A diocese in Los Angeles has elected only the second openly gay bishop in the Anglican Church, reigniting an issue that has caused deep division.
Daily Archives: December 7, 2009
Williams’ message appeared to target U.S. bishops, the group over which he may have the greatest sway as the confirmation process begins. He maintained that bishops within the wider communion had “collectively acknowledged that a period of gracious restraint” was necessary “if our bonds of mutual affection are to hold.”
Conservative Episcopalians said they were surprised by the unusually blunt language from a religious leader known for carefully parsing his words and layering his arguments, particularly around the explosive issue of homosexual bishops and same-sex marriage blessings, another subject that has set off theological fireworks in the church.
“For a man who prides himself on nuance and understatement, it’s a remarkably swift and vigorous response,” said the Rev. Kendall Harmon, canon theologian for the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. “I didn’t expect him to respond this strongly or this quickly. I think Los Angeles underestimated the significance of what they were doing in the international context.”
The bishop of the Los Angeles diocese, the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, argued that the U.S. church has the autonomy and authority to confirm Glasspool regardless of Williams’ displeasure.
“The election (yet to be confirmed) of a partnered lesbian as Bishop in the Episcopal Church (TEC) is sad but not surprising.
Confirmation of this election will make clear beyond any doubt whatsoever that the TEC leadership has chosen to walk in a way which is contrary to scripture and will continue to do so.
This settled path that the TEC chooses is contrary to the expressed will of the majority of the Anglican Communion.
Further, it confirms the rightness of GAFCON in producing the Jerusalem Declaration and establishing the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA).
The aim of the FCA is to recognise and give fellowship to those who wish to remain faithful to God’s revealed word and also to defend and promote biblical teaching throughout the Communion.
It is all the more urgent that those who share the aims of the FCA should associate themselves with the movement and express their disapproval of actions which are contrary to scripture and contrary to historic Anglicanism.
Further, this gives the Archbishop of Canterbury every reason to act decisively and dissociate from the Episcopal Church and to recognise the Anglican Church of North America.”
The political problem with climate change is that it veers from the apocalyptic to the trivial. Glaciers are melting, so turn off the red button on the television. It is still possible that discussion at the Copenhagen summit could produce the pragmatic deal that is the intermediate point between idealism and fatalism.
Success will require great ambition. Lord Stern, the author of the Government’s weightiest tome on climate change, has said that global greenhouse gas emissions, currently 47 gigatons, need to be at 44 gigatons by 2020 to get on course to hold the rise in global temperature this century to 2C. Hitting this target would require all the signatory nations to consent to the upper end of their professed targets.
The people of the Diocese of Los Angeles have elected two extraordinarily gifted priests to serve them as Suffragan Bishops. They have chosen the two people who, in their minds, and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, are best suited for this ministry, and one of them happens to be a lesbian. But let us be clear: it is Mary Glasspool’s experience, skills and faith which will make her a good bishop, and are the reason for her election. Rightly so, the people of Los Angeles have not let current arguments over homosexuality or threats to “unity” impair their choosing the best persons for these ministries.
This is the inclusive Church we declared at this summer’s General Convention we would be, following God’s call to us as best we can discern it, and we are now living into that calling. I am delighted over the elections of Diane Bruce and Mary Glasspool and, upon consent by the wider church, look forward to welcoming them both into the House of Bishops.
Uganda may pass a law that could lead to the death penalty for homosexual behavior.
The proposed law is odious.
Due to the legacy of colonialism, Western people should be sensitive about interfering in sub-Saharan African politics and modest in making moral pronouncements regarding Africa, but this law deserves universal condemnation. Uganda experienced many evils under colonialism, including the loss of basic liberties.
Experiencing evil does not give a free pass to do evil and this bill is wicked.
It is not a close call.
No good can come of this bill and great harm will be done if it is passed.
The Episcopal Church in the US has elected its first openly lesbian woman to serve as a bishop in the diocese of Los Angeles, instantly sparking fresh tumult in the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, warned that the Church would now face “very serious questions” over the decision, which will see Canon Mary Glasspool, 55, elevated to serve as an assistant bishop. Canon Glasspool, who has openly been in a relationship with her female partner, Becki Sander, for 21 years, was chosen at the Church’s annual convention in Los Angeles.
[Mary] Glasspool, canon to the bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, was elected bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles on Saturday. The Annapolis resident is to be installed in May, pending the consent of the bishops and standing committees of the 108 other Episcopal dioceses of the United States.
In a release, Bishop of Los Angeles J. Jon Bruno said the denial of consent “would be a violation of the canons of this church. At our last General Convention, we said we are nondiscriminatory.”
Bruno, whom Glasspool would assist as bishop suffragan, acknowledged rumors of a concerted effort not to give consent over her sexuality. Glasspool has been in a committed relationship with her partner for two decades.
“I would remind the Episcopal church and the House of Bishops they need to be conscientious about respecting the canons of the church and the baptismal covenant to respect the dignity of every human being,” Bruno said. “To not consent in this country out of fear of the reaction elsewhere in the Anglican Communion is to capitulate to titular heads.”
For five years, members of Saint Anthony of Padua in Hackensack, a church in the liberal Episcopal Diocese of Newark, have sought spiritual guidance from a bishop in a socially conservative diocese in South Carolina.
The reason? They oppose the liberal tendencies of the Newark diocese and their national church, which in 2003 seated an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire over conservative opposition. The following year, St. Anthony’s began periodically hosting Bishop William J. Skilton from Charleston, S.C.
The arrangement helps explain why parish members probably will not accept the Vatican’s special offer, made last month, to allow dissatisfied Episcopalians and Anglicans to convert to Catholicism, said the Rev. Brian Laffler, the pastor. The Episcopal Church USA, with 2.1 million members, is part of the 77 million-member worldwide Anglican Communion.
What the American Episcopal direction really means is that we’re moving towards a schism that looks like the Mercedes-Benz logo. In one segment we have the Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions; in another, the conservative and orthodox Anglicans and, in the third, those who push the Reformist tradition alongside Bishops Glasspool and Robinson.
To those who say this last category is taking the Church to hell in a handcart, or possibly a handbag, I would say this: when Anglicans started to ordain women priests in the Nineties, female bishops became a logical and rational extension of that Reformist tradition. As for lesbians, the Bible has even less to say about them than it does about homosexuals. It may very well be that Queen Victoria, for whom lesbianism is said to have been removed from the Labouchere Amendment in 1865 when homosexual acts were outlawed because she simply didn’t believe they existed, was being more obedient than she knew to her scripture study.
But, ultimately, what Bishop Glasspool shows us is a God who is infinitely more interested in love than in sex. Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth for his human creatures.
One by one, each woman stood up and shared a memory from her days at the Mary Warren Free Institute, a tiny Episcopal all-girls school connected to the Church of the Holy Cross on Eighth Street.
But soon after some of the women began talking on Sunday, the last day of the church’s opening, tears choked their words and they had to sit down.
“My heart will always be here,” said an emotional Mildred Shea of Averill Park, who graduated from Mary Warren in 1949 and was subsequently married in the church and had her four children baptized there.
Shea and about 50 others attended the last service Sunday afternoon at Church of the Holy Cross, which decided to close after congregants there dwindled to about a dozen.
As a husband of 28 years and as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark, which has 110 congregations in eight counties in northern New Jersey, including Morris, Sussex and Warren, I strongly support the marriage equality initiative that will come before the state Senate this week. Last Thursday in Trenton, I joined 650 people (many of whom were clergy from a variety of faiths), to witness to the need for marriage equality.
I pray that the marriage bill passes ”” so that all couples who have engaged in a lifelong union can have their unions recognized. It is one thing to have the relationship blessed; it is quite another thing to have that relationship legally recognized in emergency rooms or on insurance policies or in a courtroom. The introduction of the 2007 Civil Union law was intended to support these rights. It hasn’t. Instead, it has exposed a separate but equal mentality in the state, which is indeed separate, yet anything but equal.
There is formidable opposition to this opportunity, which also needs to be acknowledged and honored. There are religious convictions that are deeply held and longstanding. People who are opposed to marriage equality often cite the tradition that marriage should be between a man and a woman. A closer look shows that the historical tradition of marriage is that of a contract between two men: the groom and the father of the bride. When a woman was “given away” in marriage, she was given by her father to her husband, and in this exchange the woman surrendered her name, her rights and her property.
To try to hold the communion together, the Episcopal Church agreed to stop ordaining gay bishops. But at its national convention last summer, the church voted to reverse that ban, leading to Canon Glasspool’s election.
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the world-wide Anglican communion, issued a statement saying Canon Glasspool’s election “raises very serious questions” about the Episcopal Church’s role in the Anglican Communion. He called on American Episcopalians to refrain from provocative acts. Maintaining a “period of gracious restraint,” he said, is vital “if our bonds of mutual affection are to hold.”
His concern was echoed by Father John Spencer, vicar general of a diocese in Quincy, Ill., that refuses to recognize the authority of the U.S. Episcopal Church because of its stance on issues such as the ordination of gays. That diocese is one of several in the U.S. that have broken away from the national Episcopal church and aligned instead with more conservative Anglican provinces overseas.
Father Spencer said the American Episcopal leadership seems bent on making political statements “rather than pursuing Christian unity with the rest of the church.”
[Kendall] Harmon, who is a spokesman for Charleston, South Carolina, Bishop Edward Salmon Jr., told The Charlotte Observer that the diocese will call its own special convention to decide its next step. “You’re already beginning to see what the dramatic realignment will look like,” he said.
Many of Harmon’s colleagues agreed. David C. Anderson, president of the American Anglican Council, was quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as comparing Robinson’s confirmation to domestic abuse. “We have been beaten up in the Episcopal Church for a long time,” he said. “We’re not leaving the Anglican Communion but the Episcopal Church now has.”
Anderson’s group has scheduled a meeting of “Anglican mainstream parishes” (i.e. orthodox leaders) in early October in Plano, Texas, saying it is “committed to remaining part of the Anglican Communion and will find a way for mainstream Anglicans in the Episcopal Church to stay in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury.”