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The Episcopal Diocese of Maine elected its first openly gay bishop at a convention in Bangor on Saturday.
After three rounds of voting, the Rev. Thomas James Brown, 48, received the majority of votes from 261 clergy members and laypeople, according to election results. His election must be confirmed by other Episcopal dioceses across the country before he can be consecrated in June.
If confirmed, Brown will be the 10th bishop elected to lead the Maine diocese. Its current leader, Bishop Stephen Lane, is retiring.
The Episcopal Diocese of Maine received a record number of applications last year for the position. The original round of 27 applications was narrowed down to five finalists who visited Maine episcopal congregations earlier this year.
Maine’s Episcopal diocese was formed 200 years ago. It includes 59 Episcopal congregations and 18 summer chapels.
Brown, a native of Michigan, has served as the rector at the Parish of the Epiphany in Winchester, Massachusetts, for the past 10 years. Brown was ordained in 1998, after receiving a Master of Divinity from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California.
“Leadership opportunities in parishes, dioceses, as well as at General Convention, and the Church Pension Group remind me that it’s all about serving others,” Brown said in a statement. “Any success I’ve had has arisen from the value of service to God and to God’s people. Failure arrives whenever I lose sight of this sacred and biblical principle.”