[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] The Episcopal Church’s liturgical rite for blessing same-sex relationships, authorized by General Convention for use in the Episcopal Church beginning the first Sunday in Advent, December 2, is now available online free of charge.
The rite and a short theological summary, both excerpted from the report of the Church’s Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) titled “I Will Bless You and You Will Be a Blessing,” are posted here.
The rite, which must be approved by each diocesan bishop before it is used in individual dioceses, is authorized by General Convention for provisional use until 2015.
“We learn as we pray,” explained the Rev. Ruth Meyers, Ph.D, Dean of Academic Affairs and Hodges-Haynes Professor of Liturgics at Church Divinity School of the Pacific and SCLM Chair. “During the next three years, the rite will be reviewed by clergy who use it and the couples whose unions it blesses. The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music will compile those reviews and make a report to General Convention 2015.”
The online excerpt includes the liturgy and a summary that includes themes for theological reflection and spiritual practice. “Our covenantal life with God is expressed in relationships of commitment and faithfulness, including those of same-sex couples,” the report reads. “It is the Church’s joy to celebrate these relationships as signs of God’s love, to pray for God’s grace to support couples in their life together, and to join with these couples in our shared witness to the gospel in the world.”
The full text of “I Will Bless You and You Will Be a Blessing,” available for purchase from Church Publishing, Inc., includes:
Faith, Hope, and Love: Theological Resources for Blessing Same-Sex Relationships:
Overview: Theological Reflection on Same-Sex Relationships
1. The Church’s Call: A Focus on Mission
2. The Church’s Joy: A Theology of Blessing
3. The Church’s Life: Covenantal Relationship
4. The Church’s Challenge: Christian Unity and Biblical Interpretation
The Church’s Canon Law and Laws of the States
Hearing, Seeing, and Declaring New Things: Preparing Same-Sex Couples for a Liturgy of Blessing
The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant: Liturgical Resources for Blessing Same-Sex Relationships
Discussion Guide to I Will Bless You, and You Will Be a Blessing
A Review of General Convention Legislation
The print and eBook versions containing the full resources are available from Church Publishing here.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org