An article in today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel informs the wider community where the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Milwaukee, and our bishop, the Rt. Rev. Steven Miller, stand on allowing the use of rites for same-sex blessings by diocesan congregations. The article includes this from Andy Jones, Rector of St. Andrew’s Madison:
“I have people here in my parish – faithful, committed Christians – who are partners in same-sex relationships and long to have their re lationships recognized by the church they love. So I’m really anxious to be able to do that,” said the Rev. Andy Jones of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Madison, echoing the concerns of several pastors in the diocese.
“But the bishop is still struggling with this,” Jones said. “He’s still working it through, and that’s where we are.”
The article also points out that Bishop Miller has yet to announce publicly what he will permit.
Meanwhile, in the wider church the news was released last week that the National Cathedral (in Washington, DC) will perform same-sex weddings (a provision in the legislation authorizing same-sex blessings permitted the adaptation of the rite for marriage in those jurisdictions where same-sex weddings are legal). And Sewanee (The University of the South), owned by 28 Episcopal dioceses, has announced that same-sex blessings will be permitted at All Saints’ Chapel, with the approval of the couple’s bishop.
There’s some question about how many dioceses permit the rites. According to David Virtue, as of December 19, 2012, 69 dioceses allow them. The Journal Sentinel article, citing Integrity, says that 30% of Episcopal dioceses have permitted them.
It should come as no surprise that many dioceses are still equivocating! All sorts of reasons can be adduced to support the position that such blessings are the right thing to do — just not now or not yet or not until there is consensus within the parish, or not until a more perfect theological rationale is provided, etc,. etc. It is good to see some leadership come from the National Cathedral on this issue whose time has come… and passed.
Hi, Andy–I applaud your Statement on blessings for same-sex marriages and your support for this liberating decision. While I am sympathetic with Bishop Miller’s reasons for caution in the matter, let us hope that he will come soon to find sound justification to stand with your leaderly position. Bernard