The Episcopal Church in the United States announced on Jan. 25 that four bishops have been nominated for the position of presiding bishop, including the first female nominee. Conservative groups protested the fact that three of the four voted to approve the election three years ago of Gene Robinson to the episcopacy of New Hampshire – the church’s first openly-gay bishop. The nominees are: Bishop Neil Alexander, 52, of the diocese of Atlanta, a former professor at the University of the South with a special interest in music and liturgy; Bishop Edwin Gulick, 57, of Kentucky, a co-chair of the Anglican Roman Catholic Dialogue (U.S.A.); Bishop Henry Parsley, Jr., 57, of Alabama, who is active in many outreach ministries, including Episcopal Relief and Development, and Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, 51, of Nevada, an instrument-rated pilot, author and member of the Special Commission on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. Bishop Parsley is the only candidate who voted against Bishop Robinson’s election. The conservative American Anglican Council said in a statement it is “deeply disturbed that the list of nominees does not include any candidate who is representative of orthodox Anglicanism.” However, Rev. Joe Reynolds, dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Houston, told the Houston Chronicle that the nominees “represent the moderate mainstream of the Episcopal Church” and are “all solid folks.” The U.S. church’s next primate will be elected on June 18, during the church’s triennial General Convention, to be held in Columbus, Ohio from June 10 to 21. He or she will succeed Bishop Frank Griswold, whose nine-year term ends this year. The nominees were chosen by a 29-member committee that included bishops, clergy and lay persons.