The Episcopal Church has confirmed that it will ordain its second openly gay bishop.
After receiving the required majority of consents from the wider church, the Rev. Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool was informed on Wednesday by the presiding bishop's office that the consent process for her consecration was complete.
"I am profoundly grateful for the many people – in Los Angeles, in Maryland, and around the world – who have given their prayers, love, and support during this time of discernment," Glasspool said in a statement.
Glasspool, who has been with her lesbian partner since 1988, was elected in December to the office of bishop suffragan in the Diocese of Los Angeles. She had to receive a majority of consents from diocesan bishops and standing committees within 120 days. Wednesday's announcement confirms that she did.
Los Angeles Bishop the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno celebrated the news.
"I give thanks for this, and that the Standing Committees and Bishops have demonstrated through their consents that the Episcopal Church, by canon, creates no barrier for ministry on the basis of gender and sexual orientation, among other factors," he stated.
While the announcement did not surprise leaders in the denomination, some were still saddened by it.
"This decision represents not simply a change in doctrine, nor a single change in practice, but an established pattern of common life," said the Rev. Dr. Kendall S. Harmon, canon theologian of the Diocese of South Carolina. "It is contrary to the teaching of Holy Scripture and the mind of the church catholic."
Bishop David C. Anderson, president of the American Anglican Council, also lamented the consents and said the confirmation of Glasspool indicates that The Episcopal Church will not be returning to traditional Christian and Anglican teaching.
"What this means is the majority of The Episcopal Church's leaders – down to the diocesan level throughout America – are exercising no restraint as requested by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the primates of the Anglican Communion," Anderson said in a statement. "Despite pleas to the contrary, they have given their consent for a partnered lesbian to become a bishop, not just for Los Angeles, but for the whole church."
Since The Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay bishop in 2003, relationships between The Episcopal Church and much of the Anglican Communion have been strained or impaired, in some cases. As the worldwide Anglican Communion was splintering, Anglican bishops called for "gracious restraint" on the ordination of noncelibate homosexuals and the blessing of same-sex unions in an effort to keep the body together.
Nevertheless, last July The Episcopal Church's highest legislative body adopted a resolution opening the ordination process to all baptized members, which would include practicing homosexuals. The Episcopal Church is the U.S. arm of Anglicanism.
Glasspool has acknowledged that "not everyone rejoices" in her election and consent. But she said she "will work, pray, and continue to extend my own hands and heart to bridge those gaps, and strengthen the bonds of affection among all people, in the Name of Jesus Christ."
Glasspool is slated to become the second openly gay bishop in The Episcopal Church in May.