The Episcopal Church confirmed its first openly lesbian bishop on Wednesday, six years after its first openly gay bishop took office.
"I am profoundly grateful for the many people ... who have given their prayers, love, and support during this time of discernment," Bishop-elect Mary Douglas Glasspool said after learning she'd won support from the majority of her church's standing committees and diocesan bishops.
"I am also aware that not everyone rejoices in this election and consent," she continued, "and will work, pray, and continue to extend my own hands and heart to bridge those gaps, and strengthen the bonds of affection among all people, in the Name of Jesus Christ."
Glasspool, 56, was elected bishop of the Episcopal Church's Los Angeles diocese in December. Before taking office, she needed to win the consent of a majority of the church's standing committees and diocesan bishops.
The Episcopal diocese of Los Angeles released an informal tally Wednesday showing that Glasspool had received consents from 63 of the Episcopal Church's 110 standing committees, seven more than necessary.
Glasspool's ordination and consecration as bishop is slated for May 15.
Glasspool will be the first woman to lead the Episcopal Church in Los Angeles. "[T]he standing committees and bishops have demonstrated through their consents that the Episcopal Church, by canon, creates no barrier for ministry on the basis of gender and sexual orientation, among other factors," said Jon Bruno, Los Angeles' current Episcopal bishop.
The Episcopal Church emphasized Wednesday that Glasspool, like its first openly gay bishop - Gene Robinson of the diocese of New Hampshire - is in a committed long-term relationship.
Robinson's election unleashed a major controversy within the church, which claims 2 million American members. Dozens of parishes and a handful of dioceses have broken away from the Episcopal church in protest since then. Some have reorganized under more conservative African provinces of the Anglican Communion.
The daughter of an Episcopal priest, Glasspool was ordained in 1982.
The Episcopal Church serves as the North American province of the Anglican Communion, the world's third-biggest Christian body.