The Rt. Rev. George D. Young III, bishop of East Tennessee, explains his decision to no longer require parish membership of at least one person in a couple seeking a wedding:

Many parishes are very limited in who is allowed to have weddings there. This likely rises out of practical concerns, as it does require time and effort on the part of many people. But there is a larger issue — that of hospitality. I had the experience in a parish I was serving where we stopped to consider the message we were communicating as we regularly turned people away from hosting their weddings. It was clearly not a message of hospitality and community embrace. We then very much opened up who could celebrate a wedding at the parish, keeping the guidelines about premarital preparation, using the Book of Common Prayer, and having a tasteful liturgy. We found that people were very willing and eager to follow our guidelines, and it was a helpful and graceful embrace of our local community. This move gave the clergy and people of the parish unique opportunities to build relationships — at a very intimate level — with people not previously closely engaged with the parish. A great thing!

Read the rest [one-page PDF].

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