Bishop Kee Sloan, who voted yes at General Convention to approve the new ritual for same-sex blessings, will not allow the blessings to be performed in the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama.
From the Birmingham News:
“For the time being, I will not give permission,” Sloan said in an interview.
The blessing of same-gender unions is still too divisive an issue for Alabama, he said. “It’s not good at this time in this place,” Sloan said. “I’m trying to avoid any further division.”
The Rev. Frank F. Limehouse III, dean of the 3,400-member Cathedral Church of the Advent, Birmingham’s largest Episcopal Church, posted a response on the church’s website, www.adventbirmingham.org.
“We at the Advent will do our best to remain true to the teachings of the Bible,” Limehouse wrote. “We cannot bless any sexual activity outside of a marriage between one man and one woman. The Bible is clear about this. If anyone who declares the Bible teaches otherwise, then I wouldn’t doubt his or her sincerity, but I would have to question their training in biblical interpretation.”
While many Episcopalians defected from the Episcopal Church after the approval in 2003 of the consecration of the first openly gay bishop in New Hampshire, Limehouse said he plans to stay in the denomination but remain opposed to blessing same-sex unions.
Advocates for same-sex blessings were puzzled that Sloan supported the rites, but won’t allow them in his diocese.
“All of us striving for full inclusion are disappointed that he’s not allowing Alabama to move forward with the national church,” said Brad LaMonte, former Southeast regional vice president of Integrity, which promotes gay rights in the church.
“He worked on the committee that developed the rite,” LaMonte said. “It’s bizarre that he’s not allowing it in Alabama.”
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