When the Rev. Bonnie Perry’s name was announced last summer as one of three candidates for the post of Episcopal bishop of Minnesota, there was talk of her possibly being the next V. Gene Robinson, the Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop, elected in 2003. Since then, the denomination did not allow a homosexual into the episcopate until the Episcopal General Convention agreed last summer to allow more gay bishops.
This flung open the doors, as it were, and Ms. Perry, a Chicago priest who has a female partner of 22 years, was one of those nominated for bishop of Minnesota. That election was today, and there turned out to be five candidates when balloting started. She was one of those who dropped out early on because of a low number of votes. The winner, the Rev. Brian Prior, a Spokane priest, won on the fifth ballot. Read about it here on the Minnesota Diocese’s Web site. Ms. Perry was always a dark horse, I thought, as Mr. Prior is vice president of the Episcopal House of Deputies, an exalted title in the Episcopal Church. When Ms. Perry ran for bishop of California (San Francisco) in 2006, she also did poorly.
So the next place to watch in terms of who’ll-be-next-gay-bishop sweepstakes is the Diocese of Los Angeles in December, when two gay candidates, John L. Kirkley of San Francisco and Mary D. Glasspool of Baltimore, will be running for two suffragan bishop positions on Dec. 4-5.
Meanwhile, membership in the Episcopal Church continues to spiral downward. The latest numbers say it’s 2 million, and at the rate things are going, it will drop below that next year.
— Julia Duin, religion editor