Friday, December 05, 2008

Breaking Blessing News from the Diocese of Los Angeles

We're at the "changing for drinks before dinner" part of the agenda of the 113th Convention of the Diocese of Los Angeles here in Riverside -- but I couldn't resist posting up a few quick notes from Bishop Brunos's convention address this afternoon ... and that would be the publication of a new policy on the blessing of same-sex unions for the diocese.

The multi-page document ... created by the Bishop's Task Force on Marriage Equality ... was distributed to delegates after the address and is available in the exhibit hall ... and I'm sure will be online soon on the diocesan website.

But here's the gist:

Bishop Bruno has authorized the distribution of a Service for the Sacramental Blessing of a Life-Long Covenant. Approved for use in the Diocese of Los Angeles, this service may be used to bless the covenant of a man and woman, two women or two men.

The liturgy was accompanied by a document entitled:

Policy Regarding the Sacramental Blessing of Life-long Covenants in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles

Here are a few key paragraphs:

In response to our theological understanding, it is the policy of the Diocese of Los Angeles that any priest canonically resident or licensed to function may officiate at the sacramental blessing of the life-long covenant of persons of the same sex following the provisions of this policy despite the civil law of our state at this time. While the state will not allow us to officially marry same-sex couples, we believe the same blessing ceremony afforded to men and women should be afforded to same-sex couples.

Parochial clergy shall provide education, information, pastoral care and discussion within their congregations before solemnizing marriages of same-sex couples especially if such marriages would be the occasion for confusion, misunderstanding or any other spiritual crisis for members of the congregation. Educational materials have been developed by the Bishop’s Task Force on Marriage for use in congregations.

At the same time, congregations are encouraged to move forward in prophetic witness and in justice towards same-sex couples who have been denied both the church’s blessing and the state’s benefits of marriage for so long.


More to come ... it seems like a big deal/step forward to me but it hardly caused a ripple in the Convention Hall ... a short burst of applause and that was about it. But, needless to say, we are delighted with our bishop and proud to be part of the Diocese of Los Angeles on this lovely December evening in beautiful downtown Riverside!


1 comment:

SCG said...

This sounds thoughtful, hopeful...and simple. And I really like the term "life-long covenant". I also appreciate (coming from a much different state than CA) that +Bruno seems to be creating a blueprint for how to do this simple act of love, and provide guidance for educating congregations that aren't "there" yet. This may be a model that, come the General Convention next summer, others could possibly follow.