That would include a blessing for same-sex couples who were married in a civil ceremony for the short time in 2008 when such marriages were legal in California, he said. It also would include homosexual or heterosexual couples who are not married, but live together in a committed relationship. The impact, Talton said, will "acknowledge the sacredness of that relationship. I think it also says our church is one that is inclusive, that welcomes all, that will embrace all members of God's creation in God's church."
The Rev. Kathleen West, acting priest-in-charge at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Modesto, said Thursday no one there has asked for a blessing, but she is ready when they do.
"This … will be good for us and for seeking, gay people who are looking for a place where they can be accepted with no condemnation of their created way of having same-sex attraction," she said. "I think it will happen at St. Paul's."
The Rev. Kathryn Galicia, priest at St. Francis Episcopal Church in Turlock, said she supports the bishop's policy, even though, she added, "it may never happen in our particular parish." As a priest, she said, "I'm called to love people as we are loved by God. This is along the lines of where we're expecting to go in the future."
Reason for controversy
Other faith communities in Modesto, including College Avenue Congregational Church and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Stanislaus County, have been doing similar ceremonies for the past three decades, their pastors said.
But such blessings are one reason theologically conservative parishes and dioceses in the United States have left the national Episcopal Church and moved to alternative oversight groups within the worldwide Anglican Communion.
At least they recognize this is only ONE reason why TEc continues to lose membership.