Our Diocesan Synod has given permission to clergy to bless the marriages of civilly married gay couples. Clergy must have permission from their Parish Council to preside at these services. After discussions have taken place in the parish, and if they so desire, Parish Council then applies to the bishop.
Following the 10:00 am service on January 26th, there will be an opportunity for people to discuss the question and for Parish Council members to listen to the hopes and concerns of the parishioners. I hope to see lots of people in attendance.
The diocese has provided a guideline for the Parish to move forward on a local basis if we feel it is time. I think that we should make a decision now before a couple present themselves, so that it’s not an issue of personalities but one based on where we feel God is calling us.
According to the guideline there are three possible responses for a Parish Council:
1. Marriage can be between two men, two women or one man and one woman. The blessing of same sex civilly married couples is then an appropriate pastoral and liturgical response.
2. Marriage can only be between one man and one woman. The parish wishes to recognize committed same sex relationships but not as marriage.
3. Marriages between same sex couples are not acceptable.
To tip my hand just a little – I read a report in the Huffington Post that a recent and large study in the US shows that gay-friendly churches (that allow openly gay people to be full members) are experiencing significant growth (of as much as 10%). Also, it should be noted that, much of what people think the Bible says, it doesn’t. I will explain this in more detail, if people wish, at the meeting.