Episcopal News Service: “Standing Commission agrees to ask convention for trial use of same-gender blessing rite”

On Monday, October 17, 2011, the Episcopal News Service published a comprehensive article about the work of the Standing Commission on Liturgy on same-gender blessings. The article, which includes both a history of this work and an update on recent actions by the Commission, is available here.  

Keri Aubert
Blessings Project Manager

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4 thoughts on “Episcopal News Service: “Standing Commission agrees to ask convention for trial use of same-gender blessing rite”

  1. I think that liturgically, there ought to be the same blessing for same as well as opposite sex committed relationships. What really needs resolving is whether or not this is marriage or committed relationship. Are they the same thing or different things? Since only some states recognize marriage between same sex partners, perhaps this is the way to go and standardize it for the whole church. The marriage rite should be inclusive for both same and opposite sex unions.

  2. While the liturgical aspects of same-gender blessings are being discussed, it would be helpful if a music minister or liturgical music specialist could recommend some hymns and anthems that would be appropriate for such a rite. We certainly can’t offer the couple “Here Comes the Bride”, and except for the classical standards by Bach, Pachelbel, Handel and Vivaldi work fine, there must be some songs that would be suitable for a soloist to sing at a “blessing”. Ideas?

    • I think creating a music repetiore list for same-gender blessings is something SCLM can accomplish in the next year. In response to the above post, I can’t imagine anyone in this day proposing “Here Comes the Bride” for any wedding – same or opposite gender. However, I do know of a female-female couple who did used that piece for their secular committment ceremony because it was a signifcant affirmation to one of the women who felt she was entitled to use that piece as much as any “straight” women to walk down the aisle. This opens a conversation about terminology used in same-gender ceremonies, that being whether we use the words “groom” or “bride.” I suppose those would only come into play when the words like “marriage” or “wedding” are also used. However, since we have favored the word “blessing” in the creation of this rite, “bride” and “groom” may not be applicable here.

      Getting back to musical selections, anything one might use for an opposite-gender ceremony would be fitting for a same-gender blessing. The only exception would be particular vocal pieces that specifically reference an opposite gender relationship (man/woman, husband/wife, or the word “marriage” or “wedding”). But those kinds of pieces are few in the vast array of possibilities (I can’t remember the last time one was used at a wedding I have played for). I don’t think a separate, unique same-gender blessing musical repertiore will ever evolve. Good, tasteful, well-performed music is appropriate at any ceremony.

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