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Same Sex Relationship Blessings

Emmanuel Episcopal Church

"Same Sex Relationship Blessings"

On the bulletin each Sunday at Emmanuel there is a statement:

"We believe that God loves everyone-no exceptions"

            In the July 2011 edition of the "Virginia Episcopalian," Bishop Shannon Johnston wrote an article titled "Surprised by Prayer."  In the article Bishop Johnson says that he decided to:

"begin working immediately with those congregations that want to establish the parameters for the 'generous pastoral response' that the 2009 General Convention called for with respect to same-gender couples in Episcopal churches."

The Bishop outlined three criteria to be satisfied in order for him to give permission for a congregation to develop a "local option." The criteria are:

1)    A statement of where the congregation is with this issue.  What preparation has been done? What program of teaching was followed?

2)    Has this been discussed with the vestry or vestry committee? What is their position?

3)    A substantial exposition of the theology of recognizing same-sex relationships.  This must include exegesis of the relevant passages from Scripture, not neglecting those which are cited as speaking negatively about same-sex couples. 

To see the complete article, go to the link below (page 12):

 http://www.thediocese.net/Customer-Content/WWW/CMS/files/JulyVE11_web.pdf          

            Emmanuel formed a committee called the "Committee to explore the interest and ability of Emmanuel Episcopal Church to implement Bishop Shannon Johnston's criteria for Same Sex RELATIONSHIP BLESSINGS."  Father Robayo emphasized that the primary focus is on members of our congregation that are in relationships that have love, fidelity, and a faith commitment.  The committee established an exploratory, educational, welcoming, respectful caring conversational process to hear the diversity of thoughts within the congregation of Emmanuel.

            The committee submitted its report to the Vestry and the Vestry approved sending the report to the Bishop seeking his permission for Emmanuel to perform Same Sex Relationship Blessings.   Bishop Johnson approved, and Emmanuel welcomes Same Sex couples to share in our faith community in an inclusive way.