The Rt. Rev. Carolyn Tanner Irish, Episcopal Bishop of Utah, will be among 800 bishops from throughout the Anglican Communion attending the Lambeth Conference in England this month.
This will be the first time women will attend the conference as ordained bishops - eight of them, including Irish, from the United States.In a press release, Bishop Irish she has felt "an incredible acceptance of my role here in Utah from not only the members of the Episcopal Church but also from many of the people of Utah. I feel very affirmed in this ministry as bishop."
The ordination of women has been controversial in the Anglican Communion, from which the Episcopal Church comes. Two bishops from England were recently quoted in the British media claiming they would not vest or do Bible study with any of the female bishops.
"Everybody has their choices to make," Bishop Irish said in the statement. "I'm not going there looking for any trouble. I don't feel any animosity towards anyone. I have no reason to feel that. I am going to be prayerfully present, do my Bible study and worship. I don't think of myself as a woman bishop. I am grateful to be both a woman and a bishop in the church, but I don't think of being a woman bishop unless someone brings it up."
Bishop Irish pointed out that she was elected by the clergy and lay people of the Diocese of Utah and it is they who she will be representing.
Participants will spend three weeks, July 18-Aug.9, at Canterbury Cathedral doing Bible study, offering worship and prayer and studying issues affecting the church and society.
Held every 10 years, the gathering involves all active bishops from Anglican and Episcopal churches around the world, representing some 70 million members.