Holy Spirit Episcopal Church Approves Same Sex Blessings - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Holy Spirit Episcopal Church Approves Same Sex Blessings

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MISSOULA -

Missoula's Holy Spirit Episcopal Church approves the use of blessings for same sex couples.

It's the third Episcopal Church in Montana to approve the blessings, in addition to churches in Red Lodge and Bozeman.

Members of the Episcopal Church said their decision to offer the blessings comes after about 40 years of discussion on same sex relationships.

They said it's part of the church's decision to bless all faithful, monogamous relationships.

Reverend Terri Ann Grotzinger said the Episcopal Church formally acknowledged gay people as "children of God" back in 1976.

"Well in this church, they've been inclusive in terms of their welcoming of all kinds of people for a very long time," Grotzinger said.

That's when the discussion began on how to make blessing same sex couples a rite, or, a religious act like marriage.

"We always have a full spectrum of people who see it from one angle or another."

Grotzinger said in 1994, the church also formally decided to not discriminate against people of any sexual orientation.

"To me, it's important for us as a community to say who we are and what we believe in," she said.

Then, in 2012, the national General Convention of the Episcopal Church approved the blessing for same sex couples.

Grotzinger said at Holy Spirit, the congregation took about four months to discuss the blessing, before approving it in December.

"People went home, talked about it with family and friends, they considered it over a period of time."

Grotzinger said now, same sex couples can meet with Grotzinger and begin counseling and preparation before receiving the blessing.

"And that they're prepared to make a covenant and be able to live it out and be able to live it out, hopefully, with a very supportive community."

She said she currently doesn't have any blessings scheduled, but she's not worried.

"If that is in place in time, there will be people who will come just because they will discover we're here."

Grotzinger said the same sex blessings are similar to other rites, like baptism or marriage.

However, the blessing is not an official ceremony of marriage, which has not yet been legalized in Montana.

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