The Episcopal Church’s General Convention approved a measure last July that expanded the right for same-sex couples to marry in all dioceses, even ones where local bishops theologically object.
Known as Resolution B012 and officially implemented on Dec. 2, the new measure overturned a previous resolution from 2015 that allowed dioceses opposed to same-sex marriage to retain their bans on officiating the unions.
While the new resolution still gives clergy the right to refuse to officiate same-sex weddings, bishops opposed to same-sex marriage rites must call on another bishop to provide pastoral support for the couple and a clergy member to perform the ceremony.
“I think this is a really important moment for the church,” said Long Island Bishop Larry Provenzano, who proposed Resolution B012, to the Episcopal News Service in an interview last summer.
“We do this without there having to be one side wins and one side loses. Very much like the theme of the whole convention, there’s a great movement for the church to really be the church in this time.”
However, the new resolution has met resistance, specifically from Bishop William Love of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany, New York, one of the dioceses affected by the new measure.
In a lengthy pastoral letter released last November, Bishop Love said same-sex wedding ceremonies will not take place in his diocese.
“Jesus is calling the Church to follow His example. He is calling the Church to have the courage to speak His Truth in love about homosexual behavior — even though it isn’t politically correct,” wrote Love.
“Sexual relations between two men or two women was never part of God’s plan and is a distortion of His design in creation and as such is to be avoided. To engage in sexual intimacy outside of marriage between a man and woman, is against God’s will and therefore sinful and needs to be repented of, NOT encouraged or told it is OK.”
Love also said he believes both his denomination and overall Western society “have been hijacked by the ‘gay rights agenda,'” and that pro-LGBT Episcopalians have been “received into believing a lie that has been planted in the Church by the ‘great deceiver’ — Satan.”
Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, who supports same-sex marriage and leads the denomination, released a statement last November in response to Love’s letter, explaining that he was “assessing the implications of the statement and will make determinations about appropriate actions soon.”
A spokesperson for The Episcopal Church told The Christian Post via email on Jan. 2 that there had been no new developments in the dialogue between the national denomination and the Albany diocese.
Then, on Jan. 11, the spokesperson forwarded CP an official statement from Presiding Bishop Curry in which he decided to partially restrict Love’s ministry by prohibiting him from “participating in any manner in the church’s disciplinary process in the Diocese of Albany in any matter regarding any member of the clergy that involves the issue of same-sex marriage.”
“Nor shall he participate in any other matter that has or may have the effect of penalizing in any way any member of the clergy or laity or worshiping congregation of his Diocese for their participation in the arrangements for or participation in a same-sex marriage in his Diocese or elsewhere,” said Curry.
In addition to the Diocese of Albany, the other impacted dioceses include Dallas; North Dakota; Springfield, Illinois; Tennessee; the U.S. Virgin Islands; and two of the denomination’s Florida-based dioceses, the Diocese of Florida and the Diocese of Central Florida.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski