Episcopalians Ordain Lesbian Priest

DENVER (AP) - The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado has ended its
so-called "period of restraint" on ordaining homosexual priests.

Bishop Robert O'Neill ordained Mary Catherine Volland to the priesthood during a ceremony at St. John's Cathedral on Saturday.

Volland, a longtime Colorado resident and partnered lesbian, had been a candidate for ordination in the Diocese of Minnesota. She will serve at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Denver.

The issue of gay priests has splintered the church nationwide. Beckett Stokes, spokeswoman for the 30,000 member Colorado diocese, said O'Neill had suspended gay ordination out of sensitivity for church factions strongly opposed to it. She said Bishop O'Neill is now deciding the matter on a case-by-case basis.

Several Episcopal congregations in Colorado are served by gay priests.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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