Rethink urged on gay bishop role
The Archbishop of Canterbury has urged the Diocese of Los Angeles to think very carefully about the potential impact before it confirms a lesbian as an assistant bishop.
Dr Rowan Williams said the election of Reverend Mary Glasspool raised "very serious questions" for the Anglican Communion.
He added that the decision to confirm or reject her appointment would have "very important implications".
Disagreement on the appointment of gay ministers is threatening to split the worldwide Anglican community.
In a statement, Dr Williams said: "The election of Mary Glasspool by the Diocese of Los Angeles as suffragan bishop elect raises very serious questions not just for the Episcopal Church and its place in the Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as a whole.
"The process of selection however is only part complete. The election has to be confirmed, or could be rejected, by diocesan bishops and diocesan standing committees. That decision will have very important implications.
"The bishops of the Communion have collectively acknowledged that a period of gracious restraint in respect of actions which are contrary to the mind of the Communion is necessary if our bonds of mutual affection are to hold."
The Episcopal Church, which is the Anglican body in the United States, caused an uproar in 2003 by consecrating the first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.
Rev Glasspool, of Baltimore, needs approval from a majority of dioceses across the church before she can be consecrated as assistant bishop in the Los Angeles diocese.
"Any group of people who have been oppressed because of any one, isolated aspect of their persons yearns for justice and equal rights," Rev Glasspool said in a statement, thanking the diocese for choosing her.