The Washington Times reports on today's developments at the Diocese of Virginia Annual Council here:
The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia inched closer to blessing same-sex unions Saturday when delegates approved a resolution affirming "the inherent integrity and blessedness of committed Christian relationships between two adult persons."Read it all here.
The resolution, which passed by an uncounted show of hands by the 700 or so Episcopalians meeting at the Reston Hyatt, first recommended the diocese respond "to the pastoral needs of our faithful gay and lesbian members."
A second paragraph defined the "relationships" as "characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God."
"There is a time to take that step and follow Christ," said Matt Johnson, a delegate from Grace Episcopal Church in The Plains, Va. "I think this is one of those times. Yes, these relationships have integrity and are blessed. For 20 years, we have been talking about this. Let's go do it."
Frank Baxter, 70, a Front Royal resident who said he had been in a 24-year "committed relationship," agreed.
"I would like to see the diocese accept us as full members of this church while we are still on the green side of the grass," he said.
But opponents said the "relationships" could apply to any sexual partnership.
"I can envision that relationship with one of those persons married to someone else," said a male delegate from Church of Our Saviour in Charlottesville. "What do we do about that?"
"I think we're going to open some doors we do not wish to open," said delegate Ann Davis from Louisa. "A 30-something woman told me her understanding of monogamy means 'one at a time.' There is nothing here about these relationships being 'lifelong.' "
The question of same-sex blessings and gay clergy split the diocese two years ago when 11 conservative parishes left over issues of biblical authority and the diocese's approval of the 2003 consecration of the openly gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson.