Skip over navigation
|From left to right: Bishop-elect Diane Jardine Bruce, Bishop Jon Bruno, and Bishop-elect Mary Glasspool. (L.A. Times photo) |
BY ROBERT H. LUNDY, EDITOR
The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles elected a partnered lesbian as one of its next suffragan bishops on December 5, 2009. After seven ballots, the diocese announced the Rev. Canon Mary Glasspool as the winner. Should the election receive consent from the majority of bishops and standing committees in The Episcopal Church (TEC), Glasspool would become TEC's second partnered homosexual bishop and would undoubtedly strain the relationships in the world wide Anglican Communion to the furthest they've been yet. The Episcopal Church consecrated the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, a partnered homosexual, as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003 and, in the words of the Windsor Report, "tore the fabric" of the Anglican Communion.
The next challenge facing the Anglican Communion and Canon Glasspool's election is the process of consent. According to Episcopal Church canons, within 120 days after receiving the necessary paperwork, a majority of diocesan bishops and standing committees must consent to the election before a bishop can actually be consecrated. Given the way TEC's General Convention passed resolution D025 earlier this summer, the resolution that re-opened the door for dioceses to elect partnered homosexuals as bishops, many believe Glasspool will receive the necessary consents by the beginning of May, 2010.
Reactions to the election came swiftly from around TEC and the wider Anglican Communion.
Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams: "The election of Mary Glasspool by the Diocese of Los Angeles as suffragan bishop elect raises very serious questions not just for the Episcopal Church and its place in the Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as a whole. The process of selection however is only part complete. The election has to be confirmed, or could be rejected, by diocesan bishops and diocesan standing committees. That decision will have very important implications. 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."
The Rt. Rev. David Anderson, president & CEO, American Anglican Council: "Should the rest of The Episcopal Church consent to this election, there can be no more pretending that TEC holds to Anglican Communion doctrine and 2,000 years of biblically based Christian teachings. Not only have they elected another non-celibate homosexual bishop, but they repeatedly defy the moratorium on same-sex blessings called for by the Windsor Report."
Archbishop of Sydney, Australia, Dr. Peter Jensen: "The election (yet to be confirmed) of a partnered lesbian as Bishop in the Episcopal Church (TEC) is sad but not surprising. Confirmation of this election will make clear beyond any doubt whatsoever that the TEC leadership has chosen to walk in a way which is contrary to scripture and will continue to do so. This settled path that the TEC chooses is contrary to the expressed will of the majority of the Anglican Communion. Further, it confirms the rightness of GAFCON in producing the Jerusalem Declaration and establishing the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA)."
L.A. Suffragan Bishop-elect Mary Glasspool: "I've had hundreds, probably a thousand, e-mails from people all over the world who don't know me but who are expressing through the fact of my election a pride in the Episcopal Church...I've committed my life as a life of service to the people of Jesus Christ, and what hurts is the sense that anybody might have that my name or my servanthood could be perceived as divisive.''
The Chicago Consultation: "At General Convention earlier this year, the Episcopal Church affirmed that God calls partnered gay and lesbian people to all orders of ministry in the Episcopal Church. God has clearly been calling Mary to challenging and important ministries over and over during the course of her career. While there may be a temptation in some quarters to use Mary's election to foment further controversy in the Anglican Communion, those of us who know her understand that this is simply the next chapter in a lifetime of service to her church. We are grateful to her and to her partner, Becki Sander, for answering a new call in Los Angeles."
The Rt. Rev. Jon Bruno, Diocese of L.A.: "If by chance people are going to withhold consents because of Mary's sexuality, it would be a violation of the canons of this church... At our last General Convention, we said we are nondiscriminatory. They just as well might have withheld their consents from me because I was a divorced man and in my case, it would have been more justified than someone withholding them from someone who has been approved through all levels of ministry and is a good and creative minister of the Gospel...I would remind The Episcopal Church and the House of Bishops they need to be conscientious about respecting the canons of the church and the baptismal covenant to respect the dignity of every human being. To not consent in this country out of fear of the reaction elsewhere in the Anglican Communion is to capitulate to titular heads." †