Episcopal Marriage

April 9, 2018

Episcopal Church Prepares to Tighten Screws on Traditional Marriage Proponents

Further evidence this week of the continued longevity of Fr. Richard John Neuhaus’ law: “Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed.”

Officials in a handful of domestic Episcopal Church dioceses which have opted out of the denomination’s same-sex marriage liturgies are warily eying the denomination’s upcoming General Convention and the changes it may bring.

Bishops and deputies will gather this July in Austin, Texas for the triennial governing convention. A multi-year process of revising the church’s Book of Common Prayer, last revised in 1979, is widely expected to begin at this gathering.

Interestingly, the addition of same-sex marriages conducted within the Episcopal Church has not significantly lessened a decline in the overall number of church weddings, which have dropped by 44 percent in the past decade (14,805 marriages in 2006, compared with only 8,343 in 2016, the most recent reporting year).

Episcopal Diocese of Springfield [Illinois] Bishop Daniel Martins recently blogged about a conversation at the springtime House of Bishops retreat:

“After dinner, I attended a voluntary meeting with members of the Marriage Task Force, along with a handful of others. This was an opportunity to dig more deeply into their convention resolutions, which have the potential to be seismic. They are proposing a ‘surgical’ revision of the Prayer Book that would add to the BCP the rites currently authorized just ‘in the ether’ for same-sex marriage, along with a concomitant change to the catechism that would make marriage gender neutral. If approved this year, that would constitute a ‘first reading’ of Prayer Book revision, a process that would be cemented by subsequent approval in 2021. The kicker here, of course, is that while a diocesan bishop can decline to permit use of a trial rite ‘in the ether,’ a bishop cannot proscribe use of material in the Book of Common Prayer. I cannot predict how this will all play out. There is a wide variety of opinion swirling around in the mix, and the legislative process at General Convention is a real sausage machine. But it will be a hot issue. And, to be frank, it deserved a lot more consideration than it is getting at this meeting of the House. If the events following 2003 [Bishop Gene Robinson’s election and consecration] were an earthquake, approval of anything like the Taskforce on Marriage’s proposal would be a catastrophic aftershock.”

An April 4 article by the denomination’s official mouthpiece, the Episcopal News Service, highlighted same-sex couples living in these dioceses and “concern about unequal access to the trial use liturgies”. It’s also worth noting that advocates of same-sex marriage are long past the point of allowing accommodation for those who disagree. ENS quotes lesbian activist and General Convention Task Force on the Study of Marriage member the Rev. Susan Russell: “it shouldn’t depend on your ZIP code to have access to the rites.”

According to ENS, eight bishops prohibit same-sex marriage in their dioceses. Among these are Albany Bishop William Love, Central Florida Bishop Greg Brewer, Dallas Bishop George Sumner, Florida Bishop John Howard, North Dakota Bishop Michael Smith, Springfield Bishop Dan Martins, Tennessee Bishop John Bauerschmidt and Virgin Islands Bishop Ambrose Gumbs.

According to the task force, Love, Brewer, Sumner, Martins and Bauerschmidt also prohibit clergy canonically resident in those dioceses to use the liturgies inside or outside of the diocese.

While most of the denomination’s 10 overseas dioceses also reject same-sex marriage (many are in countries that do not have same-sex civil marriage) the number of domestic dioceses that eschew the practice has shrunk rapidly. Since the last General Convention convened in Salt Lake City in July 2015, a traditionalist bishop in the diocese of Northern Indiana has retired, replaced by a successor who permits churches to use the trial liturgies. Northern Indiana joins previously conservative dioceses like Western Louisiana, Rio Grande and Western Kansas which also now permit the use of the same-sex rites.


24 Responses to Episcopal Church Prepares to Tighten Screws on Traditional Marriage Proponents

  1. William says:

    Those in the UMC contemplating a “local option” or a “three branch church” are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Their end game, like these Episcopal Church “leaders”, is to eventually liberalize the entire church on sexual ethics and same-sex marriage. Unless this is stopped at the 2019 General Conference, the UMC will be on the same evil path to destruction.

    • Jim Wright says:

      Destruction will continue as liberal churches continue to corrupt the Holy Scriptures. Very sad. Bro Jim

  2. What is, and will likely take place at GC2018 is the final push to legitimize pansexuality. None of this should surprise anybody familiar with the growing state of things in The Episcopal Church and the direction it has taken. The Prince of Darkness is fully at work and will achieve his objectives for sure. That is why ACNA was born and will thrive even as TEC shrivels and dies.

  3. Allan Pearson says:

    The sin-seekers will continue so long as others allow it. For as long as we accommodate they will push for more. Give them an inch and they will take a mile. The only option is to be absolute and respond with a firm and unyielding “NO”! Same sex couplings, by any name, IS SIN! We will not condone it in any form nor in any manner. If same sex couplings is what you demand than understand that you will never get it here, so go somewhere else and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

    I realize that many true and Faithful Christians will have a great amount of difficulty with this response, but it is Biblical and so it is correct. Our Lord and Savior NEVER accommodated sin, and so neither shall we.

  4. Fr. Steve says:

    The BCP 1928, is alive and well through out the USA and can be found in many locals, but not at the TEC, shame, shame.

  5. Dick Mitchell says:

    The 2015 GenCon was explicit that bishops had a local option — that there would be no imposition if the bishop did not agree w/ SSM. Many of skeptics wondered how long such leniency would survive — pretty impressed that the issue arose so quickly.

  6. Cynthia Seddon says:

    I resigned as a Deacon in the Episcopal church as soon as the bishop of Montana where I was ordained declared same sex marriage to be ok, and he authorised such a union between 3 female deacons. The Episcopal church is heretical, and a true believer should leave it.

  7. Fr. Edward Kironde says:

    It is one thing to be a sinner, realize one’s sin, and beg for mercy from God. That’s what every human being who ever lived or will live on the planet, except One, is called to do.

    But it’s entirely another thing for one to declare one’s sin to be not sin, and to demand that everyone allow one to practise one’s sin freely in society. That is grotesque, an unprecedented, unthinkable audacity to poke one’s finger into God’s eyes and dare Him.

  8. Felicia M Tollette says:

    Amen; it couldn’t have been more plainly, and no one could have said it better.

  9. Jeff Schulz says:

    Amen to that, Fr. Edward. Except that I wouldn’t call it unprecedented. Check out the incident at Peor in Numbers 25. Note how the audacity was dealt with in verse 8. What lesson can we take away from this verse?

  10. Carla Roland says:

    Never be afraid to uphold God’s Word. We left the Episcopal Church and never looked back! Thank God for the Orthodoxy that is the ACNA.

  11. Karl says:

    Hi. It’s ironic that the same Episcopal Church USA that has abandoned God’s word when it comes to sodomy also wants couples to interview with a priest a few times so he can “judge” if they are “ready” for marriage! Couples should understand that marriage is basically a private matter and was not even a sacrament until well into the second millenium A.D. All you need to get married in the eyes of God is to pledge to each other your marriage vows. I would do that first, then get the civil marriage in Vegas or somewhere else where it is quick and cheap. Of course if you find an Episcopal Church where you can get married without the priest prying into details of your personal life, then go for it. But reject the priests who are confused about marriage to the point where they can’t even condemn the sodomites!

  12. MikeS says:

    Real Christians ought to get the heck out of there. The people in control are not even making a pretense about being a normal church.

  13. Rs says:

    For those of you condemning same sex unions. The same section of the Bible that specifically prohibits that, also prohibits other things. So I simply hope all of you are following those prohibitions, and are not divorced. And shame if you eat of shellfish, ham, food that has not been properly drained of blood. And that you are observing this very explicit and spelling out of exactly how you should be living your lives to be in God’s Grace. Otherwise, normal people consider you to be faux Christians, and sadly in need of forgiveness for your false judgements.

    • Char says:

      RS, I do believe you are referring to the Old Testament. I would say tho’ in the NEW Testament, Christ has made all things clean to eat. However, it is also stated in the NT a warning about men sleeping with men, women sleeping with women etc. That part is not given the ok.

  14. JadedInSanDiego says:

    Interesting. I guess the Episcopal Church has never taken the time to read Matthew 10. This is the chapter where Jesus reiterates the marriage covenant instituted by The Almighty in Genesis and uses the specific terms “husband” and “wife” to discuss the human players in this covenant, as well as denoting that marriage is between a male and a female. And it was Christ who said that heaven and earth will pass away before HIS WORDS will pass away.

    So much for the Episcopal Church- the synagogue of Satan where the blind lead the blind. The apostate church of today is all about social justice over Biblical theology and, sadly, Christ actually addresses the modern apostate church in a most sobering fashion:

    “…Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity…” Matthew 7:21-23

    The Lord is still calling HIS OWN from out of the apostate church and out of the world. His Sheep hear His voice- they know His voice and they follow Him- and they will live forever. Those who are NOT Christ’s sheep will NOT hear His voice. They are deaf and blind and spiritually dead with so many good works to show- and they will ultimately perish apart from God. At least, that’s what the Bible says. Then again . . . who actually reads the Bible anymore . . .

  15. Willian C. Gridley says:

    Check out the book “ A Father, a Son and The Episcopal Church”, A Soul Cracked Open , for a personal look at Bishop Greg Brewer’s diocese and the fine line he is skating on.

  16. I do not presume to judge who sins and who does not. I will leave that up to God. Nor do I believe in a God who punishes people. Rather, I believe in a God who loves, and whose expectations are set out plainly in the Two Great Commandments and the Beatitudes. Being a Christian has absolutely nothing to do with your sex life, but everything to do with how you treat other people. The emphasis my conservative sisters and brothers place on sex-related issues is a giant waste of time and resources when there are huge issues neglected. Start with inequality of wealth and income. Continue with damage to the air and water God created. Get that solved before you worry about who does what to whom in bed. As a priest, I know my place and stay out of the sex lives of my congregation. I don’t discuss it with them or preach about it. The traditional ideas that some Christians have on sex have had their day, and in fact have driven many people away. Our catechism contains a short, plain statement: “God intended human sexuality as the physical expression of love between consenting adults, with appropriate precautions to prevent disease and unwanted pregnancy.” That’s it. Nothing further need be said.

  17. Walter Cox says:

    I hope and pray that they will not change the prayer book;

  18. Peg Fenimore says:

    I wonder if we should be asking harder questions about gender, identity, and marriage? What is marriage? Is God the author of marriage? Do children need both a father and a mother? Is there such a thing as behavior that comes naturally to men or to women? Do men and women bring different gifts to parenting? Why does marriage matter? Are there consequences of redefining marriage? Do children have rights to both a father and a mother? Are men and women interchangeable? What is gender? How is identity formed? What is same-sex attraction? What does social science tell us about gender?

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