Rowan Williams says election of lesbian bishop in L.A. raises 'serious questions'

Archbishop Rowan Williams / Canon Mary Glasspool
Archbishop Rowan Williams / Canon Mary Glasspool


This past Saturday, the six-county Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles elected the Rev. Cannon Mary Glasspool to the office of bishop suffragan. Glasspool, who is an openly partnered lesbian, was elected on a ballot taken by clergy and lay delegates in Riverside, California.  Archbishop Rowan Williams said that the selection of Glasspool “raises very serious questions” for the Anglican Communion.

“I am very excited about the future of the whole Episcopal Church, and I see the Diocese of Los Angeles leading the way into that future,” Glasspool told Episcopal News after her election.

After seven ballots, Glasspool received 153 clergy votes and 203 lay votes, which met the required majority.

Glasspool, 55, is the first openly lesbian Episcopal priest to be elected bishop after a ban on such elections was recently lifted. In 2003, Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire sparked controversy in the Anglican Communion after his election as an openly gay bishop, which prompted a temporary restriction on homosexual clergy being elected to high office.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams reacted to the choice of Glasspool on December 6, stating, “The election of Mary Glasspool by the Diocese of Los Angeles as suffragan bishop-elect raises very serious questions not just for the Episcopal Church and its place in the Anglican Communion but for the Communion as a whole.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury continued to say that the process of selection is only partially complete and that “the election has to be confirmed, or could be rejected, by diocesan bishops and diocesan standing committees.”

“That decision will have very important implications,” Archbishop Williams said.

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