The diocese of Edmonton has passed a motion that will allow clergy to bless civilly married same-gender couples on a case-by-case basis.
Clergy will ask for the bishop’s permission to offer the blessing, says Dean Neil Gordon, who introduced the motion at the diocesan synod Oct. 12 to 13. This differs from decisions in dioceses such as New Westminster and Toronto where designated parishes have been granted permission to offer the blessings carte blanche.
Although 70 per cent voted in favour of the motion, a second resolution instructed clergy to work together to determine just how the blessings will be performed. “We have to work out how we are going to do this in a way that builds up and retains unity,” says Gordon, who is rector of All Saints’ Cathedral in Edmonton and dean of the diocese. Clergy plan to meet in mid-November to and report back before General Synod 2013 in Ottawa next July.
Until now, the diocese has offered same-gender couples the chance to celebrate their marriages with a family eucharist service, as set out in guidelines developed by the House of Bishops. There has been no formal acknowledgement of the marriage in the service, however.