Sunday, December 9, 2012

Episcopal Church liturgy for blessing same-gender relationships begins provisional use

(Episcopal News Service) In the final debate before General Convention approved a provisional church liturgy to bless the lifelong relationships of same-gender couples, Episcopal Diocese of Chicago Deputy Ian Hallas, 22, spoke about his sister, Louisa, and her civil union.

“The love that she shares with her partner is unconditional and speaks to the ideal relationships all of us should strive to have,” he told the House of Deputies on July 10 in Indianapolis. “I often get asked by churchgoers and nonchurchgoers why I am a part of this body. The reason I return is for my sister. I seek to assure that she not only has the same rites as myself but also the same privileges.”

The new rite, “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant,” was authorized for use with diocesan episcopal permission beginning Dec. 2, the first Sunday of Advent.

On Dec. 29, Louisa Hallas, 25, and Clare Kemock, 30, will have their union blessed at their home parish of Holy Nativity Episcopal Church in Clarendon Hills, Illinois. The couple, engaged for just over a year, met working backstage at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. Kemock is a costume designer; Hallas now works as administrative assistant for the Chicago diocese’s director of ministries...

“Because we’re a church who learns as we pray and our theology develops through our experiences of worship, we’ll learn more about what it means to bless the relationships of same-sex couples through our experience of these liturgies,” Meyers said. “So the commission will be developing a process of review and will want to learn from clergy and couples and congregations who are using these materials, and there may well be some refinements to the material...”


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