London, Mar 19 (ANI): In what has been seen as a move likely to worsen divisions over homosexuality, an Anglican church in the US has approved the consecration of its first openly lesbian bishop.
The Episcopal Church of the USA, the most liberal province within the Anglican Communion, had been under pressure not to allow the Rev Mary Glasspool to become Assistant Bishop of Los Angeles.
Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, had warned its leaders personally not to take any decisions that would deepen the crisis over sexuality within the worldwide church.
But bishops and dioceses across the national church have now approved the consecration of Glasspool, after she was elected last year, and a ceremony has been scheduled for May 15.
She and the Rev Diane Bruce will become the first women bishops in Los Angeles.
Glasspool, a Canon in the Diocese of Maryland, has been with her female partner since 1988.
"I am also aware that not everyone rejoices in this election and consent, and will work, pray, and continue to extend my own hands and heart to bridge those gaps, and strengthen the bonds of affection among all people, in the Name of Jesus Christ," the Telegraph quoted her as saying.
The Rt Rev Jon Bruno, the Bishop of Los Angeles, said the move showed there were no barriers within the Episcopal Church based on "gender and sexual orientation".
"With the election of the Reverend Mary Glasspool, a partnered lesbian, as a Bishop in Los Angeles in The Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion reaches another decisive moment," the Most Rev Peter Jensen, the Archbishop of Sydney, said.
"It is now absolutely clear to all that the national Church itself has formally committed itself to a pattern of life which is contrary to Scripture.
"The election of Bishop Robinson in 2003 was not an aberration to be corrected in due course. It was a true indication of the heart of the Church and the direction of its affairs," he stated.
He claimed that traditionalists who have "patiently" remained within the Episcopal Church in recent years are likely to "distance themselves from those who have chosen to walk in the path of disobedience". (ANI)