Episcopal Church moves to elect more gay bishops

August 3, 2009

Episcopal Church leaders in Los Angeles on Sunday nominated an openly gay priest and an openly lesbian priest as bishops in a move sure to ratchet up tensions in the global Anglican Communion.

The move follows an announcement on Saturday by the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota of three candidates identified to become the Bishop of Minnesota, including a partnered lesbian priest in Chicago.


The nominations come just weeks after the 2 million-member Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of Anglicanism, lifted a de facto ban on the consecration of gay bishops that was seen as a “ceasefire” between liberal and conservative factions in the American church and the wider communion. You can see our story here.

Church unity has been strained since 2003, when the Episcopal Church consecrated Gene Robinson of New Hampshire as the first bishop in Anglican history known to be in an openly gay relationship. None have been elected since then but the subsequent truce now seems to be over.

This whole saga has provoked huge divisions and break-aways within the Episcopal Church and the 80-million member global Anglican Communion, where provinces or churches in the developing world, especially Africa, take a dim view of same-sex relations.

It is also unfolding against the backdrop of the wider American cultural debate about gay rights and related issues.

Polls consistently show gays and lesbians enjoying growing acceptance in American society. But fast-growing faiths in the United States, such as many evangelical Protestant churches and the Mormon church, regard homosexual relations as sinful and proscribed by scripture.

What does all this mean for the Episcopal Church, which like many mainline Protestant denominations in the United States has been struggling with aging congregations and stagnant or declining membership? Will its liberal take on sexual orientation issues help attract some people to its flock, especially young people? Or are conservative Christians right when they say many social liberals are secular anyway and unlikely to go to a church regardless of its cultural views? And how does one explain the divergence between growing social acceptance of gays and lesbians in America with the fast pace of growth of conservative denominations which regard their lifestyle and orientation as sinful?

(Photo: Cleve Jones (L) looks on as Bishop Gene Robinson kisses screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (R) as Robinson accepts the Kolzak award at the 20th GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles, California April 18, 2009. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation sponsors the awards which it says promote the accurate representation of gay and lesbian persons. REUTERS/Fred Prouser (UNITED STATES ENTERTAINMENT)


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In 2006, the Episcopal denomination passed a resolution stating that they would “exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion.” This took yet another resolution by the house of bishops to say that this really did apply to homosexuals as asked by the greater Communion. Now, a couple of weeks ago, they passed D025 which by everyone else’s reading overrode B033. This generated considerable negative reactions. So Ms Schori sent out a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, stating, “Some are concerned that the adoption of Resolution D025 has effectively repealed Resolution B033. That is not the case.”Oh, really? Now we have three openly homosexual candidates for three bishop positions. I am sure that Ms Schori will sending out requests for these candidates to withdraw…yeah, right.Jesus said, “Let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no. Anything else is of the evil one.”For Ms Schori and the rest of the liberals, we have their ‘yes’ is maybe and their ‘no’ is maybe, and we may conclude they are of the evil one.

Posted by robroy | Report as abusive

Our church was asked to participate in a school graduation,there was an episcopalian church on the same block, so we asked the vicar if he would like to attend.He accepted and we asked if he would like to give a short address to the children,and he agreed.The beginning of his talk began by advise the children,”BEWARE CHILDREN DON,T BELIEVE EVERY THING YOU READ IN THE BIBLE” To me this typifies the direction this denomination took years ago to try to fill declining congregations.the move away from the truth has “grieved”the spirit of god in my estimation,and now in his place what spirit now has inherited this all roads lead to god group of people?

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive