Saturday, September 29, 2007

Blessings Abound Throughout the Anglican Communion

From Kevin Holdsworth, Provost of St. Mary's Cathedral, Glasgow, Scotland:

...Today I celebrated a Eucharist in circumstances which were new to me but which felt old and traditional all the same. A new addition to the range of things that human beings have wanted to mark with the sharing of the bread of heaven and the wine of new life. Today it was in celebration of a Civil Partnership between two people whom I have come to know through my work.

Duncan wrote last week of his sense of holiness in being with a couple as they vow to be with one another for life. I know that feeling well, yet every time it surprises me just a little. The most intimate of moments a couple ever have, but shared with their families and friends and in the awesome presence of the living God. Today was no different.

As I helped the two men through their vows and then served communion to them and their friends in thanksgiving, I knew the Eucharist of old. And I knew the Eucharist afresh. I know Christ at that meal every time. Today it was knowing him holding the beloved disciple in his arms as he shared with his friends on his last night and as he has done at every Eucharist since.

People like me have been waiting for services like the one I celebrated today for so long.

Christ the beloved one has been waiting much longer.
From St. Matthews, Auckland, New Zealand:

Same-sex couples are welcome at St Matthew's. The clergy at St Matthew-in-the-City will assist you in planning and holding a blessing of your same-sex union. We are delighted when any couple wishes to pledge their love, trust, and fidelity to each other before God and in the presence of their friends and family.
From the Diocese of New Westminster, Canada:

...We emphasize that we in this diocese continue to do our work of community outreach and care for our parishioners. The blessing of same sex couples is one part of that. The blessing is a way that some priests use to ensure that homosexual people who seek to be included in the Anglican Communion feel safe and respected.
From Resolution C051 of the 2003 General Convention of the Episcopal Church:

...4. That we reaffirm Resolution D039 of the 73rd General Convention (2000), that “We expect such relationships will be characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God,” and that such relationships exist throughout the church.

5. That we recognize that local faith communities are operating within the bounds of our common life as they explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex unions...
As you can see, this is not a matter of "The Episcopal Church against the World" as it is often depicted by the ultra-conservatives and often in the media. I think it is time for this misconception to be corrected.

What examples have you seen of blessings being offered in other parts of the Communion? If you provide a link, I'll add them to the above list.


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