Saturday, June 18, 2011

Episcopal San Joaquin Diocese blesses same-sex relationships

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 1:26-28, 32

If you haven't read or heard enough about pro-sodomite churches, the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin in California has jumped on the bandwagon. As reported by Sue Nowicki of the Modesto Bee on June 11, 2011:

Beginning Sunday, Episcopal priests in the San Joaquin Diocese can "perform blessings of same gender civil marriages, domestic partnerships and relationships which are lifelong committed relationships characterized by fidelity, monogamy" and "holy love."

The change doesn't mean Episcopal priests will begin marrying same-sex couples, Bishop Chester Talton said. Such marriages are forbidden by state law, although that is under review by the courts.

Instead, Talton said, "what is being authorized is a blessing of relationships, which we've chosen to call sacred unions."

That would include a blessing for same-sex couples who were married in a civil ceremony for the short time in 2008 when such marriages were legal in California, he said. It also would include homosexual or heterosexual couples who are not married, but live together in a committed relationship.

The impact, Talton said, will "acknowledge the sacredness of that relationship. I think it also says our church is one that is inclusive, that welcomes all, that will embrace all members of God's creation in God's church."

The Rev. Kathleen West, acting priest-in-charge at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Modesto, said Thursday no one there has asked for a blessing, but she is ready when they do.

"This … will be good for us and for seeking, gay people who are looking for a place where they can be accepted with no condemnation of their created way of having same-sex attraction," she said. "I think it will happen at St. Paul's..."

...But such blessings are one reason theologically conservative parishes and dioceses in the United States have left the national Episcopal Church and moved to alternative oversight groups within the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Bishop John-David Schofield, who is retiring this year, was the first in the country to lead an entire diocese away from Episcopal control in 2007, establishing the Anglican San Joaquin Diocese. Lawsuits filed by Episcopalians still are pending over the property for diocesan headquarters in Fresno and the 40 parishes that moved with Schofield.

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