- Wednesday, July 25, 2012
The Rt. Rev. John C. Bauerschmidt, Bishop of Tennessee, offers reflections on the 77th General Convention:
In its most controversial action, the Convention authorized a liturgy for the blessing of same-sex relationships, permitted for use where authorized by the bishop and where acceptable to priest and congregation. There are substantial safeguards for clergy and churches that do not wish to make this rite available for use. The accompanying theological rationale for the practice is couched in the language of pastoral care rather than the language of justice and sexual right.
I know these actions will be a source of joy for some and of grief for others. I hope you will not be surprised that I argued against authorization of this rite, and I refer you to my brief remarks from the floor of the House of Bishops posted elsewhere for my theological reasoning. Along with some others I have signed a statement of dissent. I have no plans to authorize use of these liturgical rites in our diocese, which I know is a source of sadness to a number of our members. I know that in difficult times in our church I do not bear the most heavy load. I also know that this conversation will continue in The Episcopal Church, in our diocese, and most significantly in the society in which we live. It is most important that we remain together and not retreat into our separate corners as in times past.