Episcopalians air opinions on “pastoral generosity” and same-gender marriage in Massachusetts

About 45 people gathered at Emmanuel Church in Boston for an Aug. 13 hearing, called by the diocese’s bishops as a first step toward developing diocesan policy in response to the resolution on same-gender marriage adopted at the Episcopal Church’s recent General Convention.

Known as C056, “Liturgies for Blessings,” the resolution calls for the collection and development of “theological and liturgical resources” and gives bishops allowance to “provide generous pastoral response,” particularly in states such as Massachusetts where same-gender marriage is legal.

Because the resolution’s language is both precise and broad, bishops now are left to determine what it means in their local contexts and what implications any implementation might have for the wider church.

“I do think we are in a very unique situation here that we have to pay attention to,” Bishop M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE told the gathering. Continue reading

Resolutions finally wrapped up

Here’s where Diocese of Massachusetts resolutions ended up:

Deputy Byron Rushing’s resolution, D012, on support of transgender civil rights, was adopted.

Ian Douglas’s resolutions, D019, on recommitting to the Millennium Development Goals as a mission priority, and Do18, addressing the global economic crisis, were adopted.

No action was taken on diocesan resolution C040, to amend the church calendar so that the descriptive title for the commemoration of Bernard Mizeki (June 18) reads “Zimbabwe” instead of “Rhodesia.”  This means that the resolution never made it out of committee.  Revision of Lesser Feasts and Fasts (into Holy Women, Holy Men) does address this topic, however.  (See Chris Ashley’s posts, “What’s in a name?”  and “Holy everybody.”)

No action was taken on diocesan resolutions C041 and C042 to make gender-neutral amendments to the canon on Holy Matrimony.

Diocesan resolution  C061, to amend Title III.1.2 of canon on access to the ministry discernment process to include gender identity and expression, did not receive concurrence in both houses.

Diocesan resolution C062, to add to the church calendar a trial May 17 feast day for St. Andronicus and St. Junia, was referred to a committee or commission of General Convention for further study and review before the next General Convention.

Still filed under Rejection Still Stinks:  Bishop Bud Cederholm’s resolution, B001, to amend the parochial report to include data on annual energy consumption of church properties, was rejected in the House of Deputies (see “Rejection Stinks…” here).

Resolution B012, concerning “pastoral generosity in addressing civil marriage,” submitted by Bishop Stephen Lane of Maine on behalf of bishops from the six states where civil marriage of same-gender couples is legal, including Massachusetts bishops Shaw, Cederholm and Harris, got partially subsumed into C056, which was adopted.

Our source is the summary of General Convention’s actions, now available here.

More New England bishops weigh in

In his “Articles of Faith” blog on Friday, Michael Paulson updated his July 21 Boston Globe story on New England bishops’ response to General Convention’s action regarding “generous pastoral response.”

Bishops share impressions, invite members to Aug. 13 hearing

With the Episcopal Church’s triennial General Convention having concluded last week, the Diocese of Massachusetts’ bishops today wrote to diocesan clergy and lay leadership to share some impressions and an invitation to an Aug. 13 hearing.  The text of the letter follows.   Continue reading

Adjourned.

Wrapping it up

While we sort out the final whereabouts of several Massachusetts resolutions, we leave you with Heidi Shott’s “Final Wrap” of the convention.

Here’s what we do know:

Deputy Byron Rushing’s resolution, D012, on support of transgender civil rights, passed both houses and is official.

Ian Douglas’s resolutions, D019, on recommitting to the Millennium Development Goals as a mission priority, and Do18, addressing the global economic crisis, passed both houses and are official.

The following were still pending at 3 p.m. Pacific, or had somehow been subsumed into other actions (the online legislation tracking page seems to have temporarily collapsed under its own weight): 

Diocesan resolutions C040, to amend the church calendar so that the descriptive title for the commemoration of Bernard Mizeki (June 18) reads “Zimbabwe” instead of “Rhodesia”; C041 and C042 to make gender-neutral amendments to the canon on Holy Matrimony;  C061, to amend Title III.1.2 of canon on access to the ministry discernment process to include gender identity and expression; and C062, to add to the church calendar a trial May 17 feast day for St. Andronicus and St. Junia.

Filed under Rejection Still Stinks:  Bishop Bud Cederholm’s resolution, B001, to amend the parochial report to include data on annual energy consumption of church properties, was rejected in the House of Deputies (see “Rejection Stinks…” here).

Resolution B012, concerning “pastoral generosity in addressing civil marriage,” submitted by Bishop Stephen Lane of Maine on behalf of bishops from the six states where civil marriage of same-gender couples is legal, including Massachusetts bishops Shaw, Cederholm and Harris, got partially subsumed into C056, which passed both houses and is now official.

C056 adopted

The results have just been announced in the House of Deputies:  Resolution C056 passes by 2/3 majorities in both orders, 78 deputations in favor, 23 against, 7 divided (divided votes counted as no votes) in the lay order; 74 in favor, 27 against, 7 divided in the clerical order.

Update:  Massachusetts deputy Ian Douglas spoke in support of the measure during the debate, and is quoted in this Episcopal Life Online story.