News for Week Ending 5/17/2010
Church gets first lesbian bishopMary Douglas Glasspool became The Episcopal Church’s first lesbian bishop on May 15, 2010. She was consecrated a suffragan bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, along with Diane Jardine Bruce. The ceremony took place in the Long Beach Arena before a congregation of 3,000, which included Becki Sander, Glasspool’s partner of 19 years. A minor protest interrupted the beginning of the service, which otherwise proceeded as planned. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was chief consecrator for the two new bishops. Details of the event can be found in stories from Episcopal News Service and the Los Angeles Times.
Reaction to Saturday’s consecrations has been surprisingly muted so far. The Times, in its story on the Los Angeles consecrations, notes that Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams had earlier called the impending consecration of Glasspool “regretable” and suggested there would be consequences for The Episcopal Church. Archbishop Williams has not issued a statement following Glasspool’s consecration, however, whereas he has often been quick to respond to events in The Episcopal Church in the past. Archbishop Alan Harper of the Church of Ireland had similarly expressed “deep regret” after the announcement that Glasspool had received the necessary consents to become a bishop. (See Episcopal News Service story here.)
Anglican Mainstream did issue a statement May 15 in response to the Glasspool consecration signed by Dr. Philip Giddings and Canon Dr. Chris Sugden. Giddings and Sugden assert that The Episcopal Church should be excluded from representative bodies of the Anglican Communion, that a way should be found for dissenters in The Episcopal Church to maintain their connection to the Communion, and that the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) should be recognized as a member of the Anglican Communion instead of The Episcopal Church.
Ironically, the ordination of another woman on May 15 is causing distress in the traditionalist camp. According to VirtueOnline, the Rev. Susan Freeman, scheduled to be ordained a priest on the same day Glasspool was to be made a bishop, has become a controversial figure. The ordination was to be performed by the Rt. Rev. John A. M. Guernsey, Bishop of the Diocese of the Holy Spirit (Uganda) and a member of ACNA. In his editorial, “Ordination of Two Women Challenges Anglican/Episcopal Jurisdictions,” David Virtue briefly mentions Glasspool but writes at length of the contentiousness of women’s ordination in ACNA.