The Church Decides


General Convention Approves Marriage Equality

Dear St. Thomas Family,

What an amazing week this has been!  Last Friday the Supreme court made it legal for all Americans to marry the people they love, a decision to be celebrated. Then as Our General Convention met in Salt Lake City, we elected  Michael Curry as Presiding Bishop, the first African American to lead the church in this role.  There are many issues  being deliberated at General Convention which I hope  will lead our Church to grow  more deeply into love, justice and compassion.

Just last evening  The House of Deputies approved without ammendment what the House of Bishops had already approved.  Resolution A036 revises Canon 1.18 titled “Of the Solemnization of Holy Matrimony.”  Among many edits it removes references to marriage as being between a man and a woman.

They also passed A054  approving continued use of “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” (which General Convention approved for provisional use in 2012)  and also authorized two new marriage rites. A054 stipulates “Bishops exercising ecclesiastical authority or, where appropriate, ecclesiastical supervision will make provision for all couples asking to be married in this church to have access to these liturgies.  Trial use is only to be available under the discretion and with the permission of the diocesan bishop”

It is these last two sentences regarding A054 that give me both hope and concern.  These rites must be available and yet our bishop has been clear that he does not give his permission.  I will be attending a meeting with our bishop and deputation on Tuesday July 7 and I hope to understand how this will be addressed in our diocese.

As I said on Sunday,  I will not remain silent. I will  continue to seek respectful conversation with our bishop, advocating for the pastoral needs of this congregation.  We all share the vocation of being  ministers of the gospel. Many are called to live out this  vocation  within the covenant of marriage. The Episcopal Church has affirmed this and my hope is that, as we work together, our diocese will soon acknowledge the holiness of all committed relationships.  So we will move forward in hope.

I leave you with the words of The Rev’d Susan Russell, former President of Integrity.
“It is a proud day to be an Episcopalian as we journey together into God’s future – a diverse people united in our commitment to the Jesus movement that our Presiding Bishop-elect Michael Curry has called us to claim and to proclaim to a world hungry for love, justice and compassion.”

Blessings and Peace,