News for Week Ending 12/7/2009
Church leaders condemn proposed Uganda legislationPresident of the House of Deputies Bonnie Anderson asserted that passage of the proposed anti-homosexual legislation before the Uganda parliament would be a “terrible violation of the human rights of an already persecuted minority,” according to a November 30, 2009, story from Episcopal News Service. Anderson’s remarks came as pressure has increased for church leaders both in The Episcopal Church and in other churches of the Anglican Communion to speak out against the Uganda measure. (See Pittsburgh Update story here.) Referring to an anticipated December 7 teleconference meeting of the church’s Executive Council called by petition of Council members, Anderson said, “I hope and believe that a vigorous statement will be forthcoming, and that I will be able to support this statement wholeheartedly.”
As it happens, however, the request for the December 7 meeting was withdrawn by the petitioners after Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori issued a statement December 4 on the Ugandan situation. Jefferts Schori declared that “as a Church we affirm that the public scapegoating of any category of persons, in any context, is anathema. We are deeply concerned about the potential impingement on basic human rights represented by the private member’s bill in the Ugandan Parliament.” Echoing the language of the recent report “Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, & Homophobia” (see Pittsburgh Update story cited above), the Presiding Bishop said:
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.Episcopal News Service reported the story of the Presiding Bishop’s statement.
The House of Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada, along with the Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, also issued an expression of concern about the Uganda legislation.
Los Angeles elects two suffragansIn convention on December 4 and 5, 2009, the Diocese of Los Angeles elected two women to be suffragan bishops of the diocese. On December 4, the Rev. Canon Diane Jardine Bruce, rector of St. Clements by-the-Sea Church, was elected in three ballots from a field of six candidates. She became the first woman elected a bishop of Los Angeles. A second election from the remaining candidates resulted in the election of the Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool on December 5 on the seventh ballot. Glasspool, canon to the bishops of the Diocese of Maryland, has been partnered with Becki Sander for 19 years. Before they can be consecrated, both suffragan bishops–elect must receive consents from a majority of the church’s bishops with jurisdiction and Standing Committees.
Canon Bruce’s election is not likely to prove controversial, and her consent process should proceed smoothly, but Glasspool will face opposition from those seeking to avoid further unrest in the Anglican Communion over ordination of gays and lesbians. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was quick to issue a statement saying that the election of Glasspool “raises very serious questions not just for the Episcopal Church and its place in the Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as a whole” and implying that consents should not be given.
Needless to say, news stories and commentary on the Glasspool election are legion and are continuing to appear. Readers should consult posts on Thinking Anglicans beginning with this one to sample what is being said about the situation.