Monday, July 09, 2012

Episcopal Church moves another step closer to authorizing rites for blessing same sex relationships

The resolution (A049) moving the Episcopal Church forward in authorizing the use of liturgies of the blessing of same sex relationships moved out of committee this morning and is headed to the House of Bishops. Considering the testimony from the open hearing held Saturday night and input from committee members, the revised resolution includes an articulation that Canon I.18.4 (stating that no clergy person can be required to preside at a marriage) also applies to the rites being authorized and provides support for the consciences of those opposed and those supporting this move forward.

It is not a perfect resolution and it is not the end of the journey toward the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments. It is, however, a profoundly important step forward on that journey. To reprise my commentary on the work we did in Denver in 2000: It’s not the whole enchilada, but it has enough guacamole for me.

It has both rites and resources to bless, teach and pastor same-sex couples as they come to the church for God’s blessing on their lives together. It has a mandate to the church to continue to explore God at work in those relationships through further theological study. And it provides generous pastoral oversight for both those seeking the Church’s blessing for their relationships and for those still “evolving” on the issue.

I believe it offers a classically Anglican response: moving the Episcopal Church forward while creating as wide a “via media” a place to stand as possible. It give me hope that we can continue to be a church where our unity is not found in uniformity but in charity, compassion and a willingness to embrace differences while striving together to meet the pastoral needs of all God’s beloved family.

My deepest hope is that this legislation will move quickly through our two houses of deliberation and that we will leave Indianapolis with the historic “job well done” of having collected, developed and ADOPTED both theological and liturgical resources for the blessing of same-sex relationships.

The legislation now goes to the Committee on Dispatch for report out to the house of intial action: the House of Bishops.


John Clemens said...

I am curious about South Carolina's objection.


He's filing a minority report so you'll get to read it. Nothing either new or helpful.

Matthew said...

Perhaps I expect too much or am too demanding of a church that moves slowly and evolutionarily but I really do wish that we would get to the "end" of full inclusion, not just one more step towards that. It actually feels like "an inch" at at time.

And, do we need further theological study? Somehow I thought the issue has been studied to death for 40 years.

I am also torn on the notion that others cannot be forced along. On the one hand, I like how generous and welcoming that language can be. On the other hand, like the resolution a number of years ago on womens ordination, I wish those "conservatives" would be forced to go along with the majority of the church. I have turned down job offers in South Carolina for this reason. It feels like there are only certain states I can move to or else not be welcomed and have to pick a different denomination like Lutheran or something else if I were to move to certain cities. Its makes me sad.

JCF said...

"If pressed to go one mile," Matthew, "go two."

[I agree, I'm not going down a second-class status INDEFINITELY, however! Still, 2nd class, in this case, is a step UP.]


I have come to the conclusion that the label 'conservative' is used by those who can't accept change and allow our church to move forward into the mainstream of life.

Addie Johnson


I have come to the conclusion that the label 'conservative' is used by those who can't accept change and allow our church to move forward into the mainstream of life.

Addie Johnson