Same sex blessing held in Kentucky

The Louisville Courier Journal reports on the first same-sex blessing held late last year at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church.

A Louisville congregation has quietly become the first in the Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky to begin blessing same-sex relationships.

St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church conducted its first such blessing late last year, for two male members of the congregation, after voting last April to approve such ceremonies.

The move, while not reflecting diocesan policy, is a milestone in one of the state’s denominations that generally has been the most accepting of gay members and ministers. But it also has complicated efforts to maintain unity, given that some churches and members oppose homosexuality.

The Rev. Lucinda Laird of St. Matthew’s stressed that the ceremony was not presented as a civil or sacramental wedding — since neither Kentucky nor the Episcopal Church recognizes same-sex marriages.

According to the news item Bishop Ted Gulick responded:

As word of the change filtered out among Episcopalians, Bishop Ted Gulick, who will be retiring later this year, issued a statement neither approving nor opposing the ceremony.

Gulick maintained he could not authorize same-sex rites because the denomination has not approved them for its foundational Book of Common Prayer. But he has left the door open to private ceremonies.

“As we pray, so we believe,” Gulick said in a written statement. “Until the ‘we’ on this issue becomes very large, it is dangerous to place such rites ‘front and center’ in our liturgical life.”

But, he added: “If the conscience of the ordained minister allows, private liturgies of blessing and support and public services of the Eucharist in thanksgiving for the covenanted, lifelong, monogamous realities of these committed relationships can be held in the churches of our diocese.”

He added in an interview: “It is our norm that we don’t do those publicly in a church building, but we don’t second-guess each other’s private pastoral ministry.”

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  1. EH Culver

    Excellent! Bp. Gulick is a remarkable pastor with a fine sense of timing. We were blessed to have him in this area for a few months.

  2. EH Culver

    Bishop Gulick is a wonderful pastor with a fine sense of timing. We were blessed to have him in this are for several months.

  3. paigeb

    “Until the ‘we’ on this issue becomes very large, it is dangerous to place such rites ‘front and center’ in our liturgical life.”

    “Dangerous”?!?! For whom?!

    If he couldn’t enthusiastically make the case for same-sex blessings, would it have been so difficult for Bishop Gulick to focus on the need to provide for pastoral care for our LGBT members? Did he have to present same-sex blessings as some kind of “danger” to the church?

    And at what point do we finally decide that the “we” on this issue has become “very large”? I would have thought that 2/3s majorities on D025 and C056 would have been enough to make the point that we are moving ahead on this issue, even if it’s not as fast as some of us would like.

    I wish bishops who are willing to permit same-sex blessings would have the courage to present them in a positive light. Otherwise, it’s just another slap in the face to our LGBT members and those who love them to hear one’s bishop saying, in essence, “Well, we do these, but we aren’t proud of it.”

    Paige Baker

  4. Jeffrey L. Shy, M.D.

    @ Paige Baker. AMEN!

    I frequently “quote” Julia Child when she was teaching how to “flip” a crepe. One has to “have the courage of one’s convictions.” otherwise, the crepe ends up out of the pan and on the floor.

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