Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the world’s 77 million Anglicans, said Sunday that the choice of the U.S. church to elect a second gay bishop raised “very serious questions” for the divided church and urged restraint.
The Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool, 55, who was elected by the diocese of Los Angeles on Saturday, is from Baltimore and graduated from college in the midstate (Dickinson College class of ’76). For eight years, she has served as an adviser, or canon, to the Diocese of Maryland’s bishops.
She and Diane M. Jardine Bruce (in AP photo with Bishop J. Jon Bruno) are also the Los Angeles diocese’s first female bishops in its 114-year history. Their elections have yet to be confirmed and could still be rejected by U.S. dioceses or bishops.
After the election, Glasspool said she thought the voters did not base their decision simply on sexual orientation or any other single characteristic of the candidates, according to the LA Times.
“I believe the people of the diocese, by the grace and power and influence of the Holy Spirit, went beneath skin deep, went beneath the superficial characteristics and boxes into which we put people to really look at individual people,” she said.
In July, the Episcopal Church voted at its national convention to effectively lift a moratorium on electing gay bishops.
The temporary ban had been requested by Anglican leaders seeking to prevent a permanent break in the communion. Conservatives say the U.S. church has failed to uphold biblical authority when, for example, it first approved the consecration of a noncelibate gay bishop in 2003. Members of four breakaway dioceses and some dissident parishes have aligned themselves with conservative Anglican bishops in Africa and South America.
Leaders of the 2-million-member church note the dissidents represent a tiny fraction of the church; however, the denomination has lost 200,000 members since 2004 — 60,000 of them last year, according to an internal report.