Katharine Jefferts Schori was officially consecrated as the 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church last weekend.
She is known to support gay rights and has already ruffled a few conservative feathers as she is the 2.3 million member denomination’s first female leader.
Speaking after her appointment earlier this year, Bishop Schori told reporters that she felt homosexuals were created by God to love people of the same sex.
The Bishop of Nevada told CNN, “I believe that God creates us with different gifts. Each one of us comes into this world with a different collection of things that challenge us and things that give us joy and allow us to bless the world around us.
“Some people come into this world with affections ordered toward other people of the same gender and some people come into this world with affections directed at people of the other gender.”
She defended her view claiming the Bible’s passages relating to homosexuality are written in a different historical context, “The Bible has a great deal to teach us about how to live as human beings. The Bible does not have so much to teach us about what sorts of food to eat, what sorts of clothes to wear — there are rules in the Bible about those that we don’t observe today.
“The Bible tells us about how to treat other human beings, and that’s certainly the great message of Jesus, to include the unincluded.”
Bishop Schori used her inaugural sermon to preach about the importance of the Church relieving suffering in the world.
She was backed by the head of the Anglican Church, Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, he said: “She will take on this responsibility in the most challenging of times, but she will be supported by the good will and prayers of very many in the USA and around the world as she strives to lead faithfully, honestly and collaboratively.”
There are fears that her appointment could widen divisions in the Anglican Church since many of its denominations do not allow female bishops, and tension is already high since the appointment of gay New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson in 2003.