GENERAL CONVENTION 2003
CHURCH says "no"
to same-sex liturgies
but recognises local blessings
by Matthew Davies
August 7, 2003 [ENS]
The Episcopal Church, USA (ECUSA), today decided that it is not
ready to authorise creating liturgies to bless same-sex unions but
recognised that local blessings already take place. As the 74th General
Convention of ECUSA draws to a close the deputies concurred with the
House of Bishop's amendments to the resolution yesterday which deleted
the lines from resolution C051 that asked the Standing Committee on
Liturgy and Music to develop rites for blessing same-sex relationships.
Part of the resolution called on the church to continue "prayer, study,
and discernment on the pastoral care of gay and lesbian persons, to
include the compilation and development by a special commission
organized and appointed by the Presiding Bishop of resources to
facilitate as wide a conversation of discernment as possible throughout
The Rt Revd Catherine
Roskam, suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of New
York, said that the cognate Committee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music
"tried to find a middle ground between not doing anything official
through the church and also providing for those people in the church who
we all acknowledge do bless same-sex unions."
The move was taken as
an encouraging sign by bishops affiliated with the
American Anglican Council. "I think it is something we can go home
with," said the Rt Revd William Skilton, suffragan Bishop of South
Carolina. "It is certainly better than what was originally proposed."
Many have been concerned
with the amount of time that issues of human
sexuality have taken up throughout the ten-day convention. Bishop Mano
Rumalshah, General Secretary of the United Society for Propagation of
the Gospel (USPG) said that "sexuality issues should not eclipse
interfaith concerns in a warring world". Bishop Mano was among one of
the 50 visitors to the General Convention. "One feels sad that this
convention again has got distracted with just one issue," he said.
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