WHEELING, Ill., Nov. 10 (UPI) -- The Episcopal diocese of Chicago Saturday passed over an openly gay woman as its next bishop.
The Rev. Tracey Lind, dean of the cathedral in Cleveland, was one of eight candidates -- three of them women -- for the post, The New York Times reported. Delegates to the diocesan convention approved the Rev. Jeffrey Lee, rector of St. Thomas Church in Medina, Wash., for the position.
Homosexuality is a divisive issue in the Episcopal Church and in the Anglican Communion, the worldwide confederation of churches descended from the Church of England. The consecration of Gene Robinson, an openly gay man in a committed relationship, as bishop of New Hampshire has threatened to split the church.
Bishop William Persell said he did not believe Saturday's vote was a rejection of homosexuals or women. He said about one-third of the clergy in the Chicago diocese are women and there are many openly gay priests.
But some members of the diocese appeared relieved by Lee's selection. Joan Barr Smith, a non-delegate from Evanston, told the Times "we dodged that bullet."