The Anglican Communion will for the first time have a female bishop who is openly in a same-sex relationship. The Episcopal Church in the USA has confirmed the appointment of Mary Glasspool as suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Los Angeles.
While Glasspool was elected by her own diocese in December 2009, her appointment required consent from the US Episcopal Church as a whole. She will be consecrated on 15 May, along with another suffragan bishop, Diane Jardine Bruce.
During her election, Glasspool maintained that her sexuality was “not an issue". She will be the second bishop in the Anglican Communion to be openly in a same-sex relationship, following the appointment of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003.
“It is a privilege to serve in a Church gathered around the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ,” said Glasspool.
She said she was “profoundly grateful” to the many people “who have given their prayers, love, and support during this time of discernment”.
However, she added, “I am also aware that not everyone rejoices in this election and consent, and will work, pray, and continue to extend my own hands and heart to bridge those gaps, and strengthen the bonds of affection among all people, in the name of Jesus Christ”.
Glasspool’s election in December was heavily criticised by those opposed to the inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the Church. However, the consent from the national Church was warmly welcomed by Integrity, a Christian pro-inclusion group.
"Today's affirmation of the election of a superbly qualified candidate as a bishop in the Episcopal Church is good news not just for those who work for the fuller inclusion of the LGBT baptised, but for the whole church,” said Rev David Norgard, President of Integrity.
Bishop Glasspool, aged 56, was ordained in 1982. She has been in a long-term same-sex covenanted relationship for nineteen years.
Also on Ekklesia: 'Liberating the Anglican understanding of sexuality' by Savi Hensman - http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/10779