First female, lesbian leads Michigan Episcopal diocese

Posted at 8:06 AM, Feb 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-10 08:40:12-05

DETROIT (AP) — The Michigan diocese of the Episcopal Church has its first female and openly lesbian bishop.

The Rev. Bonnie A. Perry was consecrated and ordained Saturday during a ceremony in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn.

She was elected last June at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Detroit. Perry was expected to be formally welcomed and seated Sunday at the church.

The Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool was the church’s first lesbian bishop in 2010 in Los Angeles, according to the Episcopal Church.

The Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris became its first female bishop when she was ordained in 1989 in Massachusetts. The Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson became the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop in 2004.

Perry said Friday during a news conference at the Detroit church that she is aware of what her election as bishop means to others.

“If you look at scripture, Jesus said absolutely nothing about homosexuality,” she said. “And over and over and over again, we see Jesus always being with people who were perceived by other folks to be on the margin, to be outsiders or less than or not worthy.”

She succeeds the Rt. Rev. Wendell Gibbs as the Michigan diocese's bishop. Gibbs retired in December.

The Diocese of Michigan was formed in 1836 and has 75 congregations and more than 16,000 baptized members in the state’s southeastern region. There are three other dioceses in Michigan.