Thursday, December 24, 2009

Help Integrity Uganda During The 12 Days Of Christmas!

No doubt you have been following recent news about the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill that is currently before the Ugandan Parliament.  If passed, LGBT Ugandans could be punished with life imprisonment or even death. 

Now, more than ever, LGBT Anglicans in Uganda need our prayers and financial support.  That's why Integrity USA's Board of Directors has designated 10% of all donations received during the 100,000 Blessings campaign to the Hopkins Fund for Global Mission—almost all of which will be allocated to the ministry of Integrity Uganda during 2010.

It costs $700 per month to provide the members of Integrity Uganda with a safe meeting space, public transportation to worship, and emergency assistance with basic living expenses.  Many members have little or no income--they have been fired from their jobs and ostracized by their families because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.  Health care for malaria and HIV/AIDS is financially unobtainable for some.

During Christmastide, we're asking you to make a gift to the 100,000 Blessings campaign so that Integrity USA can continue providing vital aid to our sisters and brothers in Uganda.  Our goal is to raise at least $8400 for Integrity Uganda during the next 12 days.

A contribution of $1000 or more will qualify you for lifetime membership.  If you wish, you may give in honor or memory of a loved one. Remember that donations to Integrity are tax-deductible.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Statement from The Rt. Rev. Mark S. Sisk on The "Anti-Homosexuality Laws" proposed in Uganda.

December 22, 2009

The Ugandan government's proposal to intensify the sanctions provided in its contemptible laws criminalizing homosexuality has rightly drawn condemnation from those who love justice and respect human dignity.

I write now, very briefly, simply to join my voice with those that have been raised in opposition to this affront. To put the matter bluntly: for a Christian, no matter how many carefully culled Bible passages might be cited, no matter how lofty the spokesperson, there are no circumstances whatsoever that justify such oppression. Such tyranny is an offense to God. Happily the Anglican Communion is clearly on record supporting this view. Among others, I make reference to the actions of several Lambeth Conferences as well as to statements from the Primates Meetings, most recently their Dromantine Communiqué of 2005.

I do understand that in some places, Uganda being one of them, homosexuality is considered either a sin or a sickness (it could not be both); never-the-less neither understanding remotely justifies these terrible laws. I urge all Christian communities in Uganda to join together with a single voice in opposition to this outrage.

Further I urge that each and all of us examine and reexamine our own lives and repent of those injustices of which we are witting and unwitting participants.

Monday, December 21, 2009


From the LA Times

The city legislature passes a bill redefining marriage as a 'free union between two people.' The mayor is expected to sign it into law.

By Tracy Wilkinson
3:30 PM PST, December 21, 2009
Reporting from Mexico City

The Mexico City government approved a far-reaching gay-rights bill Monday, voting to allow people of the same sex to marry and to adopt children.Ending a lively debate and turning aside opposition from the influential Roman Catholic Church, this massive city's leftist-dominated legislature approved the measure by a 39-20 vote. Mayor Marcelo Ebrard must sign the bill into law, and he is expected to do so.

"This is wonderful," gay-rights activist Judith Vasquez said from the noisy legislature floor. Gay "couples have effectively been together for years, decades, centuries. But now it is our right."Uruguay was the first country in Latin America to recognize same-sex unions. But Mexico City's initiative goes further by rewriting the law to redefine "marriage" as a "free union between two people."

Several countries, most of them in Europe, and a handful of U.S. states have legalized same-sex marriage in recent years, and the issue is being hotly debated in some parts of predominantly Catholic Latin America.

Opposition to the measure in the city's legislature came mainly from the conservative National Action Party of President Felipe Calderon.

The church labeled the proposal immoral, saying marriage must hold the promise of procreation, something that is only possible between a man and a woman."It is an aberration," said activist Jorge Serrano Limon. "Marriage cannot be between men. That is absurd."
Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times

Friday, December 18, 2009


As we approach the nativity of Christ, we need to remember the admonition of the angels to the shepherds: “Be not afraid.”

The Episcopal Church, a member of the Anglican Communion, for more than the past 30 years has been working on gradual, full incorporation of gay and lesbian people. We have worked to be people of gracious restraint for all these years and have now come to a place in our lives that is normal evolutionary change which compels us to move from tolerance to full inclusion.

As with racial and cultural divides, we can look to the great words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who calls us not to fall prey to the insidious drug of gradualism. Indeed, as he said in his speech titled “I Have a Dream”: “This is no time…to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism…. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”

We must move forward and respect the dignity of all human beings which is called for in our Baptismal Covenant and canons.

The Diocese of Los Angeles has acted in good faith and is moving forward in supporting the full inclusion and full humanity of all people in the Church. Thus, we celebrate the elections of Diane Jardine Bruce and Mary Douglas Glasspool as our next Bishops Suffragan called to share in the work of a strong episcopal team serving this Diocese and all of God’s people.

The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, Bishop Diocesan

From the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion


The following resolution was passed by the Standing Committee of theAnglican Communion meeting in London on 15-18 December, and approved forpublic distribution.

Resolved that, in the light of:

1. The recent episcopal nomination in the Diocese of Los Angeles of apartnered lesbian candidate

2. The decisions in a number of US and Canadian dioceses to proceedwith formal ceremonies of same-sex blessings

3. Continuing cross-jurisdictional activity within the Communion

The Standing Committee strongly reaffirm Resolution 14.09 of ACC 14supporting the three moratoria proposed by the Windsor Report and theassociated request for gracious restraint in respect of actions thatendanger the unity of the Anglican Communion by going against thedeclared view of the Instruments of Communion.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Reposted from Episcopal Cafe

Anglicans in Uganda are currently encouraging passage of a harsh new law that would institute the death penalty for some homosexual acts and would punish with severe prison sentences those who fail to report the homosexuality of those whom they counsel or even just know. The legislation will encourage the most vicious kinds of witch hunts. One Anglican priest in Uganda has likened lesbians and gays to "cockroaches." International human rights organizations are alarmed that this legislation may actually pass.
This violence has a long history, especially among the British and those whom the British have influenced.
The Napoleonic Code (1804) led to radical reform of almost all law in most of Europe. One of its effects was the decriminalization of consensual homosexual acts throughout most of Europe, except in England.
That was no accident, and the Church of England was one of the main obstacles to reform of Britain's sodomy laws.
Britain continued to execute homosexuals for five more decades. England's last execution for sodomy occurred in 1857.
While the death penalty was still on the books, many visitors from the Continent wrote of their horror at the flagrant public pillorying of homosexuals in Britain. (See a brief account of the Vere Street Coterie,1810.)
The British obsession led Lord Byron to spend most of his adult life on the Continent. He and his homosexual friends called themselves "Methodists" as code for "homosexuals" in their private correspondence. (See extensive accounts in Louis Crompton's Byron and Greek Love, University of California Press, 1985; see also Crompton's Homosexuality and Civilization, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003)
Even after the death penalty was removed, the British fervor against gays continued little abated. Witness the conviction with jail and hard labor sentence for Oscar Wilde in 1895.
Wilde died only five years later, in 1900, a completely broken man, and it took more than six decades thereafter before Britain decriminalized consensual homosexuality (1967), almost a decade after decriminalizing heterosexual prostitution.
Britain's decriminalization of consensual homosexual acts would likely have been delayed further had not the Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey, supported the reform.
There is much LGBT blood on the hands of the Church of England. Uganda is merely keeping alive those ancient uncouths, with help from the silence of Rowan Williams. Rowan Williams is no Michael Ramsey.
In the early 1971 one of the bishops from Florida shocked the Episcopal House of Bishops by asking on the floor of the house how he was to handle a priest whom he had discovered to be "queer." His raw candor shocked the House, which immediately established the House of Bishops Task Force on Homophiles and the Ministry (1971-76) so that such discussions could go underground. (Only Episcopalians could have come up with such a prissy name as "the House of Bishops Task Force on Homophiles and the Ministry"!)
In October 1974 I took out ads for a new publication, Integrity: Gay Episcopal Forum in The Episcopalian, The Advocate and The Living Church. Immediately I received a letter from Bishop John Walker, a member of this Task Force, asking me to meet with the Task Force in Washington as soon as possible. We met at Epiphany in Washington, DC, and to that meeting I brought with me copies fresh off the Xerox, of the first issue of the Forum, in which I called for chapters to be formed.
A priest named Tyndale and a layman named Wycliffe (who says the Holy Spirit does not have a sense of history?!), both from Chicago, but neither knowing the other, called me wanting to start a chapter. I put them in touch. They met in December and the following summer (1975) hosted the first national convention of Integrity at St. James Cathedral in Chicago.
In my papers stored in archives of the University of Michigan is a thick binder labeled "Episcopal Snide," a collection of hostile mail that I frequently received from bishops. Long ago I decided not to keep that collection near me. From the day I took out the ads, I understood that we all have much better news to tell to absolutely everybody. It is not ourselves whom we proclaim but Jesus as Lord and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
Louie Crew, professor emeritus of English at Rutgers University, is the founder of Integrity, and a longtime deputy to General Convention from the Diocese of Newark.

35 Years...100,000 Blessings

Dear members and friends:

The tipping point toward full inclusion in the Episcopal Church occurred this year! With your support, Integrity USA achieved both of its legislative goals during General Convention 2009: 

  1. We moved our denomination beyond discrimination in the episcopate with the passage of Resolution D025. Consequently, the Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool--who happens to be a partnered lesbian--was recently elected suffragan bishop by the Diocese of Los Angeles.
  2. We moved our denomination forward on marriage equality with the passage of Resolution C056. Already, more bishops are showing "generous pastoral discretion" by allowing their clergy to bless same-gender relationships.
We rejoice, but the work is not complete!

Our job over the next three years is to ensure that the policy changes achieved in Anaheim continue to become a living reality at all levels of our denomination—national, provincial, diocesan, and parochial. In order to do that, we need your help.

As Advent ends, Integrity USA begins a season of thanks that we call "100,000 Blessings." I invite you to share--either in text or video format--how Integrity has been a blessing to you during its 35 years of ministry. I also invite you to express your thanks with a financial gift so that Integrity can continue to be a blessing to others. Our campaign goal is $100,000.

Click here to visit the campaign website, upload a story, and make a donation.

A contribution of $1000 or more will qualify you for lifetime membership. If you wish, you may give in honor or memory of a loved one. Remember that donations to Integrity are tax-deductible.

Wishing you a very merry Christmas,

The Rev. David Norgard

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

D.C. Council Approves Gay Marriage

Published: December 15, 2009
Filed at 2:44 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Washington, D.C., City Council voted Tuesday to legalize gay marriage in the nation's capital, handing supporters a victory after a string of recent defeats in Maine, New York and New Jersey.

Mayor Adrian Fenty has promised to sign the bill, which passed 11-2, and gay couples could begin marrying as early as March. Congress, which has final say over Washington's laws, could reject it, but Democratic leaders have suggested they are reluctant to do so.
The bill had overwhelming support among council members and was expected to pass, though opponents have vowed to try to get Congress or voters to overturn it.

David Catania, who introduced the bill and is one of two openly gay council members, called the bill a ''matter of social justice'' before the vote.

Two members voted ''I do'' when their names came up, and when the vote finished a packed chamber erupted into cheers and clapping. The ''no'' votes included former mayor Marion Barry, now a council member.

If Congress does not reject the bill, the district will join Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and Vermont in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. They will be able to wed in New Hampshire starting in January.

Gay marriage supporters have had less success elsewhere recently. Maine voters overturned the state's same-sex marriage law last month. Earlier this month, the New York state Senate rejected a bill that would have allowed gay couples to marry. And New Jersey's legislature, which had been working on a same-sex marriage bill, postponed a recent vote when the measure appeared headed for defeat.

Tuesday's vote in the district came after several months of discussion, including two marathon council hearings at which some 250 witnesses testified.

Opponents included the Archdiocese of Washington, which said it might have to stop providing adoptions and other services because the law would force it to extend benefits to same-sex couples. But most who testified in this overwhelmingly Democratic city were supporters.
Some, teary-eyed, asked the council to let friends, relatives or themselves marry. One man proposed to his partner during his testimony.

law will likely take effect around St. Patrick's Day in this city of 600,000, which is about 1/17th the size of Rhode Island. Congress has 30 working days to reject it, but that has happened just three times in the past 25 years and appears unlikely in this case.

Still, opponents plan to try. Members of a group called Stand4Marriage, led by local pastor Bishop Harry Jackson, have met with members of Congress to urge them to oppose the bill.
Attorney Cleta Mitchell said that after Fenty signs the bill and it goes to Congress, the group will ask a district elections board to put a referendum on the ballot asking voters to overturn it. She said in a statement before the vote that the law is a ''decision for the people, not a dozen people at city hall.''

The group Mitchell represents made a similar request this summer, when the city passed a law recognizing gay marriages legally performed in other states. The board declined to put the issue on the ballot, saying that would violate a city human rights law.

The group also has a lawsuit pending from earlier this year, when it tried to get an initiative on the ballot asking voters to define marriage as between a man and a woman. The elections board again cited the human rights law in saying no. A hearing in that case is scheduled for February.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Archbishop of Canterbury, speaks.


From Episcopal News Service:

Archbishop discusses Uganda's proposed anti-homosexuality law in newspaper interview

By Mary Frances Schjonberg, December 14, 2009
[Episcopal News Service] In a Dec. 12 interview with a London newspaper, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said legislation pending in the Ugandan Parliament that would introduce the death penalty for people who violate portions of that country's anti-homosexuality laws "is of shocking severity." 
These were the first public comments Williams has made about the proposed changes to Uganda's existing laws against homosexuality. The bill being advanced by a member of parliament has drawn opposition from leaders and advocates in the Episcopal Church and elsewhere. 

"Overall, the proposed legislation is of shocking severity and I can’t see how it could be supported by any Anglican who is committed to what the communion has said in recent decades," Williams told a reporter for The Telegraph. 

Williams has reportedly worked behind the scenes to influence the situation; however his lack of a public statement has drawn criticism from some quarters. That criticism increased when he released a statementwithin 12 hours of the Diocese of Los Angeles electing the Rev. Canon Mary Glasspool, an openly lesbian and partnered woman, to be one of two new bishops suffragan.
Homosexuality in the African nation currently carries a penalty of up to life imprisonment. If passed, the proposed bill would introduce the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality," which includes assault against people under the age of 18 and those with disabilities, although recent reports are saying that politicians might be bowing to public pressure and reconsidering the severity of punishments proposed in the legislation. 

Opponents fear that people, including family members and clergy, who support and advise homosexual people could be prosecuted and punished under the proposed law. The law would give Ugandan courts jurisdiction over its citizens who violate the law "partly outside or partly in Uganda."

Williams added in his comments to The Telegraph that "Apart from invoking the death penalty, [the proposed bill] makes pastoral care impossible -- it seeks to turn pastors into informers." He also noted that while the Anglican Church in Uganda opposes the death penalty its archbishop, Henry Orombi, has not taken a position on the proposed changes to the law.
The Anglican Church of Uganda has said that it is studying the bill and does not yet have an official position on the proposed legislation. However, it reiterated the Ugandan church's position that "homosexual behavior is immoral and should not be promoted, supported, or condoned in any way as an 'alternative lifestyle.'"

Read the whole thing here.

So, we know he is aware of it---and are grateful for this---but we hope now that he has started to talk, he will continue the conversation and witness.

Just a reminder---if you have not seen the facebook group "Anglicans who want THIS statement from Canterbury", please join.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Remember Mary

In the midst of all the comment and predictable condemnation of the Diocese of Los Angeles’ election of Mary Glasspool as one of their new suffragan bishops, there are two people who are likely to get forgotten. Mary, and her partner Becki.

No doubt they have prepared themselves to be at the center of the storm for a while but it will be enormously costly. The first open lesbian to be ordained priest (Ellen Barrett, a former vice-President of integrity, in January 1977) was quite unprepared for the maelstrom of publicity and critical commentary and it affected her deeply. Bishop Gene Robinson may have been prepared but nonetheless continues to count the cost of being the first openly gay bishop.

Mary and Becki will be subjected to enormous pressure and public scrutiny. They need our prayers and love during the confirmation process and beyond. We give thanks for everyone who has been willing to sacrifice their own comfort in order to blaze a path for those who follow and those who are voiceless. Mary’s election gives hope to LGBT people and their friends and family across the globe. Let us not forget the cost of that hope.

The Rev. Caroline Hall (‘Caro’) is a graduate of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP). She grew up in the Church of England and had a varied career in social work, education and business in England, Scotland and the US before ordination. She is currently pursuing postgraduate work through the University of Leeds, UK.

Caro maintains a blog of her sermons here.

Friday, December 11, 2009


By The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Black, December 11, 2009

[Episcopal News Service] "Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry; Do not be silent at my tears." (Psalm 39:12)


That's what Denis, a field producer for the film Voices of Witness Africa and a gay Ugandan, told me when I asked about current conditions in Uganda for gay folks.

"The witch hunt has begun and will only get worse," said another friend, who asked to remain anonymous.

Sixteen years ago, those same words were spoken just a short distance away in neighboring Rwanda, where, in 100 days, some 1 million Tutsis were slaughtered. A visit to the Kigali Memorial Centre in Rwanda last year reminded me that genocide is never a spontaneous act. Those who committed the genocide in 1994 did not kill a million people overnight. They killed one, then another, then another ... day after day. The victims died one by one, their cries unheard or, worse, heard and ignored.

As the Ugandan Parliament considers anti-homosexuality legislation that could require the execution of some gay and lesbian people, I can't help but wonder what it will take for the cries of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender folks in Uganda to be heard. Who will act to stop it? What will the role of the church be?

Read the rest of Cynthia's article here.

LGCM hails election of lesbian Bishop and laments the response of Archbishop Rowan Williams

For immediate release

Rev. Sharon Ferguson, Chief Executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) has welcomed the announced election of the global Anglican Communion’s first openly lesbian Bishop.

Canon Mary Glasspool, 55, has been appointed as the new Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles, California within the Episcopal Church.

Rev. Sharon Ferguson said: “We are thrilled about the election of Mary Glasspool by the Diocese of Los Angeles as suffragan bishop. We are thankful for the wisdom, maturity and commitment to human rights which the Episcopal Church have demonstrated in this choice and pray that the same qualities will be shown by those who will ratify the decision.”

LGCM however joined with Christian groups within and beyond the Anglican Communion in questioning the rapid and immediate response of Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, especially in light of his sustained silence over the situation in Uganda.

Rev. Sharon Ferguson said: “LGCM notes with great concern, regret and some anger that instead of congratulating and encouraging the appointment of Mary Glasspool, Rowan Williams has condemned it. The Archbishop has said: ‘The election of Mary Glasspool 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.’ Yet it is really the Archbishop’s own response which raises very serious questions for us all.

“This statement of condemnation by the Archbishop contrasts starkly with his continued silence about proposed legislation in Uganda that could see homosexuals imprisoned and in some cases executed. Some Bishops in the Church of Uganda actively support this homophobic and oppressive legislation. We believe it is time for Rowan Williams to get his priorities right and decide at what point unity is less important than justice and human rights.”


For further details please contact Tony Green on 07909 022950 or Stephen Spencer on 07879 561627


Glasspool is in the eye of an Anglican storm

The newly elected assistant bishop in Los Angeles has become a symbol of hope for gays in the national church but a portent of doom for traditionalists worried about their denomination unraveling.

By Duke Helfand December 11, 2009

In the space of a week, Mary Glasspool has gone from being an obscure priest in Baltimore to the emblem of a growing international tempest over gay bishops in the Episcopal Church.

The lesbian priest with salt-and-pepper hair -- one of two newly elected suffragan, or assistant, bishops in Los Angeles -- has become a potent symbol of hope for gays in the national church but a portent of doom for traditionalists worried about their denomination unraveling.

Ask Glasspool, 55, about her central role in the turbulence that has drawn the disapproving eye of the archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual leader of the global Anglican Communion, and she offers a lament: The struggle for gay rights in the church has never been her primary mission, she says, even as she speaks proudly of her 22-year relationship with her partner, social worker Becki Sander.

Why, she wonders, should a single attribute come to define her after nearly three decades in ministry, years she has spent building congregations, tackling poverty and racism, and making official parish visits in her current role as canon, or senior assistant, to the Diocese of Maryland's bishops.

"You don't get a headline that says, 'Well-qualified priest elected bishop suffragan of the Diocese of Los Angeles,' " she said. "You don't get, 'Fabulous preacher or great joyful person elected.'

"What you get is, 'Lesbian priest.' It segregates out one of the many, many aspects of my personality."

Those who have worshiped and worked with Glasspool say she is, above all, a forthright and deeply religious woman who exudes a contagious energy and has an uncanny knack for connecting with parishioners. She is, they say, someone who long ago seemed destined for bigger things -- and who has kept her personal life largely private.

"It would be a shame if history only mentioned Mary Glasspool in terms of her sexuality," said the Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, primary bishop of the Diocese of Maryland. "She is about a lot more than that. That's why when she walks into a room, people don't see a lesbian. They see a woman of God."

But her commitment has not come without cost, with Sander for a time remaining all but invisible to her parishioners, Glasspool said.

The priest, who must be confirmed by a majority of Episcopal Church leaders, is the second gay bishop elected in the church, the U.S. branch of Anglicanism.

She follows the Rev. V. Gene Robinson, a partnered gay priest who was chosen as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003, an action that sent shock waves through the church of 2.1 million members and prompted an exodus of dozens of theologically conservative parishes and four dioceses.

After Robinson's consecration, the Episcopal Church agreed to refrain from electing additional gay bishops but reversed course at its national convention in Anaheim last summer, lifting its own de facto ban. The Diocese of Los Angeles is the first to test the new policy.

Robinson spoke with Glasspool before and after her election last weekend, telling the priest that her elevation reflected something larger than herself. And he offered her advice. "Staying close to God is the best rule to follow," Robinson said. "I told her that would stand her in good stead and keep everything else in perspective."

Glasspool grew up in New York and followed her father into the Episcopal priesthood, despite his objections to the ordination of women, an idea then gaining traction in the church. She recalls sitting down with him in his church office as a 19-year-old college student and delivering two pieces of news: one about her priestly ambition, the other about her sexual orientation.

"I came out to him," she recalled. "I said, 'I want you to know who I am. If you feel uncomfortable talking to me about the priesthood, I will go to another parish to do my discernment.' "

Glasspool said her father, who died in 1989, told her that he had suspected she was gay and that he wanted her to be happy.

As for the priesthood, Glasspool said her father asked her to meet with their church's vestry, saying he would abide by the decision. The vestry signed off on her candidacy and her father wrote a letter to the diocese on her behalf.

"I think he was secretly supportive but wanted to remain true to his colors," she said. "He allowed me to be an exception to the rule."

Glasspool was ordained in 1982 and, after a stint assisting the priest of a Philadelphia church, took her first position as rector of St. Luke's and St. Margaret's Church, a small congregation in Boston that was on the brink of closing.

Two parishioners said that she delivered heartfelt, scholarly sermons and personalized services in a way that drew new members. She addressed congregants by their first names while administering Communion, they recalled.

During her eight-year tenure, the congregation more than doubled in size, from its original 50 members, according to two of her parishioners.

Glasspool met her partner during this time when Sander, then studying theology and social work, came to interview her for an assignment on female pastors.

Sander became a regular member of the church, but not all in the congregation knew they were a couple.

"To tell the truth, I didn't even know she was gay," Henry Kettell, a longtime church member, said of Glasspool. "It never came up."

And the priest spoke about gay issues only as they related to civil rights for minorities, women and other groups, focusing instead on causes such as homelessness in the surrounding community, church members said.

Glasspool's sexual orientation also remained largely under the radar at her next assignment, as rector of St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in suburban Annapolis, Md. She was the first woman to lead the parish in its 317-year history.

Some in the congregation were not aware that their priest was gay. Others had misgivings but remained in the parish, two leaders recalled. A couple of families left, saying they did not approve of her personal life.

But the subject of Glasspool's sexual orientation was rarely discussed. Instead, parishioners largely embraced the priest, won over by her warmth, intelligence and openness to their involvement, said Jim Hall, the top lay leader at St. Margaret's when she was hired in 1992.

He said that Glasspool helped straighten out the parish's troubled finances and doubled its membership by the time she left in 2001 for her job with the diocese.

"Mary was like a breath of fresh air," Hall said. "She has the ability to talk to you in a crowd and make you feel like you're the only one in the room."

But Glasspool's new job had a downside. Because St. Margaret's was relatively conservative, her partner, Sander, was not active in the parish; Sander ultimately decided to attend another church that welcomed gays and lesbians.

Sander could not be reached for comment, but Glasspool said her partner chose the other church in order to find a more comfortable spiritual home and to avoid friction.

"Becki was very protective of me and did not want to jeopardize my effectiveness and capacity to be a priest for the people of St. Margaret's," Glasspool said.

Glasspool will find a different environment in Los Angeles, where the bishop, the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, supports greater rights for gays and lesbians. Still, she does not see herself becoming a crusader.

"I want to stay focused, stay centered spiritually," she said. "My top priority is serving God's people in God's church."

Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times


From the UK Guardian
Archbishop Rowan Williams urged to retract comments on election of lesbian bishopRowan Williams claims Mary Glasspool's confirmation would jeopardise relations in the US Episcopal Church

By Riazat Butt, Religious affairs correspondent
Friday 11 December 2009 02.01 GMT

Thousands of Anglicans have urged the Archbishop of Canterbury to repent following his tepid response to the election of a lesbian bishop in the US.

Members of a Facebook group, set up last Wednesday, accuse Rowan Williams of failing to "exercise moral leadership to protect gays and lesbians in Uganda and has instead exercised political pressure to attack a bishop-elect in Los Angeles because she is a lesbian".

Last weekend's election of Mary Glasspool prompted the archbishop to warn of "serious questions" about the place of the US Episcopal Church in the communion "and the communion as a whole", a reaction that dismayed liberals who are pressing for equality of lesbian and gay people in the life of the church.

There is also disappointment that Williams has been slow to condemn proposed anti-homosexuality legislation in Uganda. Read rest of article here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


On Wednesday morning, December 9th a new Facebook group was created: "Anglicans who want THIS statement from Canterbury. " In less than 48 hours, the membership of the group has swelled to over 2500 and counting. Members include former staff from Lambeth Palace and at least one current bishopsin the Episcopal Church. The statement the group is signing onto follows:


The Archbishop of Canterbury has failed to exercise moral leadership to protect gays & lesbians in Uganda and has instead exercised political pressure to attack a bishop-elect in Los Angeles because she is a lesbian.

As Anglicans who treasure their Communion and expect more from their Archbishop, in the Advent spirit of John the Baptist's cry to the religious leaders of his time, we call on+Rowan Williams to repent of his earlier statement and issue this one instead:

"The proposed legal actions that would make homosexuality punishable by death in Uganda, and the lack of outrage regarding this proposed action by the Church of Uganda, raises very serious questions not just for the Church of Uganda and its place in the Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as a whole."

"The proposed legislation has not yet become law, and could be rejected, with the Anglican Church of Uganda leading the opposition. That decision will have very important implications. The bishops of the Communion have collectively acknowledged that offering pastoral care and listening to the experience of homosexual persons is necessary if our bonds of mutual affection are to hold."

We believe with God all things are possible -- and we pray together during this Advent season of repentance and new beginnings for the revitalization of our Communion on behalf of the Gospel and for the liberation of all held captive by homophobia.

For more information contact:
The Reverend Canon Susan Russell, Chair
Diocese of Los Angeles Program Group on LGBT Ministry
All Saints Church
132 North Euclid Avenue
Pasadena CA 91101

Here We Go Again, Again.

So here we go again, again. The liberal Episcopal Church is about to split the Anglican Communion. Again. We are sacrificing Unity for a bastardization of the Truth. Again. We are failing to acknowledge the Authority of Scripture and the Importance of Marriage. Again.

The Los Angeles Diocese’s election of Mary Glasspool has sent all the pundits rushing to their various soapboxes. But the question now before the Episcopal Church is not who is right and who is wrong, but whether this election is indeed the work of the Holy Spirit. Mary’s election, as the election of Diane Jardine Bruce and Morris Thompson, all elected the same day, will have to be confirmed by the other dioceses before she is ordained bishop. 

Standing committees and diocesan bishops now have to discern whether Mary is called by God to this position. The last General Convention did not set aside Resolution BO39 from 2006, which requested them to exercise constraint in confirming candidates whose manner of life might be a challenge to the wider church. Instead it affirmed that God may and does call partnered gay people to all orders of the church and that in such situations we would use the normal discernment process. 

It is unusual for confirmation to be denied to someone who has been properly elected within their own diocese. When Jack Iker was elected in Fort Worth in 1993, conservatives were sure that he would not be confirmed as he opposed the ordination of women, but he was, because dioceses tend to uphold the autonomy of other dioceses provided they are acting in good faith and in line with canon law. More recently there have been contentious elections in South Carolina and Northern Michigan where the elected candidate was not confirmed by a majority of other dioceses.  Father Lawrence was eventually confirmed in South Carolina despite fears that he might lead the diocese out of the Episcopal Church. 

In both instances there were canonical irregularities as well as questions of orthodoxy. The Los Angeles diocese played by the rules, so no canonical issues have been raised. Even so, Mary’s confirmation is by no means a done deal, but it seems likely that she will receive the majority that she needs.  

Why is a lesbian bishop such a huge (negative) deal for some people?

Since the third century, bishops have been seen to be the guardians of the faith. For centuries, bishops have been appointed by other bishops, thus ensuring that the ‘true faith’  is passed safely from one generation to the next.  (The election of bishops is a new innovation.) For those who continue to believe that Christianity is predicated on heterosexuality (because they see the whole sweep of the Bible from Genesis on describing a God who created man and woman to be together as a symbol of the relationship within the Godhead) it is as ontologically impossible for a real bishop to be gay as for a turnip to be ordained. 

For them, ordaining a lesbian to the episcopacy is placing a symbol of not-Truth into the position in the Church responsible for guarding the Truth. This is, they say, equivalent to turning our backs on God, on scripture and on truth, not to mention threatening heterosexual marriage which is the very basis of Western-Civilization-As-We-Know-It. 

But Western-Civilization-As-We-Know-It hasn’t been doing such a great job looking after the planet, creating peace and goodwill among humankind let alone feeding orphans and widows and welcoming aliens. If it takes splitting the Anglican Communion (whose unity has always been more in the eye of the beholder than in the lived experience) to help us get real about living the Gospel and working for social justice, then so be it. We are needed to challenge Western Civilization to get on with the real work of bringing all beings into reconciliation with God.


The Rev. Caroline Hall (‘Caro’) is a graduate of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP). She grew up in the Church of England and had a varied career in social work, education and business in England, Scotland and the US before ordination. She is currently pursuing postgraduate work through the University of Leeds, UK.

Caro maintains a blog of her sermons here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


From Neil Houghton, Integrity USA's Vice President of Local Affairs

Dr. Louie Crew, Integrity's founder, sat in the back of the room. The fruits of tending the orchard of justice were born as both Bishops Diocesan from New Jersey spoke eloquently for marriage equality. This bill, if enacted, would bring New Jersey from a "civil union" state to one with full marriage equality. Many of us sat glued to audio stream as Bishop Mark Beckwith of the Diocese of Newark and Bishop George Councell of the Diocese of New Jersey testified before the Assembly Judiciary Committee. Julian Bond testified in favor and brought with him a letter from letter from Representative John Lewis also supporting the bill.

After the testimonies were heard many explained their votes. Once again it was a African-American woman who pleaded our case most eloquently. Representative Nia Gill spoke of the need to bring civil rights to all who are denied their constitutional rights.

In the New Jersey Daily Record, Bishop Beckwith's Op-Ed piece was published the yesterday as well.

"As much as marriage equality is about civil rights, it is also about the importance of supporting family values,” said Beckwith. To have the law, and one's community, recognize and support a family, especially in times of crisis (which the current Civil Union law does not provide), provides a level of stability for everyone. And the marriage equality bill honors the religious and civil rights of those who are licensed to perform marriages, but are opposed to same-gender marriages, by not requiring them to do so,"

"Before returning to New Jersey three years ago, I served a church in Massachusetts, which was the first state to introduce same-gender marriage. Since 2004, when the new law went into effect, Massachusetts has continued to lead the country as the state with the lowest divorce rate. The feared threat to marriage has not materialized. Families are stronger when all families are given the full support of the law. New Jersey should do the same."

The measure is expected to come to the floor of the full Legislature this week.


Houghton campaigned extensively for Mariage Equality in New York State where he is a resident and will continue to cover events in New jersey as well.

Mary Glasspool on her election


Inclusive Church UK writes to the Presiding Bishop and Bishop Jon Bruno

Thank you to Scott Gunn at Seven Whole Days and to Giles Goddard, Chair of Inclusive Church UK for passing along this correspondace. We think you should share and share widely!

Scott writes:
I received this message today from my good friend Giles Goddard, writing as Chair of Inclusive Church. This open letter is addressed to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and Bishop Jon Bruno of Los Angeles. It’s important for Americans to know that not all clergy in the Church of England are monolithic in their resistance to creating a church where all are welcome. Since it’s not yet on the IC website, I have included the entire text of the letter. I’m grateful for this voice from the UK. Please read it and pass it along!
Dear Bishop Katharine and Bishop Jon,
We congratulate you and the people of the Episcopal Church on the electoral process which has led to the election of the Revd Canon Diane Jardine Bruce and the Revd Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool as Suffragan Bishops of the Diocese of Los Angeles. We are aware that the process was carried out with great care and prayer, as will the decisions of Bishops and Standing Committees who consider whether to confirm the elections. We wish the elected candidates all joy in their ministries and assure them of our prayers.
The Anglican and Episcopalian tradition is, at its best, one which celebrates the breadth of human experience and welcomes the many ways in which we, as Christians, try to live out our vocations under God. We are therefore deeply sorry that the reaction from the Church of England to the election of Mary Glasspool has been at best grudging and at worst actively negative.
While it gives us no pleasure to dissociate ourselves from the sentiments expressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, whose wisdom in so many areas we deeply respect, we greatly regret the tone and content of his response, particularly in the context of his failure to make any comment on the seriously oppressive legislation being proposed in Uganda.
We wish you to know that there are a great many within the Church of England who like us are unequivocally supportive of TEC in being open to the election of bishops without regard to gender, race and sexuality. We pray that the Communion at large will grow in confidence and maturity, so that it can learn to celebrate both those things which hold us together and those things over which we disagree. In that context we greatly welcome the Theological Round Table on Human Sexuality recently announced by the Churches in India.
We urge you and your fellow Bishops and diocesan Standing Committees therefore not to be persuaded by responses from outside your province in considering the request to confirm these elections, and urge those who disagree to approach the Episcopal Church with a renewed and reinvigorated sense of trust in the actions of the Holy Spirit. As a Communion we are called to be an example to other Christians and those who have no belief. In a diverse and global world threatened by much, it is time now to move on from these questions which divide us and focus on responding to the huge challenges we face together.

Yours sincerely,
Giles Goddard
Chair, Inclusive Church

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


From The London Times
December 8, 2009

Friend of Dr Rowan Williams feels 'betrayed' by his stance on gays
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

A close friend of the Archbishop of Canterbury who was tutored by him at theological college said he felt betrayed by Dr Rowan Williams’ new-found opposition to gays and lesbians in the ordained ministry of the Anglican Communion.

The Rev Colin Coward, 64, who lives with a gay man and who preaches regularly at his local church in the Salisbury diocese, said that Dr Williams was aware of his sexuality and never once challenged it.

He said that about a quarter of the 50-plus students at his Cambridge theological college were gay and this was accepted by the Church of that era. Dr Williams was a tutor at Westcott House, a liberal college, from 1977 to 1980.

Speaking to The Times yesterday after Dr Williams warned of “important implications” of the consecration of a lesbian bishop in the US, Mr Coward said he was “deeply depressed and frustrated” that Dr Williams had spoken out against Canon Mary Glasspool within hours of her election as a suffragan in Los Angeles, while declining publicly to condemn the proposed new law in Uganda that will sentence large numbers of homosexuals to death and life in prison.

He warned that entire families and networks of friends were deserting the Church of England because of its hostility to lesbian and gay priests, and its refusal to bless the civil partnerships of gay people.

“The direction that Rowan is taking the Anglican Communion is compromising deeply the position of gay and lesbian people,” he said.

“What he is saying about the bishop in the US and what he is not saying about Uganda is disastrous. It just affirms the image of the Church of England as a place of prejudice and homophobia. I don’t think this is the end for the Church, but the future is difficult to predict.

“I am sure he is still the man I knew as being inclusive. I think he must be torn about inside.”
He added: “The part of me that knows Rowan as a friend still values him as a friend. But another part of me is incredibly disappointed. I feel betrayed and let down.”

But he praised Dr Williams’s teaching at Westcott House. “It was the first place I could be comfortably gay,” said Mr Coward, who went there aged 31 after an initial career as an architect.
“I cannot remember if I ever spoke directly to Rowan about it but it was a normal part of the atmosphere at Westcott. It was not an issue.”

Mr Coward was in parish ministry for 15 years and then left to set up Changing Attitude, which lobbies for acceptance of gay men and women in the Anglican Communion.

“Archbishop Rowan is wrong as a Christian, he is wrong for the Church of England and he is wrong for the Anglican Communion,” he said.

Mr Coward said the bishop who ordained him, the late Mervyn Stockwood of Southwark, also knew he was actively gay.

The US presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, a former oceanographer, is among those who have condemned the legislation currently being considered in Uganda.

It threatens life imprisonment or death to those found guilty of “any form of sexual relations between persons of the same sex”.

Bishop Schori said: “The Episcopal Church joins many other Christians and people of faith in urging the safeguarding of human rights everywhere. We do so in the understanding that efforts to criminalize homosexual behavior are incompatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Although the Anglican Church in Uganda has not taken a stand on either side, one bishop, Joseph Abura, has criticised opposition to the Bill.

He said: “Christianity in Africa is under attack by gays and Christians in Europe and the Americas. Africans do not need Europeans to teach them what the Gospels say.
“The vice of homosexuality through the necessary laws in place can be checked.”


Press Release from the National Council of Churches in India


We, the participants of the Theological Roundtable on Churches’ Response to Human Sexuality jointly organized by NCCI, SCEPTRE, CISRS, and SCMI, who are engaged in different ministries in Church and Society as Bishops, Church Leaders, Theological Educators, Research Scholars, Professional Counselors, Lawyers, and Activists with different sexual orientations, after several brainstorming discussions and sessions on Biblical, Theological, Ministerial, Ecclesiastical and Legal perspectives, resolve to send the following message on Human Sexuality to all Christian communities in India in general, and to the NCCI member churches, regional councils, theological institutions, Christian organizations, and our ecumenical partners in particular.

We affirm that sexuality is a divine gift, and hence God intends us to celebrate this divine gift in committed, consensual, and monogamous relationships. It is in such celebrations of our sexuality that we grow into the fullness of our humanity, and experience God in a special way.

We believe that our negative attitudes towards sexuality and our body-denying spirituality stem from our distorted understanding of God’s purpose for us. The embodied God who embraced flesh in Jesus Christ is the ground for us to love our bodies and to celebrate life and sexuality without abuse and misuse. So God invites us to experience sexual fulfillment in our committed relationships of justice-love with the commitment to be vulnerable, compassionate, and responsible.

We recognize that there are people with different sexual orientations. The very faith affirmation that the whole human community is created in the image of God irrespective of our sexual orientations makes it imperative on us to reject systemic and personal attitudes of homophobia and discrimination against sexual minorities. We consider the Delhi High Court verdict to “decriminalize consensual sexual acts of adults in private” upholding the fundamental constitutional and human rights to privacy and the life of dignity and non-discrimination of all citizens as a positive step.

We believe that the Church as ‘Just and Inclusive Community’ is called to become a community without walls to reach out to people who are stigmatized and demonized, and be a listening community to understand their pains, desires, and hopes.

We envision Church as a sanctuary to the ostracized who thirst for understanding, friendship, love, compassion and solidarity, and to join in their struggles to live out their God given lives. So we appeal to the Christian communities to sojourn with sexual minorities and their families without prejudice and discrimination, to provide them ministries of love, compassionate care, and justice.

We request the National Council of Churches in India and its members to initiate an in-depth theological study on Human Sexuality for better discernment of God’s purpose for us. This involves a deeper engagement with Bible, traditions, and other disciplines such as social theories, psychology, and medical science. This process should be an inclusive one where people with different sexual orientations can learn from each other and contribute to this process without prejudice and fear.

We also request the Theological Fraternities in India to help this process through integrating issues related to Human Sexuality into the process of theological and ministerial formation.
We hope and pray that the embodied God will bless our endeavors to grow into the fullness of life, and to transform our faith communities into rainbow communities of the beloved and equals.

The Participants
Theological Roundtable on Churches’ Response to Human Sexuality’
06th Dec. 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Chicago Consultation Asks Archbishop to Reconsider Statement and Silence

contact:  Rebecca Wilson, 330-524-2067,  
Asks Archbishop to Reconsider Statement and Silence 

CHICAGO, IL, December 7, 2009—The Chicago Consultation issued this statement today from its co-convener, the Rev. Lowell Grisham:

For weeks the Archbishop of Canterbury has been silent as the Ugandan legislature considers making homosexuality a crime punishable by death. Lambeth Palace has let it be known that it was working behind the scenes to influence the situation because public confrontation would be counterproductive and disrespectful. Yet the election of the Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool, a remarkably qualified gay woman as a suffragan bishop of Los Angeles, incited the Archbishop’s immediate statement of alarm, implying there would be grave consequences unless bishops and standing committees in the Episcopal Church refused to consent to her election.   

“Canon Glasspool is a qualified, respected and beloved servant of God whom the Diocese of Los Angeles has discerned has the gifts of the Spirit to help lead their ministry.  She is no threat to the work of God or to Jesus’ commandment that we love our neighbor as ourselves.  On the other hand, executing gay people and creating a state system of oppression is a gross violation of the spirit of the one who welcomed the outcast to his table. We are as perplexed by the Archbishop’s speedy condemnation of the former as we are by his prolonged silence of the latter.

“We believe that honoring the relationships and ministries of gay and lesbian Christians, is, in the end, the only way in which the Anglican Communion can be faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We hope that when the Archbishop realizes the damage he has done to the Communion’s ministry among gay and lesbian Christians and those who seek justice for them, he will reconsider both the words he has spoken and the words he has not.”

The Chicago Consultation, a group of Episcopal and Anglican bishops, clergy and lay people, supports the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians in the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion. To learn more about the Chicago Consultation, visit 

Statement from the Episcopal Women's Caucus

The Episcopal Women's Caucus rejoices in the historic election of two women as bishops suffragan in the Diocese of Los Angeles.

The Rev'd Canon Diane Bruce and The Rev'd Canon Mary Glasspool were elected in a history-making decision from a field of six excellent candidates.  Bruce was the first woman elected to the episcopacy in the history of the diocese where, just two bishops diocesan ago, women were not able to be ordained to the priesthood.  Glasspool is the first woman in The Episcopal church and Anglican Communion who is able to be honest and open about her sexual orientation.

With these two elections, the stained glass ceiling has not been shattered, but it has received a mighty crack.  We long for the day when all God's children with an authentic vocation to any of the four orders of ministry, tested and affirmed by God's people, will be able to live into God's call regardless of their gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, class or economic status, or physical ability.

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28

We offer our heartfelt thanks and praise to God and our gratitude to the people of the Diocese of LA. We pray for a swift and uneventful consent process and a joyful service of consecration.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


By the Reverend Canon Susan Russell, Chair of the Program Group on LGBT Ministry, Diocese of Los Angeles and immediate past president, Integrity USA

On Sunday, December 6th while the rest of us were lighting the second candle on the Advent wreath, the Archbishop of Canterbury was fanning the flames of homophobia.

The spiritual head of the Anglican Communion -- who has not yet managed to join church and human rights leaders around the globe in speaking out against the legislation pending that would kill people for being gay -- lost no time in issuing a statement that threatened the American Episcopal Church if we don’t kill the election of a gay bishop.

No wonder the church he leads is widely experienced as being utterly irrelevant. .

No wonder the communion he is so worried about is coming apart at the seams. .

No wonder Jesus wept.

We know that Jesus wept at the news of the death of his friend Lazarus. And I believe Jesus weeps today at the death of the great experiment of Anglican comprehensiveness that has been for four hundred years a bright beacon of what is and can be possible in living out the gospel in the world.

But even at the grave we make our song: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. For we know that the end of the Lazarus story is not one of death but of a new chance at life. And we know that our Redeemer not only lives, but that He calls for all of us to “come out” of the darkness of those things that blind us to the light of Christ present in each and every member of God’s beloved human family.

I believe Jesus stands now at the opening of the tomb the Archbishop of Canterbury has chosen to seal himself into and is calling to him the same way he called to Lazarus.

"Rowan, Come out!" Come out and join those who claim in this Advent season of both endings and beginnings the end of patriarchy and homophobia as we celebrate the beginning of new opportunities to proclaim the inclusive love of God to a world starving to hear it. To receive it. To be healed by it. To be transformed by it.

There is a crowd standing around the opening of that tomb just waiting. Waiting to hear Jesus speak again the words he said to his beloved Lazarus to our beloved Communion: “Unbind it. Set it free.” We are ready, willing and able to loosen the ties labeled ‘sexism, racism and homophobia’ – liberating our Anglican family of churches to claim authentic bonds of affection that will bind us together across our differences as a world wide communion of faith, love, compassion and justice.

It is never too late to do the right thing. It is not too late to claim the Advent promise Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori called “more hope than the world thinks is reasonable.”


Join us in the Diocese of Los Angeles, Archbishop Rowan, in lighting another candle for Advent. And partner with us as we work to extinguish – not fan – the flames of homophobia.

Statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury

The Archbishop who has uttered nary a word in opposition to the Ugandan "kill the gays" legislation ... WILL speak up in order to kill the election of a gay bishop?

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 process of selection however is only part complete. The election has
to be confirmed, or could be rejected, by diocesan bishops and diocesan
standing committees. That decision will have very important

The bishops of the Communion have collectively acknowledged that a
period of gracious restraint in respect of actions which are contrary to
the mind of the Communion is necessary if our bonds of mutual affection
are to hold.

Quotes from The Rev. Susan Russell, Immediate Past President of Integrity, On The Diocese of Los Angeles Elections of Two Bishops Suffragan

The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles made history this weekend when it elected not one but two women bishops.

"The big news for many will be that one of those women is a partnered lesbian. But the bigger news for me was that my church has actually become a place where candidates for bishop are evaluated on who they are, not who they love -- on the quality of their character, not on the orientation of their sexuality.

"These elections are good news to anyone who cares about justice, compassion, equality and inclusion as core moral values. Mary Glasspool will make an AMAZING bishop ... as will Diane Bruce.

"And as a Diocese of Los Angeles native who grew up in a church where I wasn't allowed to be an acolyte because I was a girl this weekend's actions by my church are nothing short of miraculous.

"Some will ask what message we are sending the rest of the Communion and my answer is that this is what the church looks like when it gets past the inclusion wars and quits allowing differences like gender, ethnicity, orientation or identity divide us. It's a great day to be an Episcopalian!"

Statement from Bishop Robinson on the elections in Los Angeles

The people of the Diocese of Los Angeles have elected two extraordinarily gifted priests to serve them as Suffragan Bishops. They have chosen the two people who, in their minds, and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, are best suited for this ministry, and one of them happens to be a lesbian. But let us be clear: it is Mary Glasspool's experience, skills and faith which will make her a good bishop, and are the reason for her election. Rightly so, the people of Los Angeles have not let current arguments over homosexuality or threats to “unity” impair their choosing the best persons for these ministries.

This is the Church we declared at this summer’s General Convention we would be, following God’s call to us as best we can discern it, and we are now living into that calling. I am delighted over the elections of Diane Bruce and Mary Glasspool and, upon consent by the wider church, look forward to welcoming them both into the House of Bishops.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chicago Consultation Celebrates Election of the Rev. Mary Glasspool


contact:  Rebecca Wilson, 330-524-2067,

Diocese of Los Angeles Elects Second Openly Gay Bishop in Anglican Communion

CHICAGO, IL, December 5, 2009—The Chicago Consultation issued this statement today from 
its co-convener, the Rev. Lowell Grisham:

"We celebrate the election today of the Rev. Mary Glasspool as Suffragan Bishop of Los Angeles. During her twenty-eight years as a priest, Bishop-elect Glasspool has served rich parishes and poor ones, cities and suburbs, and people from all walks of life. For the last eight years, she has been canon to the bishops in the Diocese of Maryland. Elected by the people of Los Angeles from a strong field of well-qualified nominees, Mary will be an excellent suffragan bishop for her new diocese and for the wider church.

"At General Convention earlier this year, the Episcopal Church affirmed that God calls partnered gay and lesbian people to all orders of ministry in the Episcopal Church. God has clearly been calling Mary to challenging and important ministries over and over during the course of her career. While there may be a temptation in some quarters to use Mary’s election to foment further controversy in the Anglican Communion, those of us who know her understand that this is simply the next chapter in a lifetime of service to her church. We are grateful to her and to her partner, Becki Sander, for answering a new call in Los Angeles.

"As Christians, we know that we can only fulfill the promise of our baptismal vows when all of our brothers and sisters in Christ can fulfill theirs.  Today the people of Los Angeles and Mary Glasspool have made it more possible for all Episcopalians to be the people God is calling us to be."

The Chicago Consultation, a group of Episcopal and Anglican bishops, clergy and lay people, supports the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians in the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion. To learn more about the Chicago Consultation, visit


Statement By Mary Glasspool

Gracias con todo mi corazon. I am not unaware of the many complicated dynamics that have been part of this election -- and I want to acknowledge them. Any group of people who have been oppressed because of any one, isolated aspect of their persons yearns for justice and equal rights. My own heart has been stressed deeply today. To Martir, I honor you and pledge you my ongoing love and support. To my Latino and Hispanic brothers and sisters, I say we're all in this together. We are all working to bring forward the reign of God on earth. So thank you with all my heart.

It is such an honor and a privilege to be among you wonderful people of the Diocese of Los Angeles. I'm deeply and forever grateful for the trust you've shown in me, and I look forward with great excitement to serving together with you, and alongside +Jon and Diane+, in furthering the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ in the world -- in whose name we are all honored to serve.

It has also been an enriching experience to get to know five incredible human beings who have dedicated all of their considerable gifts and life skills to the life and love of the Lord. You all can probably guess that it takes a lot of effort, even courage, to put yourself out there for public examination, questioning, and then voting. It speaks well of the Diocese of Los Angeles that a variety of such well-qualified people stood and stand before you. I hope you will continue to pray for all of us, as we continue to respond to God's call wherever that takes us. May I add my profound thanks to Bishop Bruno and Julian Bull and to all the Search Committee who worked very hard for lo these many months to get us all to this day.

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. But just for this moment, in the coming months, to getting to know you all better, as together we build up the Body of Christ for the world.

The Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool
December 5, 2009


December 5, 2009


Urges Confirmation by Bishops & Standing Committees

Riverside, CA--"Integrity salutes the election of the Reverend Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool as a bishop suffragan in the Diocese of Los Angeles, and as the second openly gay partnered bishop in the Episcopal Church." said Integrity President David Norgard. "Bishop-elect Glasspool brings to the diocese her experience of building strong congregations by providing pastoral care, vocational guidance, and support to clergy and their families. She brings to the House of Bishops her commitment to social justice. And she will bring to the Anglican Communion an incarnational witness to the Episcopal Church’s commitment to fully include all of the baptized into the Body of Christ. " 

"It takes both a courageous candidate and a courageous community to fully embrace inclusion and to be prepared for the public attention this historic opportunity offers the Episcopal Church and the United States of America at this time," said Norgard. "Today’s election means the Episcopal Church has taken another step toward the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments becoming a reality in the Episcopal Church--not just a resolution of General Convention.

"As Episcopalians, we are proud of the historic links between the founders of our church and the uniquely American democratic process that influences our church polity. We are very different from the Church of England and the Church of Rome, and we rejoice that lay members are valued for their significant role in the choosing of our leadership, and empowered to stand as radical witnesses that can heal past discrimination and prejudice.

"Integrity now calls upon Standing Committees and Bishops with jurisdiction to claim that proud history and consent to today’s election. For now, we pause to rejoice in this election. This is a big day for California, for their bishop-elect and, for the whole Church."

Integrity is the leading grassroots voice for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons in the Episcopal Church.

Media Contact

Louise Brooks, Communication Director
626-993-4605 (mobile)