The Archbishop of Canterbury has been slower to respond to the consecration of the Rt. Rev. Mary Douglas Glasspool as a bishop suffragan than he was after her Dec. 5, 2009, election.
When the Diocese of Los Angeles elected Glasspool the Archbishop of Canterbury responded the next day.
“The election of Mary Glasspool by the Diocese of Los Angeles as suffragan bishop elect raises very serious questions not just for the Episcopal Church and its place in the Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as a whole,” Archbishop Rowan Williams said then.
A few months later, in a video greeting to the fourth Global South to South Encounter, the archbishop referred to consultations regarding possible consequences for Glasspool’s consecration.
“All of us share the concern that in this decision and action the Episcopal Church has deepened the divide between itself and the rest of the Anglican family,” he said April 20. “And as I speak to you now, I am in discussion with a number of people around the world about what consequences might follow from that decision, and how we express the sense that most Anglicans will want to express, that this decision cannot speak for our common mind.”
Glasspool and her fellow bishop suffragan, the Rt. Rev. Diane Jardine Bruce, were consecrated May 15 at the Long Beach Convention Center.
One man stood early in the service, before the designated time for challenging the consecrations of either bishop. He waved a placard and shouted: “Repent of the sins of the homosexual. Repent of the sin of abortion.”
After the man was led out by security, a boy stood, held aloft what appeared to be a Bible and said “Repent” repeatedly. He too was led away by security.
Security did not arrest the man or the boy, diocesan spokesman Bob Williams told the Los Angeles Times.
Outside the convention center, protesters waved placards promoting OfficialStreetPreachers.com and urged repentance on people walking to the service.
Anglican leaders and activists have offered their interpretations of what Bishop Glasspool’s consecration means.
The Rev. Susan Russell, a past president of Integrity, wrote on her weblog, An Inch at a Time, that she thought repeatedly about the hymn “The Strife is O’er” during the consecration.
“I sang out of faith that the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep in the Easter that trumped Good Friday, is leading us forward into God’s future — a future beyond schism and division, beyond pain and polemic,” she wrote. “I sang out of hope that the steps we took Saturday in the Diocese of Los Angeles would be a beacon of light and life to all who are looking for signs of God’s love, peace, justice and compassion.”
Dr. Philip Giddings and the Rev. Canon Dr. Chris Sugden of Anglican Mainstream wrote that the consecration “shows that TEC has now explicitly decided to walk apart from most of the rest of the Communion.”
They urged three consequences to the consecration: “First, TEC withdrawing, or being excluded from the Anglican Communion’s representative bodies. Second, a way must be found to enable those orthodox Anglicans who remain within TEC to continue in fellowship with the Churches of the worldwide Communion. Third, the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) should now be recognized [as] an authentic Anglican Church within the Communion.”
The Rev. Tobias Haller turned the language of walking apart back on Anglican Mainstream.
“It is important to remember that any ‘rift’ or ‘tear’ or any such ‘transection’ is at this point ‘a rift in the Anglican Communion’ — it is not a rift between the Anglican Communion and some entity not a part (or no longer a part, as Anglican Mainstream and others would have it) of the Anglican Communion,” Haller wrote on his weblog, In a Godward Direction.
“No one has ‘walked apart’ from the rest of the Anglican Communion, except perhaps those portions of it, such as Nigeria and parts of GAFCON/FoCA [Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans], who have chosen actually to reject the See of Canterbury as a focal point for gathering the Anglican episcopate for consultation, or who have established separatist outposts within the confines of other Anglican jurisdictions, declaring they are out of communion with the larger body.”
Like Anglican Mainstream, the Rev. Todd H. Wetzel of Anglicans United sees the Glasspool consecration as proof that the Episcopal Church is rejecting fellowship with the broader Anglican Communion.
“As the Anglican Communion moved towards a more conscious and clearly defined commitment to biblical authority and the [conciliar] tradition of the Church Catholic, TEC moved in the opposite direction,” Wetzel wrote. “As the Anglican Communion moved towards increasing collegiality and interdependence, TEC moved (albeit with few other Western allies) to affirm greater independence. While the public rhetoric of the Episcopal Church continually affirmed their care and consideration for the rest of the Communion, the actions of this insular body made those statements empty sentiment.”