Lesbian Bishop-Elect Faces Episcopal Review

By Burke, Daniel | The Christian Century, January 12, 2010 | Go to article overview
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Lesbian Bishop-Elect Faces Episcopal Review


Burke, Daniel, The Christian Century


Since becoming the first lesbian to be elected a bishop in the Episcopal Church, Mary Glasspool has been hailed as a gay rights pioneer and maligned as the straw that will finally break the back of the Anglican Communion.

Glasspool "wavered two or three times" before agreeing to be nominated as an assistant bishop in Los Angeles, she said in an interview December 9. But friends and spiritual counselors reminded her to follow her own preaching.

"Look, you believe in the Holy Spirit," she said they told her. "You've always said the Holy Spirit is in charge. Your job is to follow where it leads."

The global fellowship of 77 million Anglicans has been in an uproar since an openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson, was elected in New Hampshire in 2003. Several U.S. dioceses and overseas Anglican provinces have cut ties with the Episcopal Church.

The spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, has all but told Episcopalians not to vote to confirm Glasspool's election. The Episcopal Church is the U.S. wing of the communion, but it could lose its place over Glasspool, Williams warned.

"He clearly was saying something like that," Glasspool said. "And again, I've done what I could do to allow myself to be available to God's call, and the people of Los Angeles have spoken and voiced their trust in me and my potential leadership."

Before Glasspool, 55, can be consecrated a bishop, a majority of the more than 100 Episcopal bishops and dioceses must confirm her election within the next several months. Robinson predicted on December 10 that the process will be "a little more difficult" than when he was confirmed by delegates to the church's triennial General Convention in Minneapolis.

"At the General Convention you can reach the people who are going to be doing the voting a little easier," Robinson said. "It's very difficult to get to more than a hundred-something groups scattered across the country if there's a case that needs to be made by the Diocese of Los Angeles or Mary Glasspool."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The man who would be Glasspool's boss in Los Angeles, Bishop Jon Bruno, has already pledged to "work my fingers to the bone, dialing telephones to talk to people" in support of Glasspool's election.

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