(World News Service)--The U.S. Episcopal Church (TEC) on July 10 became the largest American denomination to put its stamp of approval on same-sex unions, as delegates at its triennial convention adopted a provisional liturgy for such occasions.
The “Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” will debut in December, and can be used for commitment ceremonies for same-sex weddings in states where such unions have been declared legal, according to the church.
David Virtue, president of Virtue Online, the Anglican communion’s largest orthodox Evangelical Anglican online news service, minced no words in describing the vote.
|The proposed blessing was agreed by the church's Chamber of Bishops at a meeting in |
Indianapolis and is expected to receive final approval from its House of Deputies later
this week, Ruth Meyers, a chair of the Episcopalians' Subcommittee on Prayer Book,
Liturgy and Church Music, told Reuters.
“It’s shocking, it’s terrible. They’re doing something that’s never happened in 2,000 years of church history,” he said. “They are legitimizing a behavior and offering rites to that behavior that is untenable, unbiblical, unscriptural, theologically unacceptable to both Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Evangelical Protestant churches.”
TEC — the American branch of the Anglican denomination — started running into problems several years ago, when it first allowed women to be ordained as priests, Virtue said. Though at first the ordination of women was voluntary, it later became mandatory — and “that’s when the rot set in and the whole diocese started to leave.”
“As states sign onto gay marriage, the provisional rights for gay marriage will only be strengthened. This ship has sailed,” he said. “There’s no way the Episcopal Church is going backwards.”