July 13th, 2012


The Right Reverend Don E. Johnson,
Bishop of West Tennessee

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

As you may know, The 77th General Convention of The Episcopal Church commended and approved for provisional use, “Liturgical Resources I: I Will bless You and You Will Be a Blessing” for study and use in congregations and dioceses of The Episcopal Church. A copy of 2012-A049 is attached. The use of these liturgical resources is authorized for provisional use beginning the First Sunday of Advent 2012, under the direction and subject to the permission of the bishop exercising ecclesiastical authority in dioceses.

These resources are the result of many years of deliberation and study by The Episcopal Church on all levels of its polity and governance, from congregations to General Convention. Once officially published, these resources, as amended adopted by General Convention through the legislative process, will be widely available for our study and possible use in the Diocese of West Tennessee.

Contained within Liturgical Resources I are resources for “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant in a same-sex relationship.”

In keeping with my ordination vows to guard the faith and unity of The Church, we are in the prayerful process of carefully considering how these resources may be used in and by our Diocese. I encourage all of you to join me in prayer as we engage this process. Undoubtedly, many will be reacting to the adoption of these resources in varied ways, some with pain and others with elation. I am also reminded of our solemn ordination promise to encourage and support all baptized persons..., nourish them, pray for them, and celebrate with them… .

Because these are new resources for a pastoral situation not previously recognized in official liturgical books of The Episcopal Church, I will shortly provide a Pastoral Directive which will contain the process we will follow in the study and use of this Diocese. Until that time, I encourage your continuing pastoral response to all who are within the bounds of your cure.

Know that you are continually in my prayers for your ministry and the support of The Holy Spirit.

Faithfully,

+Don

The original letter from Bishop Johnson

Bishop Johnson's responses to questions from the Commercial Appeal

A copy of A049

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