Md. priest becomes first lesbian Episcopal bishop
The Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool, canon to the bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, was elected bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles on Saturday.
The Annapolis resident is the first openly lesbian priest to be elected a bishop in the Episcopal Church, and is the first openly gay bishop chosen since the 2003 election of V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire brought a longstanding divide over homosexuality within the church out into the open.
“I’m 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, 55, told delegates at the diocese’s annual convention. “Thanks be to our loving, surprising God. I look forward, in the coming months, to getting to know you all better, as together we build up the Body of Christ for the world.”
Ordained in 1981, Glasspool served in parishes in Philadelphia and Boston and St. Margaret’s in Annapolis before becoming canon to the bishops in 2001, according to the release. She has served on the diocese’s Standing Committee, the board of Episcopal Community Services of Maryland, and has been elected four times to head the deputation to General Convention.
She is one of two priests elected bishops suffragan for Los Angeles on Saturday. As suffragans, they are to assist the Right Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop of Los Angeles.
The Right Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, bishop of Maryland, offered congratulations.
“This is a great day in the life of the Episcopal Church,” he said in a statement. “I have often said that the staff of the Diocese of Maryland is one of the finest in the Church. When one of its members is called to other important positions in the church, then all of us are honored. As canon to the bishops since 2001, Mary has distinguished herself as a faithful and gifted priest who is well prepared to assume the mantle of leadership incumbent upon a bishop.”
Glasspool’s election comes months after the Episcopal General Convention, the principal governing body of the church in the United States, voted to declare homosexuals eligible for any ordained ministry and began writing prayers to bless gay unions.
A smaller group has broken away to form the Anglican Church of North America, a conservative body seeking separate recognition within the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Vatican, meanwhile, has announced plans to make it easier for disaffected conservative Anglicans to join the Catholic Church.