Southern Religion

Lesbian Episcopal bishop-elect speaks for herself [Addendum]

The Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool, elected the first openly lesbian bishop in the 70-million-member worldwide Anglican Communion, told the Baltimore Sun in an interview published today that “I’m conscious of the symbolic nature of my election and hoped-for consecration, and it’s very humbling. … I’m not ignorant of some people who are fearful that this will mean a real change in our relationship in the Anglican Communion. I’m more hopeful than fearful.”

Guardian religion correspondent Riazat Butt irreverently summarizes the matter:

That the US Episcopal Church has elected a lesbian as a bishop should come as no more of a surprise than learning that the future of the Anglican Communion is once again in jeopardy. The trajectory of each has been clear to church watchers for almost a decade [detailed history here], so talk of schism and turmoil is not so much premature as it is tardy and, quite frankly, a statement of the bleeding obvious.

Or as Duke University’s David C. Steinmetz, Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of the History of Christianity, Emeritus, told the Sun:

For the first time, it seems very possible to me that the Episcopal Church may lose its place in the Anglican Communion not against the wishes of the Archbishop of Canterbury but with his full consent. What is not clear to me is whether the effective governing majority of the Episcopal Church even cares.

The history of these divisions in the United States is briefly documented by ReligionLink and there are regular news reports suggesting ongoing schism. For example, this week the Anglican Church of Uganda “expressed dismay,” according to The Daily Monitor.

Glasspool’s focus in the Baltimore Sun interview was in the importance of her selection to others. She illustrated that by way of reference to “the hundreds of e-mail messages she has received since her election Saturday to be bishop suffragan in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

There was the missive from the gay teenager in Auckland, New Zealand, telling her how proud he was of their church. The congratulations from the married couple from the conservative Episcopal Diocese of Dallas. The appreciation from a lesbian Roman Catholic couple in England.

Similarly, in the Baltimore Sun video she focuses on the shared values of those who pursue the church’s mission in the world:

The process of selection is formally incomplete, as the Sun observes:

Pending the consent of the bishops and standing committees of the 108 other Episcopal dioceses in the United States — typically, a formality — she is to be consecrated in Los Angeles in May. That would make her only the second openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion and the first since the consecration of V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire in 2003 brought a decades-long divide over homosexuality in the church into the open.

Protest of Glasspool’s election from Uganda underlines the failure of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head of the broken church, to address pending gay genocide legislation there while quickly rebuking the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles for Glasspool’s election as a bishop.

Some who are marvels of bigotry may recall that decision with respect if the Ugandan law is enacted and executions begin.

Addendum re Mark Silk

Mark Silk gets it exactl right:

Has anyone ever tried to determine how many Episcopalians even care if their denomination is part of the Anglican Communion? Just as the Church of England split with the Church of Rome over a matter of state (Henry VIII marital inclinations), so the Episcopal Church created itself as an entity separate from the Church of England over that late unpleasantness involving tea and other disagreements resulting in the United States of America. Maybe it’s time for the Episcopalians to return to their revolutionary roots.



December 9, 2009 - Posted by | Religion | , , , , ,

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