Friday, December 06, 2013

Virginia Episcopal Bishop Conducts Same-Sex Blessing

by Jeffrey Walton
December 4, 2013
Bishop Shannon Johnston of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia has presided over the blessing of a same-sex union, according to an Arlington clergywoman.

Mother Leslie J. Hague, rector of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Arlington was joined in “holy union” with her partner, Katie Casteel, at Episcopal Church of the Holy Cross in Dunn Loring on November 23. The afternoon blessing ceremony followed Hague and Casteel’s civil marriage in nearby Washington, DC exactly one year before. Same-sex marriages are not recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

According to the September vestry minutes of St. Michael’s parish, Hague extended an invitation to every member of the church to the blessing ceremony. Hague and Casteel have shared a home for over eight years.

The blessing comes one year after Johnston granted the request of Christ Church in Alexandria to begin using a “provisional” same-sex blessing rite authorized by Episcopal General Convention in 2012. The blessings, despite using a modification of the church’s marriage rite, are not called marriage in Virginia as they are in the neighboring Diocese of Washington... the rest

Although not legally binding in the state, the blessing of same-sex couples is becoming a reality in Episcopal churches.
Guthrie’s Trinity Episcopal Church and St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Oklahoma City are the first two in the state’s western half to receive approval from Episcopal Bishop Ed Konieczny.

Father John Borrego, the rector of Trinity, said his congregation went through a lengthy process to determine if the church would offer the ceremony....


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