Commentary and report on election of Lesbian Bishop in Episcopal Church USA by Peter Menkin

palpable in community to me.

It was during my college years (1972-1976) that I began to discern a vocation to ordained ministry and concomitantly to discover my sexuality. Both these areas were sources of intense struggle for me, as I wrestled with such questions as; Did God hate me (since I was a homosexual)? or Did God love me? Did I hate (or love) myself? Was it really possible, not to mention appropriate, for women to be priests? My father’s answer to this last question was a resounding NO, and true to his own colors he never publicly supported women’s ordination, although I became something of an exception to the rule.

God was still transcendent and other to me as I entered Episcopal Divinity School in the Fall of 1976, just as the General Convention in Minneapolis was wrestling to recognize the reality of women called to be priests, the new Prayer Book, and what to do with the Philadelphia 11 and the Washington 5 as we termed them at EDS. My role models at that time represented two different ways of doing things in response to God’s call: Carter Heyward and Carol Anderson. Carter, for me, represented the courage to break through barriers – not without cost – in order to become fully the person God is calling you to become. Carol represented the sacrificial love of the Church that manifested itself in restraint, and also came at great cost. Both of these courageous women have continued to model for me the integrity of responding to God’s call with your whole person, being exactly who you are. It is clear from this part of her statement that she believes her homosexuality and appearance, nay now election as a Bishop in Los Angeles, is part of God’s plan. The question is, other than what at this stage the stance appears to be with the 2 million members of the Episcopal Church USA, will the rest of the Anglican Communion, which in total numbers about 77 million, agree.

Peter Menkin, an aspiring poet, lives in Mill Valley, CA USA (north of San Francisco).

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