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 both 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.
by Rev Susan Russell