MISSOULA, Mont. - Missoula's Holy Spirit Episcopal Church's governing body recently approved the performing of the rite of same-sex blessings. The blessing is not a ceremony of marriage, but rather a blessing of a committed same-sex relationship.
In 2012, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church gave the go-ahead for individual churches to carry out "the witnessing and blessing of a lifelong covenant for same-sex couples," if permission is granted by the bishop in each diocese along with determined provisions.
NBC Montana asked a reverend with Holy Spirit what her thoughts are on opponents' beliefs that same sex relationships are immoral.
"Our main goal is to remember that we respect one another's differences, and that we make decisions and choices that fit with our understanding of what we call scripture, reason and tradition," said Reverend Terri Ann Grotzinger.
In the 1980s Holy Spirit also became the first Montana Episcopal church in Montana to give a woman an ordained role, and church leaders say this is the latest effort to be an inclusive organization.
Saint James Episcopal Church in Bozeman and Calvary Episcopal Church in Red Lodge have also authorized same-sex blessings.
Holy Spirit leaders say the church doesn't currently have any same-sex blessings scheduled, though they expect that to change as word spreads.