Episcopal Church likely to pass over lesbian candidate for bishop

October 29, 2007

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts SchoriIs there a straw that will break the Anglican Communion’s back? One move that, like the gay bishop consecration that started the current crisis, can trigger a landslide that finally pushes the Communion into schism? Religion reporters are now watching each and every conference and bishop’s election to see if it will hit the tripwire.

The next flashpoint in the Anglican Communion’s struggle with gay issues looked like it could come from Chicago, where the Episcopal (U.S. Anglican) diocese on November 10 will pick a new bishop from among eight candidates, one of them an openly gay woman. The Episcopal Church promised last month to “exercise restraint” in naming further homosexual prelates. In an interview this month, its Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori (in picture at right) stressed there would be “no outcasts in this Church.

Judging from how things look now, the lesbian Rev. Tracey Lind, who is now the dean of Cleveland’s Trinity Cathedral, may not be among the favorites vying for the post, Chicago Tribune religion reporter Manya Brachear reported on Monday.

Based on inteviews with church members who attended sessions where the candidates visited various congregations during the weekend, she wrote that the two favorites appear to be Rev. Jeffrey Lee, rector of St. Thomas Church in Medina, Washington, and Rev. Petero Sabune, chaplain of Sing Sing prison in New York state. They seemed to have connected more with the congregations than the six others, including Lind.

If chosen, Lind would be only the second openly gay bishop in Anglican history, the other being Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. If anything, the faithful in Chicago spoke more of Lind’s managerial and fundraising capabilities than they did about her sexual orientation, the report said. Those who favored Lee and Sabune emphasized their confidence and their feeling of personal connection.

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