June 28, 2015
I served on the Task Force on the Study of Marriage that made two proposals to the General Convention; and I'm now serving on the Special Legislative Committee on Marriage to which these and all other resolutions concerning marriage were referred. The Legislative Committee has now reported out all of the resolutions but one (that we may eventually recommend be discharged if the others are adopted).
I'm happy to report that the resolution A037 to continue and expand the work of the Task Force (and its membership) has passed in the House of Bishops and will head to the Deputies shortly.
More importantly, in my opinion, we have amended and greatly improved resolutions A036 and A054. The first of these is the canonical amendment that will bring the canons into full conformity with the Book of Common Prayer while also allowing for marriage equality. This is no mean feat, but I am very happy with the work we did, which involved a good deal of listening and comprehension. Most importantly, the resolution provides language for a new Declaration of Intention that expresses the Church's teaching on marriage in a way that is both beautiful and inclusive. It is cast in the first person plural, and speaks of God's purposes for "our marriage" -- which I think brings it home.
The second resolution will, if adopted, authorize a number of liturgies for trial use under the terms of the Constitution Article X as alternatives to the BCP marriage liturgy. Among these is a version of the 1928 BCP liturgy suitable for same-sex couples. Again, a lot of work went into these liturgies, and the work is bearing fruit.
Both of these resolutions should arrive in the House of Bishops shortly. My prayer is that they pass as they are, without much tinkering in either house.
To those who might think we are moving too fast just to keep abreast of the times, I note that for the Church, the question isn't whether we are married to the spirit of the age, or widows to the spirit of some long-gone age. The question for us is, Are we faithful to our true spouse, Jesus Christ, who is the same for ever and ever? Being true to him may mean growing in unexpected ways to meet the new demands he places before us. God be praised for life and the opportunity to serve!
Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG