Episcopal Church Nominates Gay Priests for Office

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LOS ANGELES - One day after an Episcopal search committee in Minnesota nominated a lesbian priest for the office of bishop, the Diocese of Los Angeles followed suit by nominating two openly gay clerics for assistant bishop positions.

Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool, 55, a lesbian who serves as canon to the bishops in the Maryland diocese and Rev. John L. Kirkley, 42, a homosexual who serves as rector of St. John the Evangelist Church in San Jose, Calif., were nominated.

"I affirm each and everyone of these candidates, and I am pleased with the wide diversity they offer this diocese," read a statement by the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, bishop of the Los Angeles diocese.

The other nominee, Rev. Bonnie Perry, 47, rector of All Saints' Episcopal Church in Chicago, has been in a 17-year relationship with Rev. Susan Harris, who is also an Episcopal priest.

"As we continue to discern God's call, I pray that we will bear witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ that changes people's lives and proclaims the profound inclusivity and hospitality of God," Rev. Perry said in a statement.

At the Episcopal General Convention on July 14 in Anaheim, Calif., members reversed the temporary moratorium on promoting gay and lesbian priests, which was adopted three years ago when V. Gene Robinson was ordained as the first openly gay Episcopal bishop.

"What happened really is we gave the green light for dioceses to do the right thing," Rev. Susan Russell, president of Integrity USA, an Episcopal gay advocacy group said.

Robinson's ordination in 2003 prompted Anglican leaders to ask for a temporary ban on promoting any more gay priests until they could reach some kind of a compromise to prevent the 80-million member Anglican Communion from splitting.

President Barack Obama asked Bishop Robinson to give the invocation at his inauguration in January.

The Episcopal church is the United States is part of the Anglican Communion global network, which had its beginnings in the Church of England.

Sources: The Associated Press, The New York Times

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