1st Gay Male Episcopal Priest Is Ordained
An Episcopal bishop Saturday ordained the church’s first openly homosexual male priest in a ceremony marred by only one brief interruption.
Bishop John Spong of Newark quickly brushed off two dissenters before formally welcoming J. Robert Williams, leader of the Oasis ministry for homosexual Episcopalians, into the priesthood.
Following church protocol, Spong opened the ordination at All Saints Church in Hoboken by asking if anyone knew “of any impediment or crime” that should prevent Williams from becoming a priest.
When two people spoke up, the bishop talked to them and continued the ceremony. He said he had heard their arguments and saw no reason to delay the ordination.
Spong said the new priest had proven himself spiritually, emotionally and pastorally, which sparked a burst of applause from the congregation.
Williams is the Episcopal Church’s second openly homosexual priest. A lesbian, the Rev. Ellen Barret, was ordained in New York in 1977 by Bishop Paul Moore.