The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop-elect Mary Douglas Glasspool, daughter of a priest, has received the “consents from diocesan standing committees and bishops” required to be consecrated and ordained in a ceremony planned for May 15, the presiding bishop’s office announced.
The ordination and consecration of the Rev. Canon Diane Jardine Bruce, who was elected a day earlier, is planned for the same day. Bruce was the first woman bishop elected in the 114-year history of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.
Glasspool will be the first openly lesbian bishop in the 70-million-member worldwide Anglican Communion.
The Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool unofficially has the consent of 61 of the 109 Episcopal dioceses in the United States, Episcopal Life reported. That majority approval of her ordination and consecration was required for her to become first openly lesbian bishop in the 70-million-member worldwide Anglican Communion,
Referring to both Glasspool and Bishop Suffragan-elect Diane Jardine Bruce, Los Angeles Bishop Diocesan J. Jon Bruno said on March 10:
I give thanks for the standing commitees’ prompt action, and for the consents to the elections of my sisters. I look forward to the final few consents to come in from the bishops in the next few days, and I give thanks for the fact that we as a church have taken a bold step for just action.
That last phrase refers to the fact that a majority of diocesan bishops must also consent. Episcopal Church headquarters in New York keeps the bishops tally and probably will not release it until the outcome is settled.
ReligionLink documents the long struggle over the election homosexual Episcopal bishops. Glasspool’s final affirmation was expected when she was selected amid controversy in December. If as apparently the case she is affirmed, she will be 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 the communion’s already decades-old division over homosexuality into the open.
Bruce was the first woman bishop elected in the 114-year history of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.
U.S. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was the first woman elected as a primate of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Her election demonstrated the widespread support in the Episcopal Church in the U.S. for the ordination of women and is nonetheless a matter of ongoing controversy in some quarters of the church.
Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church. writes that the Episcopal Church is making a major transition from a print-primary presence to publishing primarily through electronic media:
In part, this shift recognizes the financial and ecological burdens of producing a monthly newspaper that is mailed to subscribers. In part, this shift recognizes what is happening all around us, as information sharing becomes far more rapid and immediate than the capabilities of print media.
. . .
Former printing partners (dioceses or congregations) now have the ability to tailor their publication to a far greater degree than the old system allowed. A new quarterly print publication will offer more opportunity for reflection and in-depth conversation than is possible in a daily or even monthly publication.
Lynette Wilson, who was a staff writer for Episcopal Life, has been promoted to editor/writer of The Episcopal Church’s new quarterly publication, which debuts this year.
Final decisions are being made diocese by diocese. For example:
- The Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky has transitioned from a monthly newspaper to an “E-newsletter and a new quarterly magazine” and “is considering other media resources that make communications instantaneous and available 24/7 such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and podcasting to determine which of these may best help the diocese and its churches tell our stories.”
- Episcopal Diocese of Chicago has transitioned from a bimonthly to a quarterly publication complemented by an e-newsletter and other resources.
- The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts has a twice yearly print publication, a monthly e-newsletter and a monthly bulletin for clergy and parish and diocesan leaders
- The Episcopal Diocese of Michigan has eliminated print publication of The Record altogether in favor of an email publication called The Record Weekly, complemented by the Web site.
The Rev Canon Dr Alison Peden is the first Scottish Anglican woman to make the shortlist for a bishopric since June of 2003, when the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church voted overwhelmingly in favor of the “Motion to Allow Women Bishops.”
If selected, she will be the first woman bishop in the U.K.
The Scottish Episcopal Church Website explains:
The candidates have been selected by a Preparatory Committee (chaired by the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church) consisting of clergy and lay church members who represent the diocese and the wider Church. The next stage in the selection process is a meeting of each of the candidates with members of an Electoral Synod (representatives of clergy and lay church members from the Diocese of Glasgow & Galloway only). That meeting will take place on 9 January 2010, with the election of the new Bishop taking place on 16 January.
The first woman bishop in the entire Anglican Communion was Barbara Harris, ordained Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts on 11 February 1989. Harris, a black woman who as a civil rights activist marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, was nominated at one point by Mary Glasspool, the pioneering lesbian bishop-elect in Los Angeles selected this year and awaiting final approval.
The other two candidates are:
- The Venerable Dr John Applegate, (born 1956), Course Principal, Southern North West Training Partnership, Diocese of Manchester and part-time lecturer at the University of Manchester.
- The Very Rev Dr Gregor Duncan, (born 1950), Rector of St Ninian’s Church, Pollokshields and Dean of the Diocese of Glasgow & Galloway.
Regardless of the selection, the times they are a changin’.
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.
The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles chose as a bishop the Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool, a lesbian who has been in a partnered relationship for two decades, and was rebuked by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. Spiritual leader of the world’s 77 million Anglicans, Williams said:
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.
Glasspool’s selection is incomplete. She could be rejected by the U.S. bishops or standing committees. If she is rejected, Williams said, “That decision will have very important implications.” He implied that her selection a threat to the “bonds” that tie 77 million Anglicans together.
A moratorium on election of gay bishops by the U.S. Episcopal Church was agreed to at the request of Anglican leaders after V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire was selected six years ago as its first openly gay bishop. Glasspool is the first major departure from the moratorium since it was put aside by the Episcopal Church in July.
Williams did not address whether he believes the breaking of the moratorium via Glasspool’s selection is more of a threat to the Anglican Communion than the pending gay genocide legislation in Uganda. But he has chosen not to speak out publicly on the latter, although there is no question about his opposition to it.
Ekkleasia writes that “Despite his attempts to maintain a balance in church disputes over sexuality, Williams is likely to be accused of speaking out against the extreme on one side but not the other.”
Yes, vocal regarding Glasspool. Silent regarding Uganda.
Is he not guilty in fact?
Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori took a stand against “the pending Ugandan legislation that would introduce the death penalty for people who violate portions of that country’s anti-homosexuality laws.”
In a Dec. 4 statement of concern she wrote:
The Episcopal Church joins many other Christians and people of faith in urging the safeguarding of human rights everywhere. We do so in the understanding that “efforts to criminalize homosexual behavior are incompatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ” (General Convention 2006, Resolution D005).
This has been the repeated and vehement position of Anglican bodies, including several Lambeth Conferences. The Primates’ Meeting, in the midst of severe controversy over issues of homosexuality, nevertheless noted that, as Anglicans, “we assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by him, and deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship” (Primates’ Communiqué, Dromantine, 2005).
. . /
Finally, we note that much of the current climate of fear, rejection, and antagonism toward gay and lesbian persons in African nations has been stirred by members and former members of our own Church. We note further that attempts to export the culture wars of North America to another context represent the very worst of colonial behavior. We deeply lament this reality, and repent of any way in which we have participated in this sin.
We call on all Episcopalians to seek their own conversion toward an ability to see the image of God in the face of every neighbor, of whatever race, gender, sexual orientation, theological position, or creed. God has created us in myriad diversity, and no one sort or condition of human being can fully reflect the divine. Only the whole human race begins to be an adequate mirror of the divine.
We urge continued prayer for those who live in fear of the implications of this kind of injustice and discrimination, and as a Church, commit ourselves anew to seek partnerships with the Church of Uganda, or any portion thereof, in serving the mission of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That Gospel is larger than any party or faction. It is only in mutual service and recognition that we will begin to mend our divisions.
. . /
The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams fired back Nov. 19, telling a conference in Rome that the Roman Catholic Church’s refusal to ordain women was a barrier to Christian unity.
Speaking at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University prior to his Saturday meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, Williams said, drawing a sharp contrast, “For many Anglicans, not ordaining women has a possible unwelcome implication about the difference between baptised men and baptised women.”
He went on to say that Anglican provinces that ordain women had retained rather than lost their Catholic holiness and sacramentalism.
Thus, he thoroughly defied one of the animating tensions which led Pope Benedict XVI to offer disaffected Anglicans a “Church within a Church” that would enable them to retain traditional Anglican practices within the Catholic faith.
Williams not only repudiated the notion that he might lead a reversal of direction in the Anglican ordination of women, he also described the pope’s historic offer as little more than an “imaginative pastoral response” which contributed little to ecumenical relations between the two churches.
Along the same lines, he also said:
It does not build in any formal recognition of existing ministries or methods of independent decision-making, but remains at the level of spiritual and liturgical culture.
As such, it is an imaginative pastoral response to the needs of some; but it does not break any fresh ecclesiological ground.
Byzantine ship using Greek fire in the late 11th century: from the Madrid Skylitzes manuscript.
Among other things, he wrote:
Poaching? Of course it is poaching. What else could you call it? Maybe it will succeed. If estimates are right that 1,000 Anglican clergymen will take the bait (no women, of course: they will swiftly be shown the door), what could be their motive? For some it will be a deep-seated misogyny (although they’ll re-label it with a mendacious euphemism of some kind, which they’ll call ‘an important point of theological principle’). They just can’t stomach the idea of women priests. One wonders how their wives can stomach a husband whose contempt for women is so visceral that he considers them incapable even of the humble and unexacting duties of a priest.
For some, the motive will be homophobic bigotry, and a consequent dislike of the efforts of decent church leaders such as the Archbishop of Canterbury to accept those whose sexual orientation happens to deviate from majority taste. Never mind that they will be joining an institution where buggering altar boys pervades the culture.
Yes, and he was just getting his flamethrower adjusted.
Richard Dawkins’s latest attack on the Catholic Church is worthy of a dribbling loony on the top of a bus. He calls the Church “the greatest force for evil in the world”, “an institution where buggering altar boys pervades the culture” and describes it “dragging its skirts in the dirt and touting for business like a common pimp”. (Pimps in skirts – that’s a new one.) And all in The Washington Post.
The peg for this piece? The Pope’s offer to make special arrangements for Anglicans converting to Rome, a matter I would have thought was none of Prof Dawkins’s business. But I’m not going to bother to argue with any of his points, because these are the ravings of a man who appears to have lost all sense of proportion. Seriously: is there something wrong with him?
Atheist PZ Myers responded with blistering deconstruction, along the way answering Holy Smoke author Damien Thompson’s question:
Why, no, Damian! What’s wrong with you?
The Church Mouse was altogether unflapped, suggesting that Dawkins has discerned a “fine line between the liberal wing of the Catholic Church and the conservative wing of the Anglican Church” and argued that Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams “really should announce a new mechanism for accepting liberal Catholics into the Anglican Church.”
Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says the American Church “stands ready to collaborate” with the Vatican in implementing a historic new provision to receive Anglicans into the Catholic Church.
In theory there could be a lot to do.
There are over two million Episcopalians in the U.S.
Meanwhile, some of the Catholic bishops, like their sex-scandal distracted Irish peers, have sexual predation bankruptcies and like legal and other clerical predation entanglements to attend to, as U.S. Episcopalians look on, from a distance. As they have been for the quarter of a century since the scandal erupted into public view [H/T Get Religion].
Ordination as an Episcopal bishop of openly gay, non-celibate Gene Robinson, acceptance of women as priests, acceptance of same-sex unions and other issues seem unlikely to be enough to push a great many into the Roman Catholic fold.
No reunification rush in prospect.
Our first black president-elect, whose campaign was fraught with both false and real issues of religion, has created for his inauguration a faith collage of the culture wars which have racked the nation for four decades.
Together, the voices he has chosen to pray and preach compose the elements of needed and otherwise unlikely dialog toward reconciliation.
Those voices are gay Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson, Southern Baptist megachurch pastor Rick Warren, black United Methodist minister Dr. Joseph E. Lowery and Christian Church president Rev. Sharon Watkins.
Now that the table is set, it is clear that Warren’s inclusion created both dramatic contradictions and through them an opportunity for greater reconciliation.
Warren, then will be through his presence and in his two-minute prayer the anvil upon which is forged that reconciliation.