An Arkansas witness worth sharing:
Dear General Convention Deputy:
The Vestry of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Fayetteville, Arkansas, would like to share with you the following resolution, passed unanimously following a seven-month parish-wide process of study, prayer, and conversation.
The Vestry of St. Paul's Episcopal Church expresses its support for our church's offering of a rite of blessing as a resource for pastoral care for our gay and lesbian members who wish to make a lifelong, loving commitment of mutual fidelity as a couple. By this resolution we communicate our position to our clergy, our Bishop and the upcoming General Convention of the Episcopal Church.
In the spirit of the House of Bishop's moratorium on new rites of blessing, we have not performed any covenant ceremonies, but we would like for you to take into consideration our congregation's desire to offer that form of pastoral care for our members when you attend the upcoming General Convention.
Ours is a growing and vital parish, the second largest in Arkansas. Our worship attendance is rising and this year's pledges to our Stewardship Campaign increased 15% over the previous year's income. We are in a college town, and we believe that the spirituality of our community is reflected in our statement. If we were located in another community, we imagine that our pastoral needs might be expressed differently.
Please accept our invitation to get to know us better at our web site. We have recognized a holiness of life in the relationships of our own gay couples, and we would like to celebrate and bless their lifelong commitments.
We hope that you will help the General Convention find a way to allow our church to promote commitments of loving fidelity while retaining our bonds of affection, communion and respect for those who will disagree with our theology.
John Lewis, Senior Warden
Christine Cook, Junior Warden
The Rev. Lowell Grisham, Rector