An out lesbian was passed over during the Episcopal convention to pick the next Bishop of Chicago.

The Reverend Tracey Lind, dean of Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland was one of three women who lost out to Rev Jeffrey Lee, rector of St Thomas Church in Medina, Washington.

Bishop William Persell said the vote held yesterday was not a rejection of homosexuals or of women. He said that around a third of Chicago’s clergy are women and there are a number of openly gay or lesbian priests.

Rev Lee, now bishop elect said his church welcomes gays: “I make it clear that I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but as a leader I have a duty to articulate my own understanding of what God may be calling the church to do.”

The 2.4 million-strong US Episcopal Church’s ordination in 2003 of Bishop Robinson, the first gay bishop in the 450 year history of the Anglican church, led to the growing divide between the liberal and conservative camps in the 77 million member Anglican Communion.

Earlier this year, Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion demanded that the Episcopal church ceased from consecrating another gay bishop or approve official ceremonies for same-sex couples.