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HOD Concur Same-Gender Blessing

HOD Concur Same-Gender Blessing
Vote to Reimagine Structure of Church, Elect New President

The House of Deputies concurred with the House of Bishops on Resolution A049, Authorize Liturgical Resources for Blessing Same-Gender Relationships, on Tuesday, July 10. In a vote by orders, the resolution carried by 78 percent in the lay order and 76 percent in the clergy order. Each diocese now has the opportunity to consider allowing same-sex blessings following the guidelines that are offered in the extensive resolution prepared by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music.

Following the concurrence, Bishop Gary Lillibridge said, “We have a lot of work ahead of us as a church; each diocese will have to consider the ramifications before moving forward.”

Lillibridge formed a focus group in the Diocese of West Texas of 50 clergy and lay leaders from across the diocese to focus specifically on this resolution and how the DWTX will prayerfully move forward with its passing. The group first met on June 8 and will come together again on August 24 to thoughtfully form a process for educating the people of the diocese. Lillibridge said he wants the focus group “to be prepared for a prayerful, reflective, and theologically meaningful discussion of the actions of General Convention.”

During the debate on Resolution A049 on the floor of the House of Deputies, Deputy Holt of the Diocese of Central Florida spoke against the resolution, saying the Church needed to be faithful to the Book of Common Prayer, which references marriage as a solemn covenant between a man and woman, which he considers a core value.

Just before the consideration of A049, the House of Deputies unanimously passed Resolution C095, which calls for the formation of a task force to reimagine the workings of the Episcopal Church and report to the next General Convention in 2015. Not a single “no” vote was articulated after the 840 deputies all audibly voted in favor of the resolution. A standing ovation followed, led by President of the House of Deputies Bonnie Anderson. The House of Bishops will now consider Resolution C095.

When speaking during the debate on A049, Holt said, we just made a decisive decision on C095 “and our group felt united. Now we are deeply divided in this debate and in our core values as individuals.”

Debate on the issue lasted 30 minutes with Anderson calling on deputies with differing opinions to be fair. West Texas deputy Drew Cauthorn said, “The discussion was honest, heartfelt, and passionate but not mean spirited.  No one minced words.” The time of debate was followed by a lengthy parliamentary discussion following a request to divide the resolution into two parts. The resolution was not divided, and as the afternoon session of the House of Deputies came to close, the vote was cast and the passing was final.

President of the House of Deputies

The House of Deputies also elected a new president on Tuesday, July 10. The Rev. Gay Jennings from the Diocese of Ohio. Jennings will begin her three-year term at the conclusion of the 77th General Convention on July 12.

To read more on the passing on A049, C095, and the new HOD president, please see the top stories on the Episcopal News Service site.

Categories: General info
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