Blessings authorized

Published September 1, 2002

Topeka, Kan.
Bishop William Smalley of Kansas has told clergy that he will begin authorizing limited blessing of non-married people. This policy would extend to heterosexual couples for whom marriage would create a financial hardship, and to homosexual couples. Bishop Smalley said the blessing is not to be a substitute for holy matrimony and may not resemble it liturgically. He said he based his decision on the action of General Convention in 2000 in adopting a resolution that acknowledged that some church members were living in life-long committed relationships outside of marriage. He said he believes offering the church’s blessing to such couples is part of that acknowledgement. Bishop Smalley also noted the church now permits divorced people to remarry. He said he does not believe he is departing from Scripture.


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