United Methodist Church appoints first gay bishop

Bishop Karen Oliveto, the first openly gay bishop in the United Methodist Church

According to Fortune, the 58-year-old lesbian, Reverend Karen Oliveto, was appointed as the bishop of the Western Division of the protestant church on July 15, 2016.

Speaking out on the election, she said: "I think at this moment I have a glimpse of the realm of God. Today we took a step closer to embody beloved community and while we may be moving there, we are not there yet. We are moving on to perfection."

Despite some opposition from some of the church's 7M members, Bruce R. Ough, president of the Church's Council of Bishops, calls this, the first step in the right direction.

"This election raises significant concerns and questions of church polity and unity. We find ourselves in a place where we have never been. There are those in the church who will view this election as a violation of church law and a significant step toward a split, while there are others who will celebrate the election as a milestone toward being a more inclusive church. ...Our differences are real and cannot be glossed over, but they are also reconcilable.

I think in the short run there will be significant anxiety and negative reaction in many parts of the church. And there will be great celebration in other parts of the church. The election reflects an expression of the division we currently have over matters of human sexuality", he said.

For Greater Northwest Episcopal Area Bishop, Grant Hagiya, the decision to pick Oliveto was led by the Holy Spirit.

“We understand there may be some political implications, but in our mind this was the best person. It was not a question of (sexual) orientation, it was a question of who was the best spiritual leader. The body spoke and said ‘Yes, this is the one.’ ”

Rev. Oliveto was consecrated during a service on July 16, 2016, at Paradise Valley United Methodist Church in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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