about 700 priests and lay people will gather for a diocesan convention
at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco to elect a new bishop to replace
the retiring Rev. William Swing.
Three of the
seven candidates are openly gay, and choosing one of them to head the
diocese would further alienate some Episcopal members, reported the
candidates they'll consider will be two gay men - the Rev. Canon
Michael Barlowe of San Francisco, and the Very Rev. Robert Taylor of
Seattle - and a lesbian, the Rev. Bonnie Perry of Chicago. All three
live openly with same-sex partners.
The four other
candidates are: the Rt. Rev. Mark Handley Andrus of Birmingham, Ala.;
the Rev. Jane Gould of Lynn, Mass.; the Rev. Donald Schell of San
Francisco; and Canon Eugene Taylor Sutton of Washington National
Communion, with its 77 million followers in 164 countries, has been
torn over the issue of gay clergy for years. It became particularly
pronounced in 2003, when New Hampshire Episcopalians elected the Rev.
V. Gene Robinson, who has a longtime male partner, as their bishop.
Atwood of the Ekklesia Society, an Episcopal aid network based in
Carrollton, Texas, told the AP that Californians will likely ignore the
consequences of their actions on the worldwide communion and vote
according to “a mistaken understanding of justice issues.”
vote until one of the candidates gets a simple majority. If there is no
winner, another voting exercise will be held May 13.
cannot be consecrated without approval from the Episcopal church's
legislative body, the General Convention, which meets in June.
of the Diocese of California will vote for a new bishop this weekend,
but the results may create greater division among already-tense
churches in the worldwide Anglican Communion.