Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bishops pass same-gender blessings resolution

In their afternoon legislative session yesterday, 104 bishops voted to begin the development and collection of resources same-gender blessings (30 bishops voted No and 1 abstained). They amended the original text of the resoluton (Resolution C056) that was crafted within the Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Music committee. Now it is up to the House of Deputies to concur or reject the resolution. The House is scheduled to act upon the resolution in their Friday morning session.

Part of the amended text of the resolution includes wording to provide 'pastoral generosity' towards bishops of dioceses which cover states that have legalized same-gender marriage so that they can provide pastoral care for LGBT parshioners who have married in a civil ceremony. This addition to the resolution may make Resolution D012, which made this very request, no longer necessary if C056 passes without modification in the House of Deputies.

Many amendments were considered and rejected, including a motion to throw the entire Resolution out. But given the 3-to-1 postive vote, it seems clear that the bishops ar ready to seriously investigate ways of responding to the call for blessings between LGBT couples in lifelong, committed relationship that reflec the Love of Jesus Christ.

Note that passage of this resolution does not specifically authorize the adoption of same-gender blessings, just the process of gathering and reviewing such rites. What is gathered/developed will then be distilled into proposals for the next General Convention to consider. (Those dioceses in states that have legalized same-gender marriage will have some flexibility in responding to their specific pastoral situations.)

Click here to view the amended Resolution. You will be able to see the strikeouts in order to appreciate which sections of the original resolution were modified by the House of Bishops.

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