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Utah Considers Gay Episcopal Bishop


A gay man, the Reverend Michael L. Barlowe, is among the four top candidates to become bishop of the Utah Episcopal diocese, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. If Barlowe, who married his husband in San Francisco in 2008, is selected, he would become the third openly gay bishop in the country.

Barlowe's selection, the paper points out, wouldn't only exacerbate tensions over homosexuality in the worldwide Anglican community but could also hurt the Utah diocese's relationship with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"There are a lot of theological issues that divide our churches and [homosexuality] is certainly one of them," says Ric Tanner, president of the Utah Episcopal diocese's Standing Committee, which advises the bishop. "Perhaps the best way to work toward understanding is to be engaged in conversation with views different than ours. That's true of both groups."

For its part, the 6,000-member Utah's Episcopal Church is on record supporting the ordination of gay and lesbian priests in committed relationships. Barlowe and the other three candidates -- the Reverend Juan A. Quevedo-Bosch of New York, the Reverend Mary C. Sulerud of Washington, D.C., and the Reverend Scott B. Hayashi of Chicago -- will spend the first week of May visiting parishes and talking with members. Then on May 22, delegates will select the new bishop, who will be consecrated November 6.

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