The following statement has been issued by Deputy Ruth Meyers of Chicago and Bishop Thomas Ely of Vermont, chairs of the Cognate Subcommittee on Blessings of the Committee 13, Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Church Music, meeting on July 9 at the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church.
The Committee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music at the General Convention has approved Resolution A049 (amended), which would authorize a provisional rite and accompanying resources for blessing same-sex relationships. The legislation moves next to the House of Bishops.
The resolution asks the General Convention to authorize the liturgy for provisional use and calls for a review process before the next General Convention in 2015. This is clearly a work in process, and there is a place in that process for all Episcopalians, whether or not they agree with the action we are taking today.
The committee’s resolution also asks the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) to undertake further study during the next three years on how the blessing of lifelong, committed same-sex relationships relates to Christian theology and scripture, and to reflect on the matter with our sisters and brothers throughout the Anglican Communion and with our ecumenical partners.
In response to testimony presented at a hearing on Saturday evening, the committee made several changes to the original draft, titled “Liturgical Resources I: I Will Bless You and You Will Be a Blessing.”
As the theological resource says, “all of us have more to learn from Scripture and from each other.” The resolution proposes that bishops be able to authorize adaptation of the resources to meet the needs of the people in their dioceses, particularly in states with legal marriage equality or civil unions for same-sex couples. As we pray the liturgy in our own communities and contexts, we will understand more about where the Holy Spirit is leading our church.
The resolution proposes that the liturgy be authorized for provisional use in Episcopal churches beginning on December 2, 2012, which is the first Sunday of Advent and the beginning of the church’s liturgical year. Congregations and clergy that wish to use the liturgy must have the permission of their bishops.
Deputy Ruth Meyers of Chicago and Bishop Thomas Ely of Vermont, chairs of the Cognate Subcommittee on Blessings of the Committee 13, Prayer Book, Liturgy, and Church Music.
July 9, 2012
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