Skip to comments.Episcopal Bishop in Ark. OKs Gay Blessings
Posted on 07/23/2006 1:20:57 PM PDT by fgoodwin
Episcopal Bishop in Ark. OKs Gay Blessings
Episcopal Churches in Ark. Can Offer Blessing Ceremonies for Gay Couples, State's Bishop Says
Jul 22, 2006
The Associated Press
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Episcopal churches in Arkansas can offer blessing ceremonies for gay couples, the state's bishop said in a letter to clergy.
"It is my belief that seeking ways of recognizing and blessing faithful, monogamous same-sex relationships falls within the parameters of providing pastoral concern and care for our gay and lesbian members," wrote the Right Rev. Larry Maze, bishop of the 14,000-member Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas.
Maze noted in his letter sent to clergy Wednesday that no other national or state Episcopal leaders have produced or approved official rites for the blessings of same-sex unions.
He said the ceremonies will be local observances in each church, not approved formal rites. Arkansas has banned gay marriage, so same-sex couples will have no legal standing in the state.
Two churches St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Little Rock and St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Fayetteville plan to offer the ceremonies.
Maze who was among the bishops who approved the election of an openly gay bishop, the Right Rev. V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire is set to retire later this year.
At its 2003 national convention, church representatives passed a resolution in favor of allowing churches to explore the option of offering blessing ceremonies for gay couples. But at its convention in Ohio this year, leaders passed a resolution telling dioceses not to elect another gay bishop. The most recent convention did not address blessing gay couples.
Most Anglican archbishops believe gay relationships violate Scripture, and many broke ties with the U.S. church over Robinson's election.
Several Episcopal dioceses that consider gay relationships sinful are distancing themselves from the U.S. church over the election as presiding bishop of Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who will be installed Nov. 4, because she supports ordaining partnered gays and blessing same-sex couples.
At St. Michael's in Little Rock, the Rev. Ed Wills said a same-sex couple is planning a blessing ceremony that is tentatively set for September.
"God is about community, about belonging, about a relationship," Wills said. Couples are blessed in the church "not just so that they can be special but that they can be a blessing to other people."
The Rev. Lowell Grisham of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, said no one has requested a blessing yet, but that he expects a ceremony before the Episcopal general convention in 2009.
"My gay friends are very sensitive about the notion that we've been blessing animals for years and find it so difficult to bless their relationships," Grisham said.
In Arkansas? I can see this happening in Rhode Island but Arkansas? What the hell happened to all the beer drinking red necks down there. Don't tell me they are drinking Bananna and creme lattes or worse.
The full text of the Bishop's letter can be found at
Here is a brief excerpt:
" No congregation, vestry, or priest is expected to interpret the pastoral concern and care of the Church for gay and lesbian persons in a way that includes the possibility of formal rites of blessing. However, those that do, have permission to proceed to work as a congregation to come to clarity around the issues involved when the Church blesses anything or anyone. If a couple seeks blessing in that congregation, they will join in that exploration much to the benefit of the congregation and the couple."
The absurdity of these two statements trying to make a whole is rarely seen. However I watched a DVD of the Muppet Show yesterday. In the episode Peter Sellers whilst and at the same time, reciting the : Now is the winter of our discontent, speech from Richard III squeezed chickens to squawk at certain interludes in the recital. That came pretty close to the level of absurdity reached by the Bishop's words.
PS relax PETA they were muppet chickens.
Welcome to the Episcopal Church where words mean any damn thing we want them to mean:
In a letter e-mailed to the clergy of his diocese, the Rt. Rev. Larry Maze, Bishop of Arkansas, has given congregations permission to develop pastoral responses to same-gender couples who seek the blessing of The Episcopal Church for their relationships.
Under the terms outlined in the letter, clergy are forbidden from performing sacramental rites for the blessing of same-sex unions, but clergy and congregations are permitted to experiment with pastoral responses to same-sex couples seeking affirmation and support.
The July 19 letter noted that while The Episcopal Church remains divided over the propriety of same-sex blessings, there had been agreement for more than 30 years that homosexual persons are children of God, and are to be shown love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care.
Seeking ways of recognizing and blessing faithful, monogamous same-sex relationships falls within the parameters of providing pastoral concern and care for our gay and lesbian members, Bishop Maze wrote, citing the 74th General Conventions resolution that placed same-sex blessings within the bounds of our common life.
A spokesman for Bishop Maze, who began a two-week vacation on July 21, told The Living Church we are not talking about same-sex marriage. Bishop Maze has only approved a process whereby we can explore the meaning of same-sex blessings.
Neither the General Convention nor the Diocese of Arkansas has produced or approved official rites for the blessing of same-sex unions, he said, adding no congregation, vestry, or priest is expected to interpret the pastoral concern and care of the Church for gay and lesbian persons in a way that includes the possibility of formal rites of blessing.
Congregations, however, were encouraged to come to clarity around the issues involved when the church blesses anything or anyone.
If a couple seeks blessing in that congregation, they will join in that exploration much to the benefit of the congregation and the couple. This is a pastoral response, Bishop Maze explained.
Uh huh. It's not same-sex marriage. Because it's not in the prayer book and we're not calling it that, that's why! Stop looking at me like that!
In case you're wondering, when President Clinton strapped on that chubby, 24-year-old milking machine, he wasn't cheating on Hillary. He was "exploring his sexuality." And I'm not currently helping myself to the contents of Larry Maze's wallet. I'm "engaging in income redistribution."
Just so we're clear.
Don't forget the infamous "who" hailed from Arkansas! ...and the way EUSA is going, I'm surprised that BJ's in the WH are not being blessed as holy and good.
The Bishop can okay such "blessings" but God never will.
This is a standard red herring they use. My former rector used it when apologizing for the 2004 travesty of Vicky Imogene. Answer: We don't bless the animals' RELATIONSHIPS.
I would imagine that such a "blessing" would have to include the words "And may God have mercy on your soul."
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.