CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Episcopal Church in West Virginia will bless same sex unions, Bishop Michie Klusmeyer announced Saturday.
Klusmeyer said he gave the issue much thought and prayer before making the decision, which he announced in Flatwoods at a three-day convention of the Diocese of West Virginia.
Klusmeyer said the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia is following the example of three other Christian organizations -- the Evangelical Lutheran Church, United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Church in blessing the unions.
"There will be some [church members] who are elated and some who will be very disappointed," the bishop said.
There are 'parameters' to the church's blessings for gay unions, which are to begin on Dec. 1, at the start of the next Christian calendar, he said. The priest in charge and the congregations of individual churches must decide whether the church will bless the couples. Couples must be baptized and active members of a particular congregation for a minimum of six months.
Also at the convention, Klusmeyer announced the church will have a Corpus Christi festival in June and plans to be more involved in communities.
"We are not a one-issue church," Klusmeyer said. "We have a whole lot more to do. We have the gospel to proclaim, we have lives to touch and transform and we have the good news of Jesus.
"The actions that I provided for today are a part of that gospel ministry and we're moving forward."
Reach Lori Kersey at lori.ker...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.