The 2009 General Convention of the Episcopal Church directed the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to collect and develop theological and liturgical resources for blessing same-gender relationships (Resolution C056). The Commission is eager to engage the wider church in theological conversation as one among many sources that will inform our work.
The reflection below was submitted by the Rev. Jay Emerson Johnson, Ph.D., chair of the task group preparing theological resources.
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As the theological resources task group continues to hone and refine the theological principles in our work, it would be helpful to hear more specifically about the principles themselves. To begin that conversation, I invite some reflection on two of those principles that are particularly intertwined with each other – the “fruitfulness” of committed relationships and the character of “mutual blessing.” In brief, what we are trying to articulate here is how living in a committed, covenantal relationship enables us to engage in our vocations as Christians in ways that we couldn’t apart from the relationship. Thus, the love shared in such a relationship “spills” over into lives of hospitality and generous service. This in turn makes all such committed relationships a blessing to the wider community. We would appreciate hearing how you might have experienced this in your own faith communities. How have committed relationships been a blessing to you? Where you have seen the “fruits of the Spirit” in such a relationship? Specific examples of these principles will help us refine our work – thank you in advance!
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We invite your participation in this dialogue about blessing same-gender relationships. Your responses and observations here will help inform the work of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music in our work of developing theological and liturgical resources for such blessings. We hope that this conversation will also be a way to renew and enliven a shared vision of the church’s mission in the world.
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