For Rev. Bonnie Perry, the unpredictable pastor of Chicago’s fastest-growing Episcopal congregation, the opportunity to become bishop of California is not about stirring controversy. It is about answering a call.
But as one of three openly gay candidates who could be selected for the job Saturday–there are seven nominees in all–Perry, 44, stands at the edge of a global controversy threatening to split her church.
Church leaders in Africa and South America have severed ties with the Anglican Communion since their American counterpart, the Episcopal Church, consecrated a gay bishop, New Hampshire’s V. Gene Robinson, in 2003.
Some American bishops also have disavowed the Episcopal Church, saying it abandoned them when it condoned the sin of homosexuality. U.S. Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold says focusing on a candidate’s sexual orientation is the sin.
Representatives of clergy and laity in the Diocese of California will vote to select their bishop, and delegates of the Episcopal General Convention must approve the winner in June.
However, the results of the election are in, and Rt. Rev. Mark Andrus has been elected as Bishop of California.
A commenter in an Episcopal blog I read had an opportunity to go on something called “walkabouts” with the nominees, and thought Andrus was a “stunner.”
Congratulations to the people of the Episcopal Diocese of California for conducting a successful election!
UPDATE: Here is an eyewitness account of the election process, which we in the Diocese of Chicago will be undergoing in a year or so. It was prayerful, purposeful, and joyful.