Lesbian could head Episcopal diocese

.- A lesbian Episcopal priest has made the top-five list of bishop-candidates for the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. The list includes three women. No woman has ever been a finalist before.

"I believe that accepting this nomination is what God is asking of me," Rev. Tracey Lind said in a statement. The openly lesbian cleric is dean of Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland and author of Interrupted by God.

Bishop James Stanton of Dallas, a leader in the global effort against gay bishops, called Lind's nomination distressing.

"It's an action that says Chicago really doesn't care what the rest of the Anglican Communion says," he told the Sun-Times.

The worldwide Anglican Communion has been dealing with the possibility of schism since 2003, when the Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay bishop, the Rev. V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

"My life with my partner, Emily Ingalls [a cradle Episcopalian], is the gift that most sustains me," Lind's statement said. "Together, we tend our garden, travel, hike."

The Columbus native dropped out as a candidate for bishop in the Newark Diocese last year, saying she wasn't ready to leave Ohio. But she's told the Chicago diocese "the timing is now right," a spokesman said.

A diocesan search committee selected the candidates. Additional nominees can be made through a petition process. The election is Nov. 10.

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