Theological Reflection and Liturgical Principles

In January 2011 we posted here the guiding summary documents developed for the theological and liturgical work of the Commission on blessing same-gender relationships. As the work proceeded, those two documents were refined. You can find the final versions at the following links:

En español:

Please offer your thoughts and observations.

Keri Aubert
Blessings Project Manager


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9 thoughts on “Theological Reflection and Liturgical Principles

  1. Thank you for both these succinct and powerful statements. The liturgical principles are applicable to so much of our liturgical work together and can be offered to parish liturgical groups as a model for reflection. I am not the first to note that the theological reflection may helpfully be applied to heterosexual marriage.

  2. The government has NO PLACE to say if two people can or cannot get married, as say as long as both of them are human, to each their own in their pursuit of happiness (that’s part of what makes this nation so great, just wish Congress would see it that way soon enough).

    I think the church should kinda leave it alone too. You don’t have to bless a gay marriage to be gay friendly. Shouldn’t prevent a gay person or couple from attending service. Lets face it 1 sin = another sin. I’ll bet you money a lot of the folks in the pews are hung over from Saturday night too ;).

    I’ve got a good friend that’s gay, great guy, had him over the house before, my boys loved him, got him a job where I work. But I don’t have to ask God to bless his relationship to support him. “We’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. ” Not my place to judge shouldn’t equal” I must bless…”

  3. These statements are beautiful. They capture the energy and ethos of the Anglican tradition and will usefully guide how the Church responds to the present moment as rites are developed.

  4. “At the same time, these rites must resonate as natural speech in contemporary ears. A religious or sacred tone must be achieved without the use of arcane or antiquated words or patterns of speech.”

    This is, of course, un-necessarily divisive and I find it quite frankly offensive. There is to be no Rite I for solemnization of gay marriages? Gays are (rightly) to be included at the cost of excluding those of us (gay or straight) who prefer the centuries-testing poetic phrasing of Cranmer and Coverdale to the Ron-Burgundy-era maunderings of Rite II?

    I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken.

    • Thank you for your suggestion. Except for the burial office, all of the Pastoral Offices in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer are in contemporary (“Rite II”) language, and the Commission followed that pattern in developing resources for blessing relationships.

      Ruth Meyers
      Chair, Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music

      • Thanks for responding Ruth. I realize its perhaps unfair to ask you to correct all past errors, not just exclusion of gays as per your mandate. I do hope you’ll consider working to heal as many divisions as you can, “and also with you”/”and with thy spirit” as well as straight/gay.


  5. “But I don’t have to ask God to bless his relationship to support him.”

    Out of curiosity, Kyle, would you think such an anæmic response adequate or “supportive” if it was the best your friend, parish, and community were prepared to offer you, your wife, and your boys? Or is it only teh gheyz who are meant to be grateful for the crumbs under the table?

    These rites are a good start (notwithstanding the “Rite II fundamentalism” – not all gay Anglicans are to be found in the St Gregory of Nyssas or Redeemer Morristowns) but as long as the Church administers different rites depending on the genitalia of the ministers of the sacrament we will be perpetuating heresy concerning baptismal grace and the theological anthropology of creation and gender, an sending a message of second-class discipleship.

    The Book of Common Prayer, which is the baseline on marriage for Episcopalians, defines it as being “for … mutual joy; for the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity; and, when it is God’s will, for the procreation of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of the Lord.” None of these “goods” of marriage are necessarily tied to heterosexuality and so I am at a loss as to the need to spin rites de novo out of whole cloth. Christianity has traditionally held that the appropriate options are fidelity and marriage and abstinence without – will this new tertium quid be applicable only to gay and lesbian couples or will heterosexuals have the option of such a blessing?

  6. […]  And if you would like to see more on this topic, the task group that worked on this part of the report has a public document from 2011 outlining some of their thoughts about what the church has learned over the centuries as well as over the last 35 years of discussing same-gender relationships.  That one page document (Theological Reflection on Covenantal Relationship: Spiritual Practice for Same-Gender Couples) can be found at […]

  7. No matter how beautiful the language, blessings are a separate and unequal solution. It is past time to simply include same gendered couples in the Sacrament of Marriage. That would be an expression of all being created in the image of God. I know that lots of well meaninged people worked on this, but it’s time for Marriage. The Sacrament. The real deal.

    Cynthia, thanks for your comment. Next time please give your first and last name.
    — Ed.

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