Friday, May 18, 2012

Time: How Will Anglicans React if N.H. Episcopalians Elect Another Gay Bishop?

By Megan Gibson
Thursday, May 17, 2012

In the summer of 1992, an Episcopal priest in Baltimore officiated at the wedding of two female congregants. Though he had been "careful to obtain all the necessary permissions," it wasn't long before the Rev. William Rich found himself on the front page of the Baltimore Sun and at the center of a religious controversy. Rich was criticized by many in the community and church for performing a gay wedding ceremony, but he's never regretted the move. In a recent interview with the Diocese of New Hampshire's Bishop Search and Nomination Committee, Rich described the experience as an ultimately positive one, which "helped strengthen the gay and lesbian caucus among the clergy."

It's a good sign that Rich doesn't shy away from controversy because nearly 20 years later, he could be facing it once again. An openly gay man, Rich is one of three candidates to become New Hampshire's next Episcopal bishop. On May 19, about 200 clergy and elected delegates will cast their vote by secret ballot to choose a replacement for the current bishop, the retiring Gene Robinson, who is also gay. If a second gay man is elected to the post, the selection will likely reverberate through the staunchly conservative arms of the Anglican Communion, a global network of churches to which the Episcopalians belong. It could also widen a fissure in the network that's been forming for quite some time. the rest


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