News from the States

The news came through last night that the Anglican Communion is to have its second bishop who happens to have a gay partner. Canon Mary Glasspool was elected as a new suffragan bishop in Los Angeles a few months ago. What’s happened since is that the wider American church has had a chance to say yes or no to her appointment. The system in the US is that after an election, bishops with jurisdiction and diocesan standing committees are asked to confirm the election of a new bishop. There has to be a majority of both bishops and standing committees.

Our system is different in Scotland. It used to be that after an election, the College of Bishops was asked to confirm it. Now, the confirmation process takes place before the election in that the bishops agree to each of the names that go onto the shortlist, confirming that they will consecrate anyone from that list who is elected. (It is this confirmation process which our bishops have abandonned for partnered gay candidates in Scotland, preferring to declare a blanket ban on such people being considered rather than to accept due process and vote amongst themselves in regards to each candidate).

Anyway, Mary Glasspool has the requisite number of consents. She will be consecrated. There will be a fuss. The world will keep turning. She is not the first partnered lesbian bishop we are in full communion with anyway. That honour went to Eva Brunne some time ago.

I think people are weary of the fuss and generally just want to get on with being the church.

So, good wishes to the Diocese of Los Angeles and to Bishop-Elect Mary who will serve them. Peace and blessings be upon the fuss-makers.


  1. Elizabeth says

    This is indeed good news to cheer a gloomy Glasgow morning!

  2. Father Andrew Crosbie says

    Might this be the end of the Anglican Communion ?

    • I think the Anglican Communion as I understood it, ended at Dromantine in February 2005 when the Primates found themselves unable to share in Holy Communion one with another.

      By and large, the world has kept turning even though the Communion is broken.

  3. Father Andrew Crosbie says

    This is indeed true Kelvin, the world is still turning. I am glad that you acknowledge that the Anglican family is now divided. It is sometimes best for the health of family members to acknowledge when relationships are completey broken down. Perhaps now some of the notice boards at churches in Scotland will properly reflect this. The SEC is not in communion with all Anglicans worldwide. It is in communion with some Anglicans.

  4. Rosemary Hannah says

    It is always difficult in families – what do you do when the stroppy son storms out? When Uncle loses the plot and goes off on one? When Granny ignores everybody else’s plans and insists on one of her own?

    If you have any sense, what you do it to try to keep talking, and hope in time tempers cool. What you do not do is to give in to strops, or the strops of those who are, as it were, reactively stropping. You do not attempt to formalise the slammed door, the refusal to come to the dinner. You ignore the fact the cousins are sulking in the car park because of something which happened earlier. That is actually what you do. However tempted you are to cry: ‘Right! Fine! I’m letting everybody know that if you feel like that I want nothing more to do with you!’

    I am reminded of the old verse:

    If only the good were clever,
    If only the clever were good,
    The world would be better than ever
    We thought that it possibly could.

    But alas, it is seldom or never
    that either behave as they should
    For the good are so rude to the clever,
    The clever so cruel to the good.

    Substitute conservative and liberal and ….

    Let us agree that the SEC will welcome all Anglicans whatever their views. More constructive.

  5. Rosemary Hannah says

    That said – we can push the ‘family analogy too far. Unlike a family, the church is about more than keeping it all together. The church is prophetic. Which of course both sides of the discussion claim to be.

  6. ChickPea says

    I continue to be mindful of the ear, the eye, the foot, and the right and left hands……… and perhaps we could usefully muse further on the brain and nervous system, and the lungs/ breathing/ Breath Of God, even…………..

  7. David | Dah•veed says

    The SEC is not in communion with all Anglicans worldwide. It is in communion with some Anglicans.

    I think that the SEC by choice is in communion with all other Anglicans. Some other Anglicans perhaps by choice have decided to not be in communion with the SEC. Not one of us has any control over the decisions someone may make about their own relationships with others. So fretting about their decision does neither party any good.

  8. Revd Ross Kennedy says

    Re the Election of Canon Mary Glasspool to the Episcopate: it is quite sad when individuals whether gay, lesbian, liberal or conservative put their own personal aspirations before the unity of the Anglican Communion. This current obsession with sexuality and the triumphal trumpeting that always seems to accompany such apointments certainly reduces our effectiveness in proclaiming the Gospel.

  9. David | Dah•veed says

    it is quite sad when individuals whether gay, lesbian, liberal or conservative put their own personal aspirations before the unity of the Anglican Communion.

    I assume that you feel that you have been called to the ministry of the ordained. I am inclined to believe that from your statement that your personal theology could be a threat to the unity of the Anglican Communion, and yet you have placed your personal aspirations ahead of this unity and here you are ordained.

    Your flippant approach to the call of the Revd Canon Mary Glasspool is insulting. This was not a popularity contest that she has won. She has gone through probably the most extensive vetting process of any province in the entire Anglican Communion.

    1. She was nominated as a possible suffragan bishop for the Diocese of Los Angeles and vetted by the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles’ Suffragan Bishop Search Committee where, after prayerful consideration, she was eventually short listed as a candidate.
    2. After prayerful consideration, she was elected by the Diocese of Los Angeles’ Diocesan Convention; bishops, priests, deacons and laity, all the orders of ministry, represented in synod.
    3. The bishop-elect’s name was then sent to all of the bishops with jurisdiction and all of the diocesan Standing Committees of the Episcopal Church in the USA.
    4. After prayerful consideration each individual bishop made the decision as to whether s/he could accede to the consecration of the bishop-elect. She received the necessary majority of bishops acceding to her consecration.
    5. After prayerful consideration each Standing Committee; representing the orders of clergy and laity of the diocese, made the decision by majority vote as to whether it could accede to the consecration of the bishop-elect. She received the necessary majority of Standing Committees acceding to her consecration.

    When you cavalierly dismiss the reality of the actual process with your curt accusation of the bishop-elect placing her personal aspirations ahead of the unity of the AC, you trivialize the prayerful work of an entire province, in all of its orders of ministry, to call a suffragan bishop for the Diocese of Los Angeles.

  10. Rosemary Hannah says

    I don’t think it works like that Ross – I don’t think gay clergy, DO put their aspirations before the general good of the church. Is it for the general good of the church that all gay people should see when they look at the church is condemnation, or closet gays? Not in my estimation and not a church I would want to belong to!

    The Gospel is for all, and its prophetic nature inevitably brings about challenges. If the church was in all ways like a family then it might be true that sitting down and shutting up and not rocking the boat would be the way to grow. (Though heaven forfend MY family should ever be like that!!) But the real gospel is edgy, demanding and takes us to places which stretch us, way beyond our comfort zones. This issue of sexuality is ONE way (and only one) this happens. We proclaim more and not less effectively for this. The Gospel is not simply spiritual, or rather, not spiritual in a simple way. It is spiritual in ways that encompass the whole physical world and transforms it. All Christians are put out of their comfort zones by it, though not all by sexuality of course. One other way it makes his demand is by asking that we learn to ‘be one’ with those whose opinions we loathe. It is another tough lesson. We need to get on with learning it, though, because it teaches us much about that Jesus who so dramatically offended notions of spurious purity while demanding an ever-more radical life of commitment.

  11. Rosemary Hannah says

    P.S – great comment, David!

  12. Revd Ross Kennedy says

    Well, I have set the cat among the pigeons!

    To Father Kelvin I ask: was Jesus’ prayer for the unity of the Church just an obsession of his?

    To David I wish to say that my comment was in no sense meant to be flippant or insulting – such an accusation is both unfair and unjust. I was but expressing a deep concern that many fellow Anglicans have about the way that the issues of sexuality and of gender seems to be dominating many of the agendas of the Church. It would be great if we could move on to the task to which we have all as Christians been called – the proclaiming of the Good News of Jesus.

    I am not sure how my personal theology (of which you can only guess) could ever be a threat to the unity of the Church – certainly not at my age. Not do I have any personal aspirations – I am now retired – if I ever had one it was simply to be a parish priest.

    To Rosemary I would say that I do not ‘loathe’ anyone’s opinions – I might well disagree with them but I can only respect them if sincerely held.

    One final point : your reference to ‘closet gays” – do I detect in your use of this term an intolerance towards those who prefer to keep their personal lives private – or am I being unfair?

    One final point if the SEC really is an inclusive church
    (and I am fully in favour that it should be) why does there seem to be less room or tolerance for those who hold with ‘traditional’ theology.

    • Well, we don’t hear a great deal about what Jesus thought the church would become so he does seem very far from obsessed about it. (He does seem obsessed by other things, not least the way people use their money for example).

      I’m presuming you mean two verses in John 17: “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

      I’d say that’s about being one in Christ and perhaps recognising a sense of belonging one to another. I struggle rather a lot to think that it might be about any institutions or denominations at all.

      I can but presume that if Jesus’s prayer should be meant to be interpreted as asking God the Father for Anglicans to maintain a pseudo-unity at any cost, God the Father in his wisdom has said a resounding “no” to the request. Fearing the theological implications of that possibility, I’m prepared to conclude that maybe Jesus did not have Anglican troubles in mind at the time.

      I hold with traditional theology (not least in the fact that I say the Nicene Creed and mean it) and however much bother I may occasionally find myself in the thick of, I find that there is room for me in the SEC.

  13. Rosemary Hannah says

    Well, Ross, you may not loathe anybody’s opinions, but I confess I do. And I frequently struggle to love those who appear to look down on me and those I love and support because we hold the opinions we do. I get very angry when I am accused (and trust me, I very frequently HAVE been accused of this) of not being ‘really’ a Christian because of the views I hold. But you may equally believe me when I tell you that I always pray for the gift of tolerating and loving those others.

    ‘Closet gays’ – it is fine by me if people do not want to speak at all about their personal lives. It is not fine with me if people feel afraid that speaking about their lives because to do so invites reactions of disgust or condemnation.

    ‘Being one in Christ’ is the goal – but we are to be one as Jesus and his Father are one – and that must include openness, and trust, and respect. I doubt me that it contains great swathes of no-go subjects.

    Traditional theology? Great! All for it! Hold it myself! If, that is, you mean what to me are the key, core, creedal issues. To me, traditional views on gender and gender roles are not creedal issues, and do not do anything for inclusivity.

    Morally, I am pretty conservative, too. I certainly believe that EVERY Christian should live a life in which Christ comes first, and where dedication is a daily reality, and each person’s vocation before God is the top of their priorities. Where each works for justice for all, and makes the necessary sacrifices to ensure peace both in home and community, and on the national and international stage. Where peace and justice are one. Where each Christian positively serves the church, with the gifts of time and talent, seeking occasions to put themselves at her service. I believe we should also seek to serve the wider community, and those in it, and any life which does not find opportunities to offer help and support to others is some of missing life’s sweetness.

    I believe in orientation towards God at all times, and to our fellows, and away from self. I believe in a dispassionate love of self.

    Further, I believe the only place for sexual activity with others is in a committed long term relationship.

    I have to admit, that this comes a long way down my list of moral priorities, however, because personally I have a great deal more time managing my time and money than my sexuality (probably a reflection of my age, I fear!)

  14. Rosemary Hannah says

    Urgh, that should be ‘a great deal more trouble managing my time and money’ – soz.

  15. Zebadee says

    ” Personal asperations before the unity of the Anglican Communion” Oh come off it. The AC is dead in the water and perhaps this is a good thing

  16. Revd Ross Kennedy says

    That’s just great Rosemary – I’m with you in most of what you have written, although I still think ‘loathe’ is too strong a word.

    All the same, I’m afraid Imust remain one of Father Kelvin’s so called ‘fuss makers’ and I will continue to pray for the unity of the Anglican Communion as I believe it is of concern to God (if not to others) .

  17. David | Dah•veed says

    To David I wish to say that my comment was in no sense meant to be flippant or insulting – such an accusation is both unfair and unjust. I was but expressing a deep concern that many fellow Anglicans have about the way that the issues of sexuality and of gender seems to be dominating many of the agendas of the Church. It would be great if we could move on to the task to which we have all as Christians been called – the proclaiming of the Good News of Jesus.

    Father Ross, your original post is little more than a drive-by pot shot. Not unlike bored teens in a borrowed car, on a lonely rural road, with a BB or pellet gun and dozens of innocent mailboxes. There is no analysis, nor a tiny hint that you have tried to understand what has gone before and what this may mean for the GLBTQ folks for whom the Revd Canon has been directly called to proclaim the Good News of Jesus from the Episcopate of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and its parishes, or for the greater Episcopal Church in North, Central & South America, the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, and ultimately scattered throughout every province of the Anglican Communion.

    If you are the average, white, male Scottish cleric, then I doubt that you have ever been in a position of wanting acceptance of who you are, he who by God’s grace you are. You have never been part of a class denied equality, pressed into moratoria, nor asked to stand in a crucified place. Instead, from your insulting remark, you are one of those who always appears and shouts to the others of us to sit down and stop rocking the boat.

    Tell me Ross, what Gospel did you proclaim all those years? It must have been a very comfortable one. But was it the Gospel of The One who was always rocking the boat and making the comfortable, privileged male clerics of his generation uncomfortable? Because that is the true Gospel, the one that looks ever outward to find greater opportunities to draw the circle ever larger and bring in more unwanted and disenfranchised into its embrace..

    The coming of the Kingdom is perpetual. Again and again, freshness, novelty, power from beyond the world break in by unexpected paths bringing unexpected change. Those who cling to tradition and fear all novelty in God’s relation to the world deny the creative activity of the Holy Sprit, and forget that what is now tradition was once innovation; that the real Christian is always a revolutionary, belongs to a new race, and has been given a new name and a new song.
    Evelyn Underhill

  18. Revd Ross Kennedy says

    To David, my dear brother in Christ – ouch! But may the peace of the Lord be always with you.

    God bless and good night!


  19. I think we’ve fallen away from our usual standards here, and have moved from debating ideas to criticizing each other. That’s not going to help any of us.

    One of the ways in which the SEC (and this blog) is inclusive is in accepting that those who describe themselves as Christian are Christian, however challenging our theological differences. That basic good-will and trust seem to be a bit fragile in the comments right now too.

    Can we try again to return to the norms Kelvin has helped create over the years, and start treating each other a bit better, please?

  20. I agree with you, Kimberly, but think that the use of “we” in your comment is a little unfair on all but one of the people who have been commenting on this thread.

    I certainly wished to comment myself, and know Kelvin to be more than happy to chat/debate/answer questions etc. But the tone of one person’s responses to another has quite put me off. Which is a shame – for me, at least.

  21. Come on Nick, a lenient moderation policy is very much *conducive* to fair and open dialogue. Much better than assuming the worst and banning comments which, irrespective of what some identify as an unhelpful tone, very much do not run afoul of Kelvin’s moderation policy. After all, you think the “Christian” Institute’s stories on the SEC are accurate (they’re not) and non-offensive; others would disagree. Kelvin moderating every comment, aside from the time commitment, would surely preclude much genuine debate. Nothing kills debate like heavy-handed sour maid “moderation”. If nothing else, the indepth and factual nature of David’s responses are very far from the mindless flaming that usually denotes a troll. He’d probably get banned from the st.silas “egroup”, but that says far more about its failings than his 😉

    • Ryan – do take care not to be naughty to Nick when he is feeling sensitive and shy. He is expressing his emotional side. (Rugby players are like that, Ryan. Don’t you know anything about them….?)

      Let us all try not to jump down one another’s throats. Huh?

      Moderation is on for some comments. (Here is a hint, it depends at the moment on your use of certain words, a list of which I won’t be publishing).

      One or two people who have posted to this blog in the past have all their comments moderated by me. Since I started this blog in 2005, I’ve only set it to competely ignore the postings of a couple of people whose postings seemed to me to be unacceptable for the goodwill of those who hang out here. The only time I’ve ever banned someone for theological reasons was someone who was becoming rather boring about substitutionary atonement. When I chose to do that, the system simply deletes posts from that person without me seeing any more of them.

      I continue to enjoy the postings of those who disagree with me. I will continue to feel free either to moderate or delete comments which seem to me to be outside the bounds of what is helpful to community life on this blog.

      With regard to David | Dah•veed’s comment earlier about Fr Ross, I know that I don’t know Fr Ross well enough to make presumptions of that kind and not knowing him, I’d not be inclined to have made such a comment with the force that it had myself. I also know that David | Dah•veed does not write with English as his first language, and it may be that he might want to reflect on whether he went just a little further and used a little more force than he might have done.

  22. Revd Ross Kennedy says

    Re: Ryan’s comment: For goodness sake don’t take the “Christian Institute” as an example of how to promote dialogue – they don’t seem to know the meaning of the word.
    I am afraid David’s statements regarding me personally and my style of ministry are very far from ‘factual’ and are based on nothing more than the few comments I made on a certain matter. Certainly not an’ indepth or factual’ analysis of who I am and what I think.

  23. Nick, sorry if you got tarred with my ‘we’. Of course, not everyone got caught up in the tensions. I do think that more than one person has been involved in unpleasantness in the comments (generally) lately. Perhaps my early morning ‘be nice’ was unwise.

  24. David | Dah•veed says

    I have returned to this blog almost a dozen times to compose a comment and each time have abandoned my effort because I do not wish to be insulting to Father Kelvin and the level of discourse he has set for his blog, nor at the same time have to apologize that I am not a tea & scones type of guy. I eat tacos by hand from carts in the street.

    Father Ross, I intended my words to sting, to apologize and say that was not my intention would be a lie. And yet even in hurling words you found hurtful, or which you say are unrepresentative of you or your ministry, you still seem to have failed to see any of yourself reflected back. In hit & run fashion you judged the life and ministry of the bishop-elect and the many folks in Dio LA, TEC and scattered in many AC provinces who were/are involved in her elevation, whether by vetting and election process, assenting to her election, or just simply lifting this election and assent in prayer. You judged us and found us wanting because we did not/do not choose any longer to sacrifice ourselves on the idolatrous alter of AC unity.

    I think that I am too unrefined and rough around the edges to comment here. I spend more time participating in the internet because I spend so much more time in my home than in the past. It is a dangerous place, Mexico right now. There is a civil war occurring in our streets between our military and drug gangs and traffickers. When I leave home now, it is in carefully planned trips with other members of my local family and an armed escort (also family). We are not individually wealthy, but we are from an agricultural co-operative village of extended family, and so corporately have money and are subject to kidnap for ransom. Those situations almost always end tragically here. We have buried three extended family members who were unwise or simply caught off guard over the last five years. As does every member of my family over 18, men & women, I personally carry two weapons at all times. I can use them with accurate and deadly aim. Unfortunately, if you must use a weapon here in Mexico you must draw it with intent to kill, if not to save yourself, at least for those whom you love.

    I do apologize that I bring that baggage with me when I comment. I do not suffer fools happily. I have had to stand my ground far too often with racists and bigots as well, as I have been confronted by them face to face in the streets of the USA, in spite of being there legally. Also, what is but frank conversation in my culture does not always seem to translate to just frankly speaking in English. However, participating in Anglican blogs has filled a hole in my life of having more contact with Christian people. It is not always fair or safe for parishes here when a family rolls up for worship in an armed convoy of four SUV-type 4x4s and ready for small arms warfare!

  25. Revd Ross Kennedy says

    Thank you David – I do appreciate the time and effort you have taken to explain your very strong feelings which I do understand and respect. Just to let you know something of my background: I am a single man aged 70 years of age and because I am single some people assume that I am gay which amuses me most of the time but irritates when I encounter ignorance and prejudice. I come from a working class Scottish family (although my extended family is of mixed race) where seven of us shared a two bed roomed house – I failed my eleven plus, was educated in a tough secondary school, worked in several factories and in general and psychiatric hospitals , including a venereal diseases clinic. And learned through all of that not to be judgemental – although I have to confess that, at times, I am.
    In did not intend to insult Canon Mary by my comment – I have read much of what she has said and recognise and accept that she is a very sincere Christian, active in the Lord’s work. I also have a deep love and concern for the Episcopal Church in America because it was in one of their churches, during a visit, to New York City, that I rediscovered my Christian faith and my vocation to serve God (which I fulfilled in the Church of England). My concern (perhaps poorly expressed) in my initial comment was not about Canon Mary’s suitability but about the disunity that is fragmenting the American Church due to the all the arguments about sexual ethics, etc – arguments which have resulted in whole dioceses and parishes breaking away. All this was compounded, I believe, by the fact that the Episcopal Church (TEC) decided to ignore the pleadings of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Anglican Consultative Council for ‘gracious restraint’ in these matters . I am sadly of the opinion, rightly or wrongly, that the decisions of the American Primate, the majority of the Episcopal Bishops ( though not all) and the electing bodies in confirming the good Canon’s appointmnt have merely exacerbated the deep and wounding divisions within the American Church. Now the disturbing news is that there are squabbles and litigations over church properties – hardly edifying for the Body of Christ.
    Anyway I do hope that explains my position more clearly and that in spite of our different viewpoints we can remain brothers in Christ.
    May God bless you,

  26. > It is not always fair or safe for parishes here when a family rolls up for worship in an armed convoy of four SUV-type 4×4s and ready for small arms warfare!

    And Fr.Kelvin thinks the South Side is a bit rough…. 😉

    For what it’s worth David – I , for one, would miss your comments if you decided to abstain from posting here.

  27. David, I too have been very glad for your participation in these conversations over many months (years?). Often, you bring clarity and insight from a very different context. Thank you for sharing so much of your situation too. Please stay with us.

  28. Zebadee says

    David we welcome your comments and insights at all times as we also welcome the comments of others. I agree with the wonderfull Kimberly please stay with us

  29. David | Dah•veed says


    I was in part thinking out loud that I might not have the refinements required for posting to a proper Anglican blog.

    You lot are stuck with me unless/until Father K throws me out!

    I shall work on keeping my latin blood in check, not taking offense too quickly or too personally and approaching posts like Father R’s first one from a different tact.

    No te tomes nada personalmente: Lo que los demás dicen y hacen es una proyección de su propia realidad, de su propio sueño. Nada de lo que hacen es por ti. Cuando seas inmune a las opiniones y los actos de los demás, dejaras de ser la víctima de un sufrimiento innecesario.

    Don’t Take Anything Personally: What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. Nothing others do is because of you. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

    Don Miguel Ruiz
    The Four Agreements

  30. Steve says

    This is all quite edifying. Ecce quam bonum et quam iucundum habitare fratres sororesque in unum


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