There was no room at the inn this afternoon for press in the House of Bishops. The reporter from the LA Times was the last one in and had to run around pleading for a chair until an extra one was brought up. Only the question of blessing same gender relationships could bring such excitement after the passage of D025.
Bishop Ely opened the session by explaining that 26 bishops met together early and late for an extended indaba-style conversation in two two-hour sessions. As a result of that conversation five bishops wrote a substitute resolution. Bishop Jones presented the resolution and the bishops then took another twenty minutes for conversation.
The substitute resolution was wordsmithed for a while. The biggest change was taking out the idea of having liturgies developed in the next three years to be considered at the next General Convention.
So what are we left with –
1) local option – in other words each bishop can decide what is appropriate especially given the different legal situations. This has been the situation informally and unofficially but now it’s out in the open.
2) The collection and development of theological and liturgical resources.
This seems to reflect a sentiment mentioned several times by bishops over the past week, that we need to develop our theological ideas BEFORE we develop liturgies, not the other way round. It also provides some breathing space for the more conservative.
We’ll see what the Deputies do. Our rendering of the final text is here;
Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, that the 76th General Convention acknowledge the changing circumstances in the United States and in other nations, as legislation authorizing or forbidding marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships for gay and lesbian persons is passed in various civil jurisdictions that call forth a renewed pastoral response from this Church and for an open process for the consideration of theological and liturgical resources for the blessing of same gender relationships; and be it further...
…Resolved that bishops, particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same gender marriage civil unions or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this church, and be it further
Resolved that this convention honor the theological diversity of this Church in regard to matters of human sexuality and be it further