to Episcopalians to reject
Glasspool, saying that the “decision will have very important
“The bishops of the Communion have
collectively acknowledged that a period of gracious restraint in
respect of actions which are contrary to the mind of the Communion is
necessary if our bonds of mutual affection are to hold,” he added.
Anglican leaders in Australia also
criticized Glasspool's nomination.
“I understand that homosexual people
are real people who need loving commitment to Christ and helping to
live faithful lives,” Rev. Robert Forsythe, bishop of the South
Sydney diocese, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in
December. “But to endorse this as a leader of the church sends in
my view entirely the wrong message and is inconsistent with
discipleship to Christ.”
Forsythe, a vocal opponent of gay
clergy, predicted Glasspool's election would permanently split the