Canon Mary Glasspool will, in all likelihood, receive sufficient consents from bishops, and those, along with the consents of Standing Committees throughout The Episcopal Church, will mean that she will be ordained and consecrated a bishop on May 15th in Los Angeles.
However one uses the phrase "tipping point," it would seem this event qualifies. Tipping points are "the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable." But the changes which Glasspool's election signal have already happened.
The so called"change" heralded by the consents to CanonGlasspool's election is not so much a change as it is a confirmation of a fact: This church does have gay and lesbian persons in partnered relationships in all orders of ordained ministry.
So the strange bird the ACAWKI arrives and will yell about the end of the Anglican Communion As We Know It. The bird and the news hounds are just jabbering, selling papers and getting hits on their blogs. They are wrong.
Change is already here: About gay and lesbian persons in partnered relationships, Resolution D025 of the 2009 General Convention, in its fifth resolve states, "Resolved, That the 76th General Convention recognize that gay and lesbian persons who are part of such relationships have responded to God's call and have exercised various ministries in and on behalf of God's One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and are currently doing so in our midst." It is a statement of fact.
The tipping point has already been reached. There will be all sorts of muttering about how the consents for Canon Glasspool or her actual ordination will spell the end of the Anglican Communion as we know it. It will not.
The Anglican Communion as we know it is a fellowship that includes National or regional churches in which women as well as men are ordained to all orders of ordained ministry, in which some men and women so ordered are gay or lesbian, and in which some gay and lesbian clergy are in partnered relationships. It turns out that in this fellowship of churches there are some places were differences of gender and sexual orientation matter less than do matters pertaining to the content of character and holiness of call. It turns out that The Episcopal Church is such a place.
Should Canon Glasspool not receive the consents necessary (highly unlikely at this point) it will not mean that we some how "stood at the brink" and stepped back. It will mean that once again the at least partially democratic process of election and confirmation in this part of the body of Christ worked its way to a conclusion, and not necessarily a final one at that. (Remember the return of Bishop Lawrence for a second round?)
In the world of supposedly newsworthy triumphs and defeats the election of Canon Glasspool was touted as yet another occasion for jumping up and down and yelling about the end of the "Anglican Communion as we know it." The call has sounded. Don't believe it this time, which ever way it goes for Canon Glasspool.
There are also those who will claim that in giving consents we will have proof that The Episcopal Church has "walked away" from the Anglican Communion. To the contrary, we will have proof that we have walked into its future, already here.
Just for the record, Bishop elect Glasspool will be a wonderful and Godly addition to the House of Bishops and to the life and ministry of this Church.