The Episcopal Church is set to debate a blessing rite for gay and lesbian couples wishing to wed.

Church representatives will consider the measure at its General Convention, which starts Thursday in Indianapolis.

At its last convention in 2009, the church approved language encouraging bishops in states where gay nuptials are legal to “provide generous pastoral response” to gay couples, and approved the creation of the rite now being considered.

The rite, advocates stress, is not a sacrament and would not confer “marriage.” The Episcopal Church defines marriage as a heterosexual union.

“For some people, it's going to be troubling,” Bishop Charles E. Bennison Jr. of the Diocese of Pennsylvania told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “For others, it's going to be thrilling.”

Consideration of the blessing rite comes sixteen years after the Episcopal Church approved the ordination of openly gay clergy.

Debate on the rite, titled The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant, is set for Saturday evening. It must be approved by the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies.

Bennison, who serves on the legislative committee that will present the rite, said it enjoys broad support in the House of Deputies.