This is a group created to start a loving and constructive letter writing campaign in response to a recent decision by Chancellor John Howard and Regent Bishops of the University to deny a same-sex couple the right to have their relationship blessed in All Saints’ Chapel. The issue is not whether the Episcopal Church approves of the blessing of same-sex couples. In 2012, the Church as a whole approved allowing individual dioceses to determine for themselves whether or not they would allow such services, and 18 of Sewanee’s 28 supporting dioceses have. It should be noted that the couple in question has already gone through the the responsible steps to be legally bound to one another by acquiring a marriage license in a state that supports same-sex civil unions and will be wed there May 31, 2014. They have also gone through the appropriate process of being approved in their diocese of Atlanta and have the blessing of Bishop Wright of Atlanta to proceed with a blessing ceremony.
However, on May 16th, 2014, the Chancellor and fellow Regent Bishops chose to deny this couple’s request to hold a blessing ceremony in All Saints’ Chapel later this year. As we understand it, their request was denied on the grounds that the state of Tennessee does not legally acknowledge same-sex civil unions, and the church does not want to appear as though it is blessing something that the state of Tennessee does not permit.
The purpose of this group is to ask the Chancellor and Regent Bishops for transparency around their decision to deny this couple and any legally bound same-sex couple the opportunity to have their relationship blessed in All Saints’ Chapel, and encourage them to reconsider this decision.
We ask that anyone who is willing write a respectful, kind, and considerate letter to the Rt. Rev. John Howard at the address below.
For more details, visit their webpage.