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The Election That Crossed The Pond

By Peter Mavrik in News on Aug 30, 2007 1:52PM

2007_08_lesbianbishop.jpgIt may not come with the ceremony of a papal enclave with smoking chimneys, but The Episcopal Diocese of Chicago is about to make a decision that could alter the already rocky relationship with its members and the Anglican church at large.

For the first time in history, they are considering electing a lesbian member of the church, The Very Rev. Tracey Lind, to the post of bishop in Chicago.

In case your religious lexicon isn't up to speed, we'll start with some definitions. The word Episcopal comes from the Greek word epĂ­skopos which means overseer. A fitting definition given that The Episcopal Church is the United States Province of the Church of England, which is commonly known as the Anglican Church.

On the scale of Christianity, with Protestants at one end and Roman Catholics at the other, Episcopalian catechism sits at the halfway point. Aha, another definition. Catechism comes from the Greek katekio which literally means to proclaim. Colloquially it refers to the summary of a Christian religion's beliefs and practices.

Got all that? More after the break...

The Episcopal Church has been making waves since the mid 70's. In 1974 they ordained the first women priests, even before there was a general convention on the ordination of women. And then in 1976 they embraced homosexuals as "Children of God". In 2003, Rev. V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay man living with his partner, was consecrated as a bishop.

The Episcopalians are on the left. The Anglicans across the pond are firmly to the right. And the ties that bind them together may just be broken right here in our Midwestern city.

The Election Convention is set for November 10th. According to "After the majority of Standing Committees of the other dioceses of the Episcopal Church and bishops with jurisdiction have given their consents to the election, the new bishop of Chicago will assume office on Feb. 2."

No one really knows how the election will pan out. There are many who believe that The Episcopal Church is moving in the right direction by nominating a lesbian for the position of bishop. Unfortunately, there are just as many on the other side of the issue who feel strongly about keeping gay people out.

We're bursting with happiness to see and hear the words gay, lesbian, and homosexual appear in conversations relating to religion. In the end, it doesn't matter who wins. What matters most is that we're all talking about it.

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