Resolutions for consideration
R14-01 PRAYER SUPPORT FOR THOSE AFFECTED BY THE EBOLA CRISIS IN WEST AFRICA; R14-02 DIRECTING THE SUPPORT OF THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS; R14-03 MARRIAGE EQUALITY
R14-01 PRAYER SUPPORT FOR THOSE AFFECTED BY THE EBOLA CRISIS IN WEST AFRICA
Whereas, we are members of a global community of brothers and sisters, and the prediction of the loss of an untold number of deaths from the deadly Ebola virus is becoming a reality, and threats to the lives and health of our brothers and sisters in West Africa, specifically those in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, are also threats to us, and
Whereas, as Christians, one of our strongest talents is fervent prayer, and we believe in the power of prayer to transform the world and fulfill God’s wish for us for health and wellbeing; therefore be it
Resolved, that all congregations, offices and meetings in the Diocese of Southern Ohio include a prayerful petition for the elimination of the epidemic of Ebola and protection for all those who are in danger because of the epidemic, including victims, families, health care workers, and those ignorant of the causes and prevention of transmission of the virus. This prayerful petition will be offered at meetings, church services and in personal daily prayers for the duration of the epidemic; and be it further
Resolved, that when the epidemic is eradicated, as documented by the World Health Organization’s announcement, that prayers of thanksgiving and intercession for those who have been affected by the epidemic be offered.
Dr. Elizabeth R. Barker, Delegate
R14-02 DIRECTING THE SUPPORT OF THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS
Resolved, that the 140th Convention of the Diocese of Southern Ohio reaffirms the resolution of the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church to make the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) the priority of every individual and congregation in this diocese; and be it further
Resolved, that each congregation in this diocese renew its commitment to regular prayer to the achieving of the MDGs, which are to: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability, and develop a global partnership for development; and be it further
Resolved, that individuals and congregations continue to support the MDGs by giving at the 0.7% level; and be it further
Resolved, that the Diocese of Southern Ohio continue to support the MDGs at a minimum of 0.7% of the diocesan budget.
The MDGs first adopted in 2000 were targeted to be reached within 15 years by the end of 2015. There are eight goals:
1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2. Achieve universal primary education
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce child mortality
5. Improve maternal health
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8. Develop a global partnership for development
While it is now clear that all of the goals will not be reached by 2015, much progress has been made through the efforts of many, including the Diocese of Southern Ohio. Each year since the passage of resolution R06-2 in our diocese in 2006, the National and World Mission Commission has been able to issue grants for mission projects aligned with the MDGs funded by setting aside 0.7% of the diocesan budget for such purposes. Since R06-2 did not include a timetable for our commitment, this resolution is a call to continue this act of stewardship to meet Christ in the poor and needy in the world as the United Nations Development Programme prepares a post–2015 development agenda to succeed the MDGs.
The National and World Mission Commission, The Rev. Tom Fehr, chair
R14-03 MARRIAGE EQUALITY
Resolved, that the Diocese of Southern Ohio affirm our commitment to equality in society and in the sacraments of the Church, including both the legal and the sacramental covenants of marriage, and affirm the right of every qualified couple to seek the legal recognition and the Church´s blessing of their marriage, regardless of the gender of the persons involved; and be it further
Resolved, that the Diocese of Southern Ohio encourage our members to make use of the body of study and discussion on this matter in our Church, to promote understanding among Christians and among those who have been shunned by churches; to witness that our Church recognizes the presence of Christ and the gifts of the Holy Spirit in godly, committed, faithful lesbian and gay couples; and be it further
Resolved, that the Diocese of Southern Ohio encourage our members to advocate for marriage equality in this and every State; and be it further
Resolved, that the Diocese of Southern Ohio authorize its General Convention Deputation to prepare a Resolution to General Convention, memorializing the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church in authorizing the Blessing of Marriages for all couples permitted to marry by the State, with the necessary Canonical and Prayer Book amendments, and authorizing the use of new liturgies permitted for Blessing of a Holy Union (now to be considered and named Holy Matrimony or Marriage) for qualified couples regardless of their orientation. *
General Convention 2012 authorized pastoral discretion in dioceses, for the Blessing of Sacred Unions of qualified couples who cannot ask for the Blessing of Holy Matrimony because of their sexual orientation, under the current Canons and rubrics of the BCP. This decision was reached after a long and deliberate process of study and conversation with many points of view.
Since the authorization of General Convention, the Diocese of Southern Ohio is among the many that have adopted a process for permitting the Blessing of a Sacred Union for qualifying couples. The work throughout the Church that has gone into preparing appropriate liturgies has sustained an important theological conversation on the meaning of marriage. Some straight couples have indicated their preference for the new rites, and ask whether there is equal access for them to these liturgies.
The number of States permitting gay and lesbian couples to marry legally continues to increase. Our Canons state that no marriage can be solemnized that is not recognized by the State. However, we are not permitted to solemnize many marriages which would otherwise qualify by our Canons, which are now recognized in a growing number of States.
The Church scrambles to keep up with the State on acknowledging faithful love and lifelong commitment, while battling the impression among the majority of young adults in our society that Christianity is ¨anti-gay¨ – 91% of 16 – 29 year olds stating that Christians are anti-homosexual. (David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity; cited by Chris Yaw, Jesus Was an Episcopalian, 2008 LeaderResources.) As the most vocal opponents of equal rights on every front seem to be religious groups, the public witness of our Church on the issue of marriage equality is more vitally important than ever.
Our bishop, along with some of the clergy and vestries, has joined other Episcopal bishops in amicus curiae briefs to the District Courts supporting marriage equality, through the appeal process on marriage equality rulings from the lower courts. It is time to act consistently with our words, not only asking the court to safeguard all families in society at large, but also making Holy Matrimony a sacrament for all who seek it appropriately in the Church.
Social Justice and Public Policy Commission,
The Rev. Richard Burnett, chair