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Newly elected gay Episcopal bishop: Excited about church's future

December 5, 2009 |  4:09 pm
The Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool, newly elected bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, told delegates after her election that she was excited about the future of the national church. Glasspool, 55, is the first openly lesbian priest to be elected a bishop in the Episcopal Church.

"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 for just for this moment, let me say again, thank you, and thanks be to our loving and supporting God, a surprising God," Glasspool told delegates to the diocese's annual convention just after they elected her on the seventh balloting for one of two open suffragan, or assistant, bishop positions.

Referring to the current church season of Advent, a time of anticipation of the birth of Christ, Glasspool said, "This is my 56th Advent and I think I finally know the meaning of the word 'wait.' " The delegates laughed. Glasspool is the church's first openly gay priest to win election to the ranks of bishops since the controversial elevation of the Rev. V. Gene Robinson in 2003.

On Friday, the convention's first day, delegates elected the Rev. Canon Diane M. Jardine Bruce, an Orange County priest, to fill the other open suffragan position in the Los Angeles diocese.

Today, as he announced the vote that gave Glasspool a majority, Los Angeles Episcopal Bishop J. Jon Bruno's voice choked with emotion. Then he joked that someone had asked whether he could work with two women as his suffragan bishops. "I have to tell you I was born from a mother’s womb and I’ve been taking orders from women ever since," he said, adding, "I can assure you I can work with two women."

After her election, Glasspool was surrounded by supporters, both gay and straight. Several wept as they embraced her.

-- Larry Stammer in Riverside