LAS VEGAS, June 18, 2021: Holding its 80th General Convention in Las Vegas this week, The Episcopal Church broke new ground by naming as its new Presiding Bishop Muffin, a 26-year old Rhesus Macaque from the Diocese of Los Angeles. Muffin, who holds an honorary Ph.D. in Theology from Yale Divinity School, had previously served as the Bishop of West Hollywood. Muffin is the first non-human primate to be elected as a Primate in the Anglican Communion, which faces schism over the appointment.
In a break with tradition, the installation mass was held immediately following the election in the Madonna Room of Circus Circus. The service featured a magnificent new organ-grinder concerto commissioned especially for the event, as well as a moving liturgical dance by the Folies Bergere showgirls. An ecumenical sermon was delivered by Sri Svanapanda Prabhubada of The Society for Krishna Consciousness, entitled “Jesus Schmesus – The Many Paths to Niceness.” During the offertory, the new bishop herself went up and down the aisles collecting donations in a tin cup. Communion was given using banana slices and mango juice instead of the traditional bread and wine.
Integrity, a group of moderate laity and clergy within The Episcopal Church, released a statement praising the selection of Muffy as a “bold move forward which demonstrates The Episcopal Church’s commitment to inclusivity for all living things.” Integrity spokescreature Shamu expressed hope that a future convention would go beyond “animal chauvinism” to elevate a being from one of the other kingdoms of life to the primacy. Bishop Phyllis Creeper of South Florida, a split-leaf philodendron, is considered a leading candidate for the next Episcopal convention in 2024.
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