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Vol I No. 1
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Proposals from the Task Force on Marriage to the coming TEC General Convention

by sinetortus

 

TASK FORCE ON THE STUDY OF MARRIAGE

proposals to the TEC General Convention 2018

 

It is important to note that the first proposed resolution from this Task Force  (A085) if approved  would constitute a first reading of a set of amendments to the 1979 Prayer Book itself,  which means that if the General Convention approves a second reading in 2021, the changes will change the Prayer Book, and this will be so quite aside from anything undertaken or proposed by way of the Prayer Book revision process for which the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music is making separate proposals.

 

The Task Force has put forward  three resolutions for adoption  by the 79th General Convention.

  1. The first proposed resolution, A085 Trial Use of Marriage Liturgies (see below),
  • extends trial use of liturgies first authorized by the 78th General Convention for the 2018-21 triennium: “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage,” “The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2,” “The Blessing of a Civil Marriage 2,” and “An Order for Marriage 2” (as revised and appended to the report of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage to the 79th General Convention);
  • amends for trial use “Concerning the Service” for the Book of Common Prayer liturgies, “The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage” and “The Blessing of a Civil Marriage”;
  • adds Rite 1 and Rite 2 versions of a Preface for Marriage 2, and
  • amends and expands the Catechism’s section “Other Sacramental Rites” concerning marriage.

The resolution outlines how General Convention might proceed to make these proposals permanent additions and revisions to the Book of Common Prayer [BCP]:

1)  extend the period of trial use,

2)  adopt these additions and alterations, at which time they would be added to future printings of the BCP, or

3)  determine some other course of action.

 

The second proposed resolution, A086 Authorize Rites to Bless Relationships (see below), proposes adding two (2) liturgies to the “Enriching Our Worship” series. (https://extranet.generalconvention.org/staff/files/download/21231).

The 78th General Convention authorized for use “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” as revised from the liturgy first authorized by the 77th General Convention. That liturgy has been published in Liturgical Resources 1, and the Task Force recommends that it now be added to the “Enriching Our Worship” series.

The Task Force has now proposed a second liturgy for inclusion in the “Enriching Our Worship” series, “The Blessing of a Lifelong Relationship”, responding to study of contemporary trends and the expressed experiences of Episcopalians who desire to form and formalize a lifelong, monogamous and unconditional relationship, other than marriage, in particular circumstances. The Task Force has adapted this liturgy from “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant, recognizing that a rite that closely resembles marriage could create civil legal difficulties for some couples. Both liturgies appear in the Supplemental Materials section of this report.

The proposed resolutions read as follows

 

RESOLUTION A085 TRIAL USE OF MARRIAGE LITURGIES

Resolved, the House of _________ concurring, That the 79th General Convention, in accordance with Article X of the Constitution and Canons II.3.6, authorize for trial use as additions to The Book of Common Prayer (to be inserted following page 438) “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage,” “The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2,” “The Blessing of a Civil Marriage 2,” and “An Order for Marriage 2” (as revised and appended to the report of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage to the 79th General Convention), beginning the First Sunday of Advent 2018; and be it further,

Resolved, That paragraph 1 of “Concerning the Service” regarding “The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage” and “The Blessing of a Civil Marriage” (Book of Common Prayer page 422) be amended for trial use in accordance with Article X of the Constitution and Canon II.3.6 to read as follows:
Christian marriage is a solemn and public covenant between a man and a woman two people in the presence of God. In The Episcopal Church it is required that one (1), at least, of the parties must be a baptized Christian; that the ceremony be attested by at least two (2) witnesses; and that the marriage conform to the laws of the State and the Canons of this Church. And be it further

Resolved, That the following Preface for Marriage 2 be authorized for trial use as an addition to The Book of Common Prayer (to be inserted on page 349) in accordance with Article X of the Constitution and Canon II.3.6:
Because in the marriage of two (2) people in faithful love, thou dost reveal unto us the joy and abundant life thou sharest with thy Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. And be it further

Resolved, That the following Preface for Marriage 2 be authorized for trial use as an addition to The Book of Common Prayer (to be inserted on page 381) in accordance with Article X of the Constitution and Canons II.3.6:
Because in the marriage of two (2) people in faithful love, you reveal the joy and abundant life you share with your Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. And be it further

Resolved, That the section “Other Sacramental Rites” in “An Outline of the Faith commonly called the Catechism” in The Book of Common Prayer (page 861) be amended for trial use in accordance with Article X of the Constitution and Canons II.3.6 to read as follows:

  1. What is Holy Matrimony?
  2. Holy Matrimony is Christian marriage, in which two (2) people the woman and man enter into a life-long union, make their vows before God and the Church, and receive the grace and blessing of God to help them fulfill their vows.
  3. What is required of those to be married?
  4. It is required of those to be married that at least one (1) member of the couple be baptized and that they have been instructed that Christian marriage is an unconditional, mutual, exclusive, faithful and lifelong commitment intended for the couple’s mutual joy, for the help and comfort given to each other in prosperity and adversity, and, when it is God’s will, for the gift and heritage of children and their nurture in the knowledge and love of God. And be it further

Resolved, That these additions and alterations to The Book of Common Prayer authorized for trial use by this Convention are understood to be for the period between the 79th and 80th General Conventions, with the option to 1) extend the period of trial use, 2) adopt on second reading, without amendment, these materials as additions/alterations to The Book of Common Prayer; or 3) take some other course of action as determined by the 80th General Convention; and be it further

Resolved, That these alterations and additions be published in “Liturgical Resources 2” (as appended to the report of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage); and be it further

Resolved, That bishops exercising ecclesiastical authority or, where appropriate, ecclesiastical supervision, will make provision for all couples asking to be married in this Church to have reasonable and convenient access to these trial liturgies; and be it further

Resolved, That bishops continue the work of leading the Church in comprehensive engagement with these materials and continue to provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this Church; and be it further

Resolved, That the provision of Canon I.18.7 applies by extension to these liturgies authorized for trial use, namely, “It shall be within the discretion of any Member of the Clergy of this Church to decline to solemnize or bless any marriage”; and be it further

Resolved, That the provisions of Canon I.19.3 regarding marriage after divorce apply equally to these liturgies authorized for trial use, in accordance with guidelines established by each diocese; and be it further

Resolved, That this Church continue to honor theological diversity in regard to matters of human sexuality; and that no bishop, priest, deacon or lay person should be coerced or penalized in any manner, nor suffer any canonical disabilities, as a result of his or her theological support for or objection to the 79th General Convention’s action pertaining to this resolution; and be it further

Resolved, That in accordance with Article X of the Constitution, notice of this resolution “be sent within six (6) months to the Secretary of the Convention of every Diocese, to be made known to the Diocesan Convention at its next meeting”; and be it further

Resolved, That the 79th General Convention direct the Secretary of General Convention and the Custodian of the Standard Book of Common Prayer, in consultation with the outgoing Chair of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage and the Chairs of the Legislative Committees to whom this legislation is referred, to finalize and arrange with Church Publishing for the publication (in English, Spanish, and French) of the material contained in “Liturgical Resources 2” as approved by the 79th General Convention; the General Convention Office to make these materials available electronically at no cost no later than the first Sunday of Advent 2018.

 

 

__________________

 

RESOLUTION A086 AUTHORIZE RITES TO BLESS RELATIONSHIPS

Resolved, the House of ______ concurring, That the 79th General Convention authorize “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” (as appended to the report of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage), authorized for use by the 78th General Convention, to be added to the “Enriching Our Worship” series, for use in jurisdictions of the Episcopal Church in which 1) the couple desiring marriage are of the same sex; and 2) the civil jurisdiction in which the marriage would occur does not allow marriage of same-sex persons; and be it further

Resolved, That the 79th General Convention authorize “The Blessing of a Lifelong Relationship” (as appended to the report of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage) for inclusion in the “Enriching Our Worship” series; and be it further

Resolved, That “The Blessing of a Lifelong Relationship” shall not be used for mere convenience. It may be used 1) by couples who desire to form and to formalize a relationship with one another that is monogamous, unconditional and lifelong, but is nevertheless something different than a marriage in that it does not include the merging of property, finances or other legal encumbrances; and 2) by couples for whom the requirement to furnish identification to obtain a marriage license could result in legal penalties including deportation, because of their immigration status; and be it further

Resolved, That these rites are to be used under the direction of a bishop exercising ecclesiastical authority; and be it further

Resolved, That it shall be within the discretion of any Member of the Clergy of this Church to decline to officiate at any rite of blessing defined herein; and be it further

Resolved, That this Church continue to honor the theological diversity of this Church in regard to matters of human sexuality, and that no bishop, priest, deacon or lay person should be coerced or penalized in any manner, nor suffer any canonical disabilities, as a result of his or her conscientious objection to or support for these rites; and be it further

Resolved, That the 79th General Convention direct the Secretary of General Convention and the Custodian of the Standard Book of Common Prayer, in consultation with the outgoing Chair of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage and the Chairs of the Legislative Committees to whom this legislation is referred, to finalize and arrange with Church Publishing for the publication (in English, Spanish, and French) of the material contained in “Enriching Our Worship” as approved by the 79th General Convention; the General Convention Office to make these materials available electronically at no cost no later than the first Sunday of Advent 2018.

 

_________________

 

RESOLUTION A087 DEVELOP RELATIONSHIP PASTORAL RESOURCES

Resolved, the House of ____________ concurring, That the 79th General Convention acknowledge and minister to the growing number of persons entering into sexually intimate relationships other than marriage by calling for the development of resources that provide pastoral guidance and teaching on relationships that involve sexual expression; and be it further

Resolved, That the following statement guide the development of these resources: “Qualities of relationship that ground in faithfulness the expression of sexual intimacy include: fidelity, monogamy, commitment, mutual affection, mutual respect, careful and honest communication, physical maturity, emotional maturity, mutual consent, and the holy love which enables those in intimate relationships to see in each other the image of God”; and be it further

Resolved, That the 79th General Convention provide guidance to persons seeking to honor God’s call in all aspects of their lives by calling for the development of resources, including but not limited to spiritual practices, to aid individuals and couples in discerning their vocation to relationship, be it to singleness, celibacy, marriage and/or parenting; and be it further

Resolved, That the Presiding Officers of the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies appoint jointly a task force to develop these resources; and be it further

Resolved, That the task force report and offer these resources to the 80th General Convention for their consideration; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention request that the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance consider a budget allocation of $30,000 for the implementation of this resolution.

 

 

The full details of the Task Force’s proposals and report to the Convention can be accessed at

 

https://extranet.generalconvention.org/staff/files/download/21189