Skip to comments.Tennessee Episcopalians hope 4th vote begets bishop
Posted on 10/28/2006 7:08:19 AM PDT by sionnsar
After a five-month respite, local Episcopalians will try again today to elect a new bishop amid deep divisions here and within the U.S. denomination over the interpretation of the Bible, openly gay clergy and same-sex unions.
In three previous elections during March and May, clergy and lay leaders werent able to reach consensus on who will succeed the retiring Right Rev. Bertram Herlong, who, since 1993, has led the 51 congregations of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee, which stretches from the Cumberland Plateau to the Tennessee River.
This time, clergy members say theres a strong desire on all sides to break the impasse.
Weve gone through three failed elections and people are just really seeing we need to have a bishop, said the Rev. Canon Jill Zook-Jones, whose title, canon to the ordinary, makes her akin to a chief of staff to the bishop.
This is a different slate, and theres not the polarization there was in the first elections, with one group saying it has to be this person and nobody else. This time, I hear people saying hes my first choice, but I could agree to him as well.
Unlike the four candidates in the previous elections, the three priests on the current slate are viewed as moderates on the divisive issues of the ordination of gay priests and the blessing of same-sex unions, said the Rev. Joel Hassel of the Episcopal Church of the Messiah in Pulaski.
Each of the three candidates has said he supports the recommendations of a global commission of Anglican leaders, who called for a moratorium on consecrating any more gay bishops or approving rites for same-sex marriages until there is more discussion, Zook-Jones said.
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