The Episcopal Church Sunday elected Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as the first female chief pastor of the denomination and the first female leader in the history of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The choice of Schori as presiding bishop complicates the already difficult relations between the American denomination and its fellow Anglicans. Only two other Anglican provinces -- New Zealand and Canada -- have female bishops, although a handful of other provinces allow women to serve in the post. Still, there are many Anglican leaders who believe women should not be priests.
Some Anglican leaders have also criticized the Episcopal Church for confirming an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire in 2003. The American denomination was expected to address the issue during the current convention, which is underway in Columbus, Ohio.
Among the seven other candidates for Presiding Bishop was Alabama Bishop Henry Parsley of Birmingham. Outgoing Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold is ending his nine-year term.