Monday, December 7, 2009

Reactions to the election of The Rev. Mary Glasspool as Suffragan Bishop in LA

The Episcopal Church is back in the news again over the Diocese of Los Angeles' convention and the election of an openly gay bishop suffragan, Mary Douglas Glasspool. You can read the Episcopal Life article here. I don't know her, but she looks immensely qualified.

Here are what some people are saying.

Bishop Gene Robinson:

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 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.

The election of Mary Glasspool by the Diocese of Los Angeles as suffragan bishop elect raises very serious questions not just for the Episcopal Church and its place in the Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as a whole.

The process of selection however is only part complete. The election has to be confirmed, or could be rejected, by diocesan bishops and diocesan standing committees. That decision will have very important implications.

The bishops of the Communion have collectively acknowledged that a period of gracious restraint in respect of actions which are contrary to the mind of the Communion is necessary if our bonds of mutual affection are to hold.

At our last General Convention, we said we are nondiscriminatory. They just as well might have withheld their consents from me because I was a divorced man and in my case, it would have been more justified than someone withholding them from someone who has been approved through all levels of ministry and is a good and creative minister of the Gospel.

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.

To not consent in this country out of fear of the reaction elsewhere in the Anglican Communion is to capitulate to titular heads.

The statements pretty much speak for themselves, but I wish to comment a little more about the Archbishop's statement. I find this shocking not so much for content, but the speed of which the statement was made.

The Archbishop has been painfully absent from speaking out on Uganda's anti-gay bill. The proposed law would mean a person convicted of gay sex in Uganda is liable to life imprisonment, and if that person is HIV positive the penalty is execution. The law also proposes a sentence of seven years for anyone who defends the rights of homosexuals. A diverse group of Christian leaders have denounced this harsh proposal, but the Archbishop has not wanted to fray relations.

Meanwhile, just hours after Glasspool was elected, the Archbishop issues his statement that's clearly meant to influence the consent process.

I really have to wonder about the priorities and consistency being showed here...

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