By Matt Townsend
More than 30 deputies stood in silent protest July 12 of the Episcopal Church’s provisional rite for blessing same-sex couples. After the Rev. Canon Neal Michell read The Indianapolis Statement to the House of Deputies, about three dozen deputies rose in solidarity.
Signed by 14 current and retired bishops, the statement says the rite is for all practical purposes a wedding service and contradicts biblical theology and the Book of Common Prayer. The statement also reaffirms the dissenting bishops’ commitment to gay and lesbian Christians, to their dioceses, and “to the Anglican Communion of which the Episcopal Church is a constituent member, and to the historic See of Canterbury with whom we are in communion.”
Michell, a deputy from Dallas, said the statement was read first to the House of Bishops in response to the decisions of the houses to approve same-sex blessings and defer any decision on the Anglican Covenant.
Reading from an introduction to the bishops’ statement by the Rt. Rev. Michael G. Smith, Bishop of North Dakota, Michell said Communion Partners has spent six years working to keep theological conservatives in the Episcopal Church and theological liberals in the Anglican Communion.
Bishop Smith’s introduction added:
“Two actions of this General Convention have made this task more difficult:, the authorization of same-sex blessings through the passage of Resolution 049, and our decision to decline to take a position on the Anglican Covenant by the passage of Resolution D008.”