After a 2006 moratorium on electing gay bishops in the Episcopal Church was lifted in July, the Diocese of Los Angeles wasted no time in acting on the more inclusive policy by nominating two openly gay priests for assistant bishop positions. On Dec. 5 the diocese officially elected one of those priests, Rev. Mary Glasspool of Maryland.
If the decision is approved by the majority of bishops and standing committees of clergy and lay leaders in the Episcopal Church, Glasspool would be the first openly lesbian consecrated as bishop in all of the global Anglican Communion. Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire is currently the only openly gay Episcopal bishop.
Earlier this week the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams released a statement where he questioned the move and warned the Episcopal Church not to approve the decision because ordaining another gay bishop would impact the whole church. Thousands of Anglicans have since then urged him to retract his statement and to “exercise moral leadership to protect gays and lesbians.”
Glasspool, who grew up in New York and followed her father into the Episcopal priesthood when she was ordained in 1982, says that apart from Rowan’s reaction she has received nothing but statements of support from people all over the world. In an interview with the Baltimore Sun, Glasspool expressed her joy in the Diocese of Los Angeles’ decision: “I’m deeply grateful. I am profoundly moved by just about everything that’s going on… I’m excited about the future. I think this is a real hopeful sign to the world.”