Episcopal Church gives final OK to gay bishop in Los Angeles


LOS ANGELES — The Episcopal Church gave final approval Wednesday to the ordination of an openly gay bishop in Los Angeles, putting a face behind a policy that has divided the church and caused some of its more conservative members to break away.

Mary Glasspool is the first openly gay bishop approved since 2003, when the election of a gay man as bishop of New Hampshire
caused such an uproar that the U.S. church, under pressure from other
members of the global Anglican Communion, imposed a moratorium on such
elevations. The ban was lifted last year.

Glasspool is also one of the first two women to be elected as bishops in the 114-year history of the Los Angeles diocese. The other, Diane M. Jardine Bruce, won final approval on March 8.

“I’m overjoyed,” Glasspool said in a phone interview from Baltimore, where she is canon, or senior assistant, to the bishop of Maryland.
“It’s time to celebrate. … I know there are people who might not be
overjoyed by this, and I am committed to reaching out with my own hand
and my own heart to people who might not feel the same as I do.”

Los Angeles Bishop J. Jon Bruno said he, too, was overjoyed, and called the election of the two women
“historic.” He said the consenting votes by U.S. bishops and diocesan
standing committees demonstrated “that the Episcopal Church, by canon,
creates no barrier for ministry on the basis of gender and sexual
orientation, among other factors.”

That decision by the church has led dozens of
congregations to split off, some affiliating with more conservative
Anglican churches overseas. The Episcopal Church remains part of the
worldwide Communion but that body’s spiritual leader, Archbishop of
Canterbury Rowan Williams, issued a warning to the U.S. church in
December, saying that Glasspool’s election “raised very serious
questions not just for the Episcopal Church and its place in the
Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as a whole.”

David C. Anderson, president of the breakaway American
Anglican Council, said the bishop’s election was a sign that the
Episcopal Church “will not abide by traditional Christian and Anglican
Communion teaching on marriage and sexuality.”

Glasspool and Bruce were both elected to the
position of bishop suffragan, which means that they will be assistants
to Bruno. Both will be ordained and consecrated at a ceremony on May 15.


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