The Episcopal Church has approved the
election of a second openly gay bishop, a move certain to increase
tensions among liberal and conservative voices inside the church.
On Wednesday, the Episcopal Diocese of
Los Angeles announced that the nomination of Rev. Canon Mary D.
Glasspool to become suffragan (assistant) bishop of the diocese had
received the needed number of consents from bishops. Last week,
Glasspool's final lap came within sight as the diocese announced that
a majority of diocesan standing committees had agreed to her
“I am … aware that not everyone
rejoices in this election and consent, and will work, pray and
continue to extend my own hands and heart to bridge those gaps, and
strengthen the bonds of affection among all people, in the name Jesus
Christ,” Glasspool said in a statement.
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,” in a statement released soon after Glasspool's nomination
Glasspool's ordination is scheduled to
take place on May 5 at the Long Beach Arena.
The 2003 ordination of New Hampshire
Bishop V. Gene Robinson tested the bond between the 77 million-member
Anglican Communion and its more liberal American branch, the
Episcopal Church, and led to a self-imposed moratorium on the
election of gay bishops.
The church reversed course last July
when it voted in favor of lifting the ban at its general convention.
Within six months the Los Angeles diocese had nominated Glasspool.
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.
Other church conservatives have been
“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
Rev. Kendall Harmon of the Diocese of
South Carolina said the church had caused “tragic damage” to
itself in electing Glasspool and the action was “grieving the heart
Glasspool, 56, and her partner, Becki
Sander, have been together over 22 years.
Robinson, 62, who lives in Weare, New
Hampshire with his husband Mark Andrew, will be among the speakers to
address a gay
fundraiser on Saturday in Austin, Texas.