frgavin on March 12th, 2010

LOS ANGELES: Mary Glasspool receives required number of standing committee consents in unofficial tally

[Episcopal News Service] Diocese of Los Angeles Bishop Suffragan-elect Mary Douglas Glasspool has received the required number of consents from diocesan standing committees to her ordination and consecration, pending verification by the presiding bishop’s office.

The Diocese of Los Angeles announced March 10 that Glasspool had received 61 standing committee consents, in an unofficial tally. A majority of consents, or 56, were required from standing committees in the Episcopal Church’s 109 dioceses.

“I give thanks for the standing commitees’ prompt action, and for the consents to the elections of my sisters,” Los Angeles Bishop Diocesan J. Jon Bruno said on March 10, referring to both Glasspool and Bishop Suffragan-elect Diane Jardine Bruce.

“I look forward to the final few consents to come in from the bishops in the next few days, and I give thanks for the fact that we as a church have taken a bold step for just action.”

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s office has yet to verify the official number of bishops with jurisdiction who have consented to Glasspool’s ordination and consecration.

The Rev. Canon Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop, told ENS that the consent process for a bishop-elect lasts the full 120 days as prescribed by the canons of the church, unless that person receives the required majority of consents before the period is over, at which time an announcement can be made. Until the required number of consents is received, or the 120-day period ends, bishops and standing committees are able to change their vote, he said.

Glasspool, 56, was elected bishop suffragan on Dec. 5. Jefferts Schori is expected to be the chief consecrator May 15 for Glasspool, and for Bruce, who was elected bishop suffragan Dec. 4. The presiding bishop’s office on March 8 announced a successful consent process for Bruce.

Glasspool has served as canon to the bishops in the Baltimore-based Diocese of Maryland for the past eight years. During her 28-year ordained ministry, Glasspool has served congregations in Maryland, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

Glasspool is the second openly gay partnered priest to be elected a bishop in the Episcopal Church. The first was Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, who was elected in 2003.

Under the canons of the Episcopal Church (III.11.4), a majority of bishops exercising jurisdiction and diocesan standing committees must consent to a bishop-elect’s ordination as bishop within 120 days of receiving notice of the election.

The 120-day process for Glasspool lasts until May 5 and the Diocese of Los Angeles has been updating the process each Wednesday on its website.

As outlined under Canon III.11.4 (a) for every bishop election, the presiding bishop confirms the receipt of consents from a majority of bishops with jurisdiction, and reviews the evidence of consents from diocesan standing committees sent to her by the standing committee of the electing diocese.

In Canon III.11.4 (b), standing committees, in consenting to ordination and consecration, attest they are “fully sensible of how important it is that the Sacred Order and Office of a Bishop should not be unworthily conferred, and firmly persuaded that it is our duty to bear testimony on this solemn occasion without partiality, do, in the presence of Almighty God, testify that we know of no impediment on account of which the Reverend A.B. ought not to be ordained to that Holy Office. We do, moreover, jointly and severally declare that we believe the Reverend A.B. to have been duly and lawfully elected and to be of such sufficiency in learning, of such soundness in the Faith, and of such godly character as to be able to exercise the Office of a Bishop to the honor of God and the edifying of the Church, and to be a wholesome example to the flock of Christ.”

The canons do not specify the wording that bishops must use to give their consent, other than to say in Canon III.11.4 (a) that the presiding bishop requests of each bishop with jurisdiction “a statement of consent or withholding of consent.”

The consent process begins after post-election procedural matters, including physical and psychological examinations, have been completed and formal notices are sent by the presiding bishop’s office to bishops with jurisdiction, with separate notices from the electing diocese to the standing committees of each of the dioceses in the Episcopal Church.

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