Susan Russell, at her blog, An Inch at a Time, reports from the 113th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles:
Bishop Bruno has authorized the distribution of a Service for the Sacramental Blessing of a Life-Long Covenant. Approved for use in the Diocese of Los Angeles, this service may be used to bless the covenant of a man and woman, two women or two men.
The liturgy was accompanied by a document entitled:
Policy Regarding the Sacramental Blessing of Life-long Covenants in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles
Here are a few key paragraphs:
In response to our theological understanding, it is the policy of the Diocese of Los Angeles that any priest canonically resident or licensed to function may officiate at the sacramental blessing of the life-long covenant of persons of the same sex following the provisions of this policy despite the civil law of our state at this time. While the state will not allow us to officially marry same-sex couples, we believe the same blessing ceremony afforded to men and women should be afforded to same-sex couples.
Parochial clergy shall provide education, information, pastoral care and discussion within their congregations before solemnizing marriages of same-sex couples especially if such marriages would be the occasion for confusion, misunderstanding or any other spiritual crisis for members of the congregation. Educational materials have been developed by the Bishop’s Task Force on Marriage for use in congregations.
At the same time, congregations are encouraged to move forward in prophetic witness and in justice towards same-sex couples who have been denied both the church’s blessing and the state’s benefits of marriage for so long.
More information to follow on the Diocesan website here.
Integrity, USA [is] “‘greatly encouraged that the Diocese of Los Angeles has taken such strong steps forward on the full inclusion of the LGBT faithful in the Body of Christ,’ said the Reverend Susan Russell, president of Integrity and a member of the Task force on Marriage Equality convened by Bishop Bruno to craft the policy and draft the liturgy.”
Full statement below
December 6, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Integrity Applauds Diocese of Los Angeles Actions on Bishops and Blessings
In its 113th Annual Diocesan Convention this week, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles joined seven other dioceses in passing a resolution asking the 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal Church to reject the de facto moratorium on the election of gay or lesbian bishops by retracting the General Convention Resolution BO33. And in Bishop Jon Bruno’s convention address, he announced a new diocesan policy on the Sacramental Blessing of Life-Long Covenants, which stated in part, “we believe the same blessing ceremony afforded to men and women should be afforded to same-sex couples” and included a liturgy for blessing approved for use in the Diocese of Los Angeles.
“We are greatly encouraged that the Diocese of Los Angeles has taken such strong steps forward on the full inclusion of the LGBT faithful in the Body of Christ,” said the Reverend Susan Russell, president of Integrity and a member of the Task force on Marriage Equality convened by Bishop Bruno to craft the policy and draft the liturgy.
“The Diocese of Los Angeles cannot undo the damage done by BO33 but we can stand up together and say that we refuse to be party to any further scapegoating of the gay and lesbian baptized. We cannot undo the discrimination written into our constitution by Proposition 8, but we can now officially offer equality in the blessings we offer couples in our congregations and that is a source of great hope and encouragement.”
The resolution regarding General Convention was presented by the Los Angeles Deputation to the 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal Church and will be forwarded for consideration at the July 2009 meeting in Anaheim CA. The diocesan policy on blessings was distributed to convention delegates in Riverside and will be available shortly on the Diocese of Los Angeles website.
(The Reverend) Susan Russell, President
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