Saturday, May 06, 2006

California's New Bishop

Well, San Francisco's Episcopalians have voted, and Suffragan Bishop Mark Andrus of Alabama -- a heterosexual cleric -- won election as bishop of California on the third ballot. Given the tensions of two openly gay clerics being chosen for the final shortlist by the diocese, Andrus' selection averted another potential firestorm for the global Anglican communion on the issue of gays in church leadership.

Bonnie Perry, the Chicago priest whose orientation attracted a lot of ink in the run-up to today's election, barely made a blip on the radar screen, earning eight clergy votes and 12 lay votes on the first ballot. Perry lost all but one lay vote on the second ballot and she withdrew before the third round.

Andrus built on a solid plurality among both clergy and lay delegates in the first round, winning a majority of the clergy's vote in the second, with the laity following suit on the final ballot. (The constitutions of the Episcopal church require a majority vote of both clergy and lay representatives for election.)

Andrus' nomination must now be confirmed by a majority vote of the two houses of the ECUSA's triennial General Convention, which will be held next month in Columbus, Ohio.