Lesbian Episcopal priest elected LA assist. bishop

December 6th, 2009 Posted in TEC |

Revd Mary D GlasspoolAssociated Press

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles has elected the second openly gay bishop in the national church and the world Anglican fellowship.

The Rev. Mary Glasspool of Baltimore won election as assistant bishop in Los Angeles in voting Saturday. The first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, was consecrated in 2003.

The Episcopal Church is the Anglican body in the United States. The election of Robinson already has deeply fractured the global Anglican Communion.

Within the United States, theologically conservative Episcopalians this year formed a rival church, called the Anglican Church in North America.

Glasspool lives with a female partner. Her election as assistant bishop must be approved by a majority of national church leaders.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — An openly lesbian priest is among the candidates for assistant bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. If elected Saturday, she would become the second openly gay bishop in the national church and the global Anglican fellowship.

Two rounds of voting at the diocese’s annual convention late Friday did not produce a winner. Balloting resumed at 9 a.m. Saturday.

When voting ended Friday, the Rev. Mary D. Glasspool of Baltimore, who has a female partner, was drawing a large share of votes. Another gay candidate, the Rev. John L. Kirkley of San Francisco, withdrew late Friday, winnowing the original field of candidates to five.

The Episcopal Church, which is the Anglican body in the United States, caused an uproar in 2003 by consecrating the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

Breakaway Episcopal conservatives responded by forming a rival church, the Anglican Church in North America. Several overseas Anglicans have pressured Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the Anglican Communion’s spiritual leader, to recognize the new conservative entity.

Anglican leaders in 2004 had asked the Episcopal Church for a moratorium on electing any more gay bishops while they tried to prevent a permanent break in the 77 million-member fellowship. However, last July, the Episcopal General Convention, the U.S. church’s top policy body, voted that the job of Episcopal bishop was open to priests in same-sex relationships.

The Los Angeles diocese had openings for two assistant, or suffragan, bishops.

In the election for the first vacancy Friday, the winner was the Rev. Diane M. Jardine Bruce, rector of St. Clement’s-By-The-Sea Episcopal Church in San Clemente. She will be the first female bishop in the diocese.

The Los Angeles diocese has 70,000 members and covers six Southern California counties.

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