LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Seven years after the Episcopal Church caused an uproar by consecrating its first openly gay bishop, it has done the same thing again — only this time with a woman.
The Rev. Canon Mary Glasspool, of Baltimore, was ordained and consecrated on Saturday, making her the second openly gay bishop in church history and one of the first two female bishops in the Diocese of Los Angeles’ 114-year history.
The ceremony was at Long Beach Arena before 3,000 people, who burst into applause at the end, church spokesman Bob Williams said.
The Rev. Canon Diane M. Jardine Bruce, of San Clemente, Calif., was also ordained Saturday.
The two women were elected last December to serve as assistant bishops in the diocese’s six-county territory but conservative Episcopalians had urged the church not to ordain Glasspool. The decision to do so highlights a continued Episcopal commitment to accepting same-sex relationships despite enormous pressure from other Anglicans.
The Episcopal Church, which is the Anglican body in the United States, caused turmoil in the church in 2003 by consecrating the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.
Breakaway Episcopal conservatives have formed a rival church, the Anglican Church in North America.
Several overseas Anglicans have been pressuring Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the world’s 77 million Anglicans, to officially recognize the new conservative entity.
In 2004, Anglican leaders asked the Episcopal Church for a moratorium on electing another gay bishop while they tried to prevent a permanent break in the fellowship.
Since the request was made, some Episcopal gay priests have been nominated for bishop, but none was elected before Glasspool. In July 2009, the Episcopal General Convention, the U.S. church’s top policy making body, affirmed that gay and lesbian priests were eligible to become bishops.
Glasspool and Bruce, who leaves her post as pastor of St. Clement’s Episcopal Church in San Clemente, will also be the 16th and 17th women to be elected bishops since the first was selected for such a post in Massachusetts in 1988.
Glasspool, 56, an adviser, or canon, for eight years to the Diocese of Maryland’s bishop, said in an essay on the Los Angeles diocese Web site that she had an “intense struggle” while in college with her sexuality and the call to become a priest.