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BY RALINDA B. GREGOR, EXECUTIVE EDITOR
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefforts Schori will consecrate a partnered lesbian as one of two suffragan bishops for the Diocese of Los Angeles on May 15. Her office announced March 17 that a majority of bishops and standing committees had consented to the consecration of Canon Mary Glasspool. The Diocese of Los Angeles reported that 69 standing committees had consented, but they would not reveal how many of the 110 standing committees had responded.
|Archbishop Ian Ernest. (Photo courtesy Global South Anglican website)|
Jefforts Schori wrote the primates soon after the announcement, saying, “I realize that this development will cause hurt and pain to some of you.”
“…This is not the decision of one person, or a small group of people. It represents the mind of a majority of elected leaders in The Episcopal Church, lay, clergy, and bishops, who have carefully considered the opinions and feelings of other members of the Anglican Communion as well as the decades-long conversations within this Church,” she explained. She said that according to TEC canons she must proceed with the consecration.
Several Global South primates reacted strongly to the announcement. In a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury and all Anglican primates and moderators, Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda wrote: “We have only to note the recent election and confirmation of an active Lesbian as a Suffragan Bishop in the Diocese of Los Angeles to realize that TEC has no interest in ‘gracious restraint,’ let alone a moratorium on the things that have brought us to this point of collapse. It is now impossible to regard their earlier words of ‘regret’ as a serious gesture of reconciliation with the rest of the Communion.”
In the letter, Orombi criticized the enhanced authority that the “Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion” has granted to itself in the latest draft of the Covenant. He called upon the Archbishop of Canterbury to call a Primates’ Meeting—the only instrument that has authority to act—to deal with the communion crisis. He insisted that the primates themselves set the agenda, rather than any Lambeth staff, and he called for the primates of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada to be excluded from this meeting since they are “proceeding with unbiblical practices that contradict the faith of Anglicanism.”
The GAFCON primates, meeting in Bermuda April 5-9, also responded to TEC’s approval of Glasspool’s election in a communiqué, noting, “This action also makes clear that any pretence that there has been a season of gracious restraint in the Communion has come to an end.” The primates noted that the Communion structures have “lost integrity and relevance” and concluded that “the Anglican Communion will only be able to fulfill its gospel mandate if it understands itself to be a community gathered around a confession of faith rather than an organisation that has its primary focus on institutional loyalty.”
A primate outside the GAFCON group, Archbishop Ian Ernest of the Province of the Indian Ocean, also responded to TEC’s approval of Glasspool in an April 13th letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury. He
| The Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe.|
characterized TEC’s actions as proof they are “hell bent on a course that is in radical disobedience to the counsels of God in Holy Scripture.” He echoed the call for a Primates’ Meeting—minus TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC)—to be convened soon and questioned why Communion structures are not representative of the 80 percent of Anglicans who live in the Global South.
Additionally, Ernest announced that he was suspending all verbal and sacramental communication with TEC and the ACoC, except for the Communion Partners and others who “have distanced themselves from the direction of the TEC.”
Glasspool will be the second non-celibate homosexual to become a bishop in The Episcopal Church. Since her election, another diocese has added a homosexual priest to its slate of bishop nominees. The Rev. Canon Michael Barlowe, who married his partner in California when it was legal, is one of the four finalists who could be elected on May 22 as the next bishop of the Diocese of Utah. †