Dr. Rowan Williams, the spiritual
leader of the Anglican Communion and the Archbishop of Canterbury,
has called the Episcopal Church's election of an openly lesbian
bishop “regrettable,” the Times reported.
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
been approved by the majority of the church's bishops and standing
Glasspool will become the second openly
gay bishop in the Episcopal Church when she is ordained on May 5.
New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson was installed in 2003.
Williams appealed to Episcopalians to
reject Glasspool's nomination in December, saying that the “decision
will have very important implications.”
Robinson's ascension had infuriated
church conservatives and threatened to rip apart 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.
Last July, however, the church reversed
course when it voted in favor of lifting the ban at its general
convention. Within six months the Los Angeles diocese had nominated
“It is regrettable that the appeals
from Anglican Communion bodies for continuing gracious restraint have
not been heeded,” Williams' Lambeth Palace said in a statement.
“Following the Los Angeles election in December the Archbishop made
clear that the outcome of the consent process would have important
implications for the Communion. The Standing Committee of the
Anglican Communion reiterated these concerns in its December
resolution which called for the existing moratoria to be upheld.
Further consultation will now take place about the implications and
consequences of this decision.”
Glasspool acknowledged the controversy
surrounding her selection: “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,” she said in a statement.
Glasspool, 56, and her partner, Becki
Sander, have been together over 22 years.