Monday, October 09, 2006

Diocese of California Steps Up

From John Kirkley's meditatio:

Bishop Marc Andrus has announced his policy regarding the blessing of same sex unions in a letter to clergy of the diocese of California. Unlike the previous bishop, whose policy was "not to have a policy," Bishop Marc has presented a clear, concise, and pastoral response to the needs of lesbian and gay couples in our churches, consistent with Resolution C051 of the 2003 General Convention.

* Blessings are subject to the discretion of clergy in consultation with couples

* Careful counseling and preparation should precede the rite

* The bishop is to be informed of the blessing in advance and consulted regarding the rite, as part of the exercise of his pastoral responsibility

* The Diocesan Commission on Marriage and Blessings will identify and/or develop rites of reference for use in the diocese (this will relieve couples and clergy of the onerous and unfair task of having to reinvent the liturgical wheel for every rite)

* "The blessings of same-sex couples in our churches are celebrations of Christian love and vocation, and deserve the same expressions of joy and excitement that others enjoy." (in other words, such rites are not to be treated as a dirty secret, but as a public expression of the church's common life and ministry like any other sacramental rite)

Bishop Marc is demonstrating the kind of transparency that caused him to be elected bishop of California in the first place. This is a real step forward toward the full inclusion of lesbian and gay couples in the diocese of California, and Bishop Marc is to be commended for his leadership. It will, no doubt, result in some backlash across the wider church. Ultimately, however, it will be a gift for all Christians who care about the vocation of couples as icons of holy relationship.

It is an important next step on a journey that isn't over yet.

11 comments:

... said...

Thank you and God bless you, Bishop Andrus

Lisa said...

Thanks be to God!

Will said...

Makes me so grateful to be in this Diocese. God Bless Bishop Andrus and the beautiful witness of The Episcopal Church here in the Bay area.

Bruno said...

sigh,,
At last, a bishop speaks with clarity, maybe I needn't fear all bishops.

Pfalz prophet said...

Those whom God has joined let no one put asunder. God bless you, Bishop Andrus, for your openness. You are truly teaching us not to be afraid of anything the world or the devil may do.

Jon said...

And if it results in making life hard for gay and lesbian people elsewhere in the communion, heck with them?

Jon

The Pilgrim said...

Remind me . . . .

Which section of the Windsor Report does this violate?

revsusan said...

for "the pilgrim" ...

Remind me ...

How does one "violate" a "report?"

Tony Seel said...

Thank you, Bp. Andrus. Your actions will surely help the coming realignment. Maybe ecusa/tec can start the unification talks with the unitarians and the ucc and the metropolitan church sooner rather than later.

revsusan said...

Or maybe the Episcopal Majority will continue to concentrate on mission and ministry with folks like the Archibshops of Wales and Capetown and leave the schismatics to their reindeer games.

... said...

Life is rough for gay and lesbian folk no matter where you are in the Communion. And its equally rough on the non-glbt folk in the places within the communion that seek to be more inclusive.

But we're up to this challenge because things continue to improve, and +Andrus' actions are a clear example of this.

The desire, I am quite certain, is not to make things harder for other gay and lesbian people elsewhere in the communion. Sometimes that is an unfortunate side effect.

On the other hand, sometimes folks need to be made a bit uncomfortable before they'll squirm enough to leave their comfortable complacency.