Ordination of Two Women Challenges Anglican/Episcopal Jurisdictions

News Analysis

By David W. Virtue
www.virtueonline.org
May 11, 2010

On May 15 two women will be ordained – one to the episcopacy in The Episcopal Church, the other to the priesthood in the Anglican Church in North America.

One is an avowed lesbian; the other is orthodox in faith and morals. One will be ordained against the will of the vast majority of the Anglican Communion; the other will be ordained with mixed reviews from Anglo-Catholics and some Evangelicals who believe such an ordination is a violation of Scripture, history and tradition.

Mary Glasspool has the full backing of The Episcopal Church and Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori who said she has received consent from a majority of the bishops with jurisdiction, and a majority of the standing committees of this Church. “According to our canons, I must now take order for her consecration. I will do so. It has been my practice, since I took office, to preside at the consecration of new bishops, and I intend to do so in this case as well. I realize that this development will cause hurt and pain to some of you. I am deeply aware of the range of opinion and position about this.” Her message: Get over it. The Archbishop of Canterbury has, to date, been silent about this consecration.

By contrast, the Rev. Susan Freeman, an evangelical and a deacon (ordained in Feb. 2009) at Christ Church, Plano, Texas, will be ordained to the Sacred Order of Priests by the Rt. Rev. John A. M. Guernsey, Bishop of the Diocese of the Holy Spirit, (Uganda) Anglican Church in North America.

Explaining this ordination, The Rt. Rev. Philip H. Jones, Missionary Bishop of The Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) issued the following statement:

“Within the AMiA there has been a provision for the ordaining of women to the priesthood at (Rwanda) Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini’s request. The Anglican province of Rwanda as well as other African provinces (Uganda and Kenya) has been ordaining women to the priesthood for several years. A few years ago, he requested that there be a provision for this in the AMiA.

“Under the umbrella of the Anglican Mission in the Americas, there is the Anglican Mission in America which does not allow for the ordination of women to the priesthood. Per Archbishop Kolini’s request, there is a separate group under the Anglican Mission in the Americas called the Anglican Coalition in America. (ACiA). Under that group, there is a provision for the ordination of women to the priesthood. This has been in place for several years and has been used at Christ Church in Overland Park, Kansas, where recently a woman was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Kolini.

“Second, the ordination scheduled for May 15 would be the second ordination to the priesthood under the Anglican Mission in the Americas through the ACiA. Fr. David Roseberry and I have been in discussion about this for almost a year along with Missionary Bishop and chairman Chuck Murphy. I have asked Bishop John Guernsey to officiate at the ordination of Susan. I know Susan and she is a very qualified person.”

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