March 30, 2017

July 25, 2012

OPEN THREAD: What Bishops Are Refusing To Authorize the Provisional Rite for Same Sex Blessings?

I’m a bit surprised at the bishops who are *not* authorizing use of the provisional rite for same sex blessings.

Mississippi is one who immediately announced a “not authorized” position.  And now Alabama.

Please post what news you have about who is NOT authorizing use of the rite in the comments below.  Please don’t mention the ones who are authorizing the rite—that’s assumed to be happening in spades. I’m interested in the bishops who are choosing *not to authorize use of the rite*.

Share this story:

Recent Related Posts



Bishop Howard of the Diocese of Florida will not be authorizing the use of the rite.

[1] Posted by Another Pilgrim on 7-25-2012 at 10:07 AM · [top]

Bishop Lawrence of South Carolina-

From his letter to the diocese.

It hardly needs to be said, but for the record let me say clearly, I will not authorize the use of such rites in the Diocese of South Carolina. Such rites are not only contrary to the canons of this diocese and to the judgment of your bishop, but more importantly I believe they are contrary to the teaching of Holy Scripture; to two thousand years of Christian practice; as well as to our created nature.

Bold is mine.

[2] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-25-2012 at 10:27 AM · [top]

Before someone states how obvious it is that Bishop Lawrence is against such “rites” and how dumb I am to even mention it here with a quote, let me reply that if at some future time someone does a search and finds this, I want it to be clear that Bishop Lawrence is included among the bishops refusing to authorize the provisional rite for same sex blessings. While obvious to us now, it may not be so clear in few years or decades.

One problem with the electronic age is that what *is* obvious now, may not be so obvious in the future.

[3] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-25-2012 at 10:36 AM · [top]

Question:  has the bishops’ role call vote on A049 authorizing the liturgy been posted anywhere?  I haven’t had time to dig for it myself, but I would value having it.

Bishops I’ve seen who are not authorizing:

Western Louisiana


Northern Indiana

Central Florida


[4] Posted by Karen B. on 7-25-2012 at 10:43 AM · [top]

To which category does “not so far” belong, because I think that’s where we’re at in Southwest Florida.

Bishop Dabney Smith voted against A049 and hasn’t authorized anything yet, but according to a diocesan spokesman, a process is now underway to “accommodate as many perspectives as we can.”  Now, what could that possibly mean? 

Good article at the Citrus County Chonicle online:

Bishop Dabney Smith of Southwest Florida told his diocese after the vote that he would consider it carefully in conjunction with lay leaders and priests. Not exactly Martin Luther’s “Here I stand, I can do no other.”

[5] Posted by episcopalienated on 7-25-2012 at 10:43 AM · [top]

[6] Posted by Karen B. on 7-25-2012 at 10:53 AM · [top]

Another Pilgrim—do you have any kind of link verifying that?  I—as I mentioned in the post—find it a bit surprising as to who is NOT authorizing use of the rite.  I would have thought it a perfect opportunity!

So far, in Province IV, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida are not authorizing—by no stretch of the imagination are those “the usual conservative dioceses.”

[7] Posted by Sarah on 7-25-2012 at 10:54 AM · [top]

Bishop J Howard- Florida prior to convention published a letter saying he would not be authorizing the use of the rite if it passed.

[8] Posted by seraph on 7-25-2012 at 11:15 AM · [top]

OK Greg, I hope the recent “hiccups” here at Stand Firm get fixed. Although, having the most recent post at the top is not bad- just different. In a way it is easier to see what has changed at a post if it is not one of the featured posts on the home page.

[9] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-25-2012 at 11:26 AM · [top]

Here is the site for the Indiannapolis Statement from the Communion Partner Bishops:

[10] Posted by Already left on 7-25-2012 at 11:31 AM · [top]

As mentioned by Already left, the Indianapolis statement was signed by several bishops. One of whom has not been mentioned so far in this post is +John Bauerschmidt of Tennessee.

I checked Titus 1:9 The elves have an update toady and they mention the Bishop of Tennessee as not authorizing same sex rites.

From the <a > Bishop’s notes about GC on the website of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee</a>.

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.

[11] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-25-2012 at 12:00 PM · [top]

LOL. I did not realize that SF would automatically change a Bible verse in to a link for Bible gateway. Ok, so I will try again:
the link should have been:

The Bishop’s notes from GC on the Diocese of Tennessee website

[12] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-25-2012 at 12:04 PM · [top]

Sarah - Bishop Howard’s announcement was read from a letter he sent to all the parishes in the diocese. There may be a copy on line somewhere. I’ll see if I can find it.

[13] Posted by Another Pilgrim on 7-25-2012 at 12:18 PM · [top]

It’s kind of “fun” to go to a big convention - be a part of the zeitgeist, and be all prophetic and feel all that “holy spirit” doing a new thingy dingy thing thing.

But eventually you have to go home and face the people keeping the doors open.

Now these “bishops” can just wait for the jack boots from 815 to force compliance. 

Then they get to play both roles in “good cop/bad cop”.

[14] Posted by midwestnorwegian on 7-25-2012 at 12:55 PM · [top]

Newly elected Bishop of Pittsburgh (TEC) Dorsey McConnell has “imposed” what disappointed LGBT supports are calling a “moratorium” on SSB.  It looks to me like he wants to get his feet wet in the diocese before making a decision…

[15] Posted by Nevin on 7-25-2012 at 03:18 PM · [top]

No. 11 - I was told by someone at Virtue Online that they have been checking every day; but, that the people at 815 are saying that until the votes are “validated,” they are not going to be released.

[16] Posted by Great Western Heresy on 7-25-2012 at 03:20 PM · [top]

Bishop Jacob Owensby, Diocese of Western Louisiana, states he will not authorize in a letter on the Diocese website.

[17] Posted by m+ on 7-25-2012 at 04:14 PM · [top]

While the Bishop of Mississippi is not authorizing the use of liturgy, he is, IMHO, laying the groundwork for acceptance.  Here are execerpts from his letter to the diocese issued 20 mins ago.  He wants the diocese to study the resource materials associated with the newrite and states that same sex blessings are the equivalent to divorce and remarriage, another departure from traditional marriage as he puts it…

For reasons that I have shared with this diocese over the past 12 years, I do not intend to authorize this liturgy for use in Mississippi. However, I will be encouraging the study of the resource materials that are a companion to this liturgy. Other resources will also be suggested. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the use of such liturgies it is essential that our discussions are grounded in a theological, sacramental and pastoral context and not tied to the shrillness of our society’s current debate on this issue. One final note is important here. This is not a change in the Prayer Book, but rather a supplemental liturgical rite. Our Book of Common Prayer continues to define for us the nature of marriage and its theological underpinnings. Approximately 50 years ago the church made a “pastoral exception” to the traditional theology of marriage by providing for divorce and remarriage. (Had I been at General Convention in those days, I probably would have voted against that change as well!) I believe that we can understand the liturgy for the blessing of faithful, monogamous, life-long covenanted relationships in our time as something similar.

[18] Posted by frmcn+ on 7-25-2012 at 05:44 PM · [top]

[Greg, problem with last post appearing at the top as No. 1 is it throws the numbering out each time someone posts]

Sarah, great idea for a thread.  These things should be publicised. Some things are changing in TEC - the PB didn’t get her carte blanche to depose people, and now some “liberal” bishops are THINKING before blindly following GC’s lead.

[19] Posted by MichaelA on 7-25-2012 at 05:53 PM · [top]

The Bishop of Georgia says he doesn’t know what the resolution will mean for his diocese:

[20] Posted by oscewicee on 7-25-2012 at 06:49 PM · [top]

It is my opinion that +Dabney Smith will not forbid the use.  There are several places down here that will jump at the chance to do it.  On the other hand he won’t mandate the use either, yet.  #16 above illustrates the problem.
Church of the Redeemer-Sarasota, the largest in the diocese, already issued a long statement indicating…“it ain’t happening here”.

[21] Posted by aacswfl1 on 7-25-2012 at 07:03 PM · [top]

The other problem I note with the comment reversal is that if you are responding to the latest comment, you cannot see it while typing your response.

To respond to MichaelA’s latest-
I doubt that any new found courage has anything to do with the few revisionist bishops who are withholding immediate approval of SSBs is not the result of some new found courage.  I suspect it has to do with a few phone calls placed to the bishop by those members of the laity who have the bishop’s private phone number because of the substantial financial support they provide the diocese.  Several of these bishops were “on the fence” prior to GC, certainly nothing that happened there would have led to a change of heart.  Of course, it is always possible that the Holy Spirit smacked them upside the head, but as a rule, people give testimony when that is the reason.

As of last I knew, while the HoB did not lynch the 9 accused bishops, the charges have not been dropped by 815, KJS closing sermon notwithstanding.

[22] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-25-2012 at 07:05 PM · [top]

LOL- that sentence in my own last comment is sufficiently convoluted that it should prove I have read too many statements from too many bishops lately.

[23] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-25-2012 at 08:20 PM · [top]


Interesting tid-bit:

Communion Partners web-site has an article about a TEC church in Kentucky that has publicly ratified the Indianapolis statement:

[24] Posted by MichaelA on 7-25-2012 at 09:01 PM · [top]

Forgot to include Dallas in my round up of links posted yesterday

[25] Posted by Karen B. on 7-26-2012 at 06:03 AM · [top]

By email from a GC 77 participant:  Bp. Tarrant of South Dakota abstained, indicated he will leave in place standing Diocesan policy which does not allow SSBs.

fwiw South Dakota Deputies split in both orders.

[26] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 7-26-2012 at 06:20 AM · [top]

Tim Fountain—that is indeed *fascinating* news.

[27] Posted by Sarah on 7-26-2012 at 07:32 AM · [top]

+Greg Brewer of Central Florida will not per his pastoral letter which has been posted here at SF.

[28] Posted by The Lakeland Two on 7-26-2012 at 08:42 AM · [top]

Link to statement by Bishop Howard’s refusal to allow same sex blessing rites in Diocese of Florida

[29] Posted by Another Pilgrim on 7-26-2012 at 08:52 AM · [top]

From the Communion Partners website, we have this (now somewhat outdated) list of CP Sitting Diocesan Bishops:

The Rt. Rev. John C. Bauerschmidt*

The Rt. Rev. Russell E. Jacobus
Fond du Lac

The Rt. Rev. Mark Joseph Lawrence
South Carolina

The Rt. Rev. Gary R. Lillibridge
West Texas

The Rt. Rev. Edward Stuart Little, II*
Northern Indiana

The Rt. Rev. William H. Love*

The Rt. Rev. D. Bruce MacPherson [+Owensby is now the new bishop]
Western Louisiana

The Rt. Rev. Daniel H. Martins*

The Rt. Rev. David M. Reed
West Texas

The Rt. Rev. Michael G. Smith**
North Dakota

The Rt. Rev. James M. Stanton

The Rt. Rev. Geralyn Wolf [I think there is a new bishop?  I forget]
Rhode Island

The Rt. Rev. Gregory O. Brewer
Central Florida

So, it seems we should be on the lookout for statements from N. Dakota, West Texas, and Fond du Lac.

I seem to recall that Rhode Island has voted YES at GenCon (both bishop & deputies on A049 and approving the liturgy… I think they have a new bishop?  My memory could be incorrect on this, so I’d appreciate it if someone could check my facts.  But I’d assume Rhode Island is lost as a CP diocese.  It was only Geralyn Wolf’s personal commitment to taking a stand for truth that ever kept Rhode Island in CP anyway.)

I’ll also be interested to see what some other Province IV dioceses like Central Gulf Coast and SW Florida do… these dioceses presumably have quite a lot of conservative members who may be pressuring their clergy and bishops to say NO.  I seem to remember seeing something about Central Gulf Coast Bishop Phillip Duncan recently, however, that suggested he has totally caved.

[30] Posted by Karen B. on 7-26-2012 at 09:55 AM · [top]

Can we really include Northern Indiana on this list, as Bishop Little has made arrangements for his clergy who want to perform an SSB to go to a neighboring diocese to do so?

[31] Posted by CenTex Priest on 7-26-2012 at 10:03 AM · [top]

I should have added to the comment I just wrote that I find it very interesting to see +Little and +Lawrence together in the list of CP bishops. 

Comparing their responses to GC2012 and the authorization of SSBs is quite striking, demonstrating that there is quite a wide range of orthodoxy or at least “firmness of stand” among the CP bishops. 

Probably all of the CP bishops personally believe that SSBs are wrong, but it is not clear that they all are willing to take a firm stand against them if that is the way the tide is flowing.  Hence +Little’s “not in my diocese, but I will refer my priests who want to do them to neighboring dioceses” remarks…  UGH.  []

It is that kind of remark that tends to make so many of us consider the Communion Partner grouping, as such, to be rather meaningless.

[32] Posted by Karen B. on 7-26-2012 at 10:04 AM · [top]

The Elves over at Titus have the link to the same downlodable doc from which I took this quote.  From the download about General Convention wrap up on the Diocese of Fl website
<blckquote>Bishop Howard, in a letter sent to Diocese of Florida communicants before Convention, has stated that he will not authorize the use of the rite in the Diocese of Florida. The text of that letter is posted on the website at</blockquote>

I can’t find the text of his letter on the diocese of Florida website. Anyone else find it?

[33] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-26-2012 at 10:06 AM · [top]

CenTex, great question.  I agree with you it’s one we should be asking.  I just posted on that very topic before I saw your comment…

There is “not authorized”

and then there is “not authorized…. yet”

and then there is “not authorized, but wink, wink, nod, nod… maybe I can help you find a way around my refusal”...


[34] Posted by Karen B. on 7-26-2012 at 10:07 AM · [top]

Karen B. WHat do the * mean behind some names on the list of CP bishops from the Communion Partners website? I see them but no explanation.

[35] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 7-26-2012 at 10:35 AM · [top]

SC blu cat lady,
I think the asterisks are something about the leadership council members.  It was explained in a footnote on the bottom of the page, I think.

see here:

[36] Posted by Karen B. on 7-26-2012 at 11:17 AM · [top]

Karen B-
If I recollect correctly, Bishop Wolf will continue in the see until sometime in the fall.  Knisely is the new bishop coadjutor of RI, and I think the the expectation is that when he takes over in the fall, he will authorize SSBs. 
I am not sure that it would be correct to assume that all dioceses that have a CP bishop are necessarily CP dioceses.  I think to be described as a CP diocese would require the diocesan convention or at least the Standing Committee to pass a resolution to that effect.  As in Wolf’s case, a bishop may be able to hold certain lines on their own, but unless they have the backing of the clergy and lay leaders in the diocese, you are going to see a major change when the orthodox bishop retires.

[37] Posted by tjmcmahon on 7-26-2012 at 06:39 PM · [top]

Bishop Lawrence:  “Such rites are not only contrary to the canons of this diocese and to the judgment of your bishop, but more importantly I believe they are contrary to the teaching of Holy Scripture; to two thousand years of Christian practice; as well as to our created nature.”

Actually, it’s about 4000 years of traditional teaching - first two thousand years were the Jewish teachings… then 2000 years of Judeo-Christian tradition.

Not even the pagans ‘blessed’ same-sex marriages.

[38] Posted by St. Nikao on 7-26-2012 at 07:48 PM · [top]

“As in Wolf’s case, a bishop may be able to hold certain lines on their own, but unless they have the backing of the clergy and lay leaders in the diocese, you are going to see a major change when the orthodox bishop retires.”

Very good point.  Conversely, if significant figures among the clergy and lay leaders are firmly committed to orthodoxy, a liberal bishop will be disinclined to go against them.  Example being Alabama, where the Cathedral Dean and chapter have stated their position publicly and in uncompromising terms:

[39] Posted by MichaelA on 7-26-2012 at 10:37 PM · [top]

Has anyone heard about Benfield in Arkansas?

[40] Posted by Michael+ on 7-27-2012 at 09:15 AM · [top]

To #1 In post GC statements, Benfield has not committed to a position regarding SSBs in AR.  Whether he did before GC I couldn’t say… However here’s 2 excerpts from a post GC communique to the diocese.

Websites and newspapers have focused on the decision for this church to authorize (under the bishop’s direction) a liturgy for the blessing of same-sex relationships. Yes, it was an important decision. But just as important for the future of The Episcopal Church was a unanimous decision by Convention to begin a study of the possible restructure of how the church operates.


The same-sex blessing liturgy discussion was honest, in-depth, and respectful. I was proud that our church was able to follow the Anglican path of respecting and appealing to Holy Scripture, tradition, and reason. I was equally proud that when we discussed Scripture, we were able to do what Anglicans have always done: that is, look at the totality of Holy Scripture and not get trapped in pulling certain parts of Scripture out of context. What both Houses of General Convention realized is that we have an amazing evangelistic opportunity to show the world that we are serious when we proclaim the good news that all barriers between people are being broken down in Jesus Christ. That is the sort of good news—for so many different reasons—that so many people are yearning for in every town and city in Arkansas. And it is the sort of message that we will do our best to proclaim. In short, Convention is over, and it is time to return to the work to which we are called.

[41] Posted by frmcn+ on 7-27-2012 at 06:13 PM · [top]

Registered members are welcome to leave comments. Log in here, or register here.

Comment Policy: We pride ourselves on having some of the most open, honest debate anywhere. However, we do have a few rules that we enforce strictly. They are: No over-the-top profanity, no racial or ethnic slurs, and no threats real or implied of physical violence. Please see this post for more explanation, and the posts here, here, and here for advice on becoming a valued commenter as opposed to an ex-commenter. Although we rarely do so, we reserve the right to remove or edit comments, as well as suspend users' accounts, solely at the discretion of site administrators. Since we try to err on the side of open debate, you may sometimes see comments which you believe strain the boundaries of our rules. Comments are the opinions of visitors, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Stand Firm site administrators or Gri5th Media, LLC.