Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Go, Maryland!

Not sure if these came out earlier elsewhere, but I just saw them and like the idea that Bishop Sutton is making good use of good work done in other dioceses to provide resources for pastoral care and liturgical celebration for same-sex couples. Bravo!

Bishop's Guidelines Regarding the Blessing of Same-Gender Unions
Effective July, 2010

These guidelines are for the clergy of the Diocese of Maryland in keeping with Resolution CO56 of the 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal Church that states that bishops “may provide generous pastoral responses to meet the needs of members of this Church,” and that we “honor the theological diversity of this Church in regard to matters of human sexuality.”

1. As to whether or not to engage in performing and blessing same-gender unions within the Diocese, I respect the pastoral judgment and decisions of the clergy under my pastoral oversight. No priest of the Diocese of Maryland, canonically resident or licensed in accordance with the canons of The Episcopal Church, shall be required to bless a union of persons of the same gender, neither shall they be required to bless a civil marriage performed in another state.

2. Before the blessing of a union can take place, the priest shall comply with all diocesan requirements that pertain to marriage, including those relevant to previous marriages that have ended in divorce. Couples shall be prepared to make a lifelong commitment to each other, and must have received adequate pastoral counseling prior to the union.

3. Episcopal priests from outside the Diocese are not permitted to enter the Diocese of Maryland to bless same-gender unions unless they are from a diocese that also permits the performing or blessing of same-gender unions.

4. Persons who reside in other dioceses may not enter the Diocese of Maryland to have a same-gender union performed or blessed by a priest of this Diocese, or a priest from the diocese in which they reside, unless that diocese also permits its clergy to perform or bless same-gender unions.

We have received permission from the Diocese of Southern Ohio to offer these theological and liturgical resources, and I recommend them for trial use in this Diocese: the “Theological Reflection” document, and the form provided for “The Blessing of a Sacred Union.”

The Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton
Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

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