Task Force: Study Marriage Now

Adapted from a release by the Episcopal Church’s Office of Public Affairs

The Episcopal Church’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage has released Dearly Beloved… — a collection of resources for conversation and discussion.

The task force has issued this report on the resources:

We are pleased to offer to The Episcopal Church a resource for study and discussion about marriage. Its time has come. For this topic is of historic and timeless significance for the church; practices of marriage are undergoing social change in our own day; and our church, acting through resolution A050 at General Convention in 2012, asked that we develop tools for discussion on this subject.

We enter this conversation — as we always do when discerning our way forward — by considering those three sources of Anglican authority on the subject: scripture, tradition (including theology, liturgy, canon law, and history), and reason (including our human experience).

Our task force consists of 12 appointees: bishops, theologians, educators, and pastors. As the Task Force that was charged with providing resources for this reflection, we have deeply explored marriage through the lenses of scripture, tradition, and reason. We have studied and we have consulted broadly.

While we will not complete this work until we make our report to General Convention 2015, we are able, at this time, to share with the church a bit of our efforts to date. And more importantly, we are eager to invite the church into discussion at the local level.

Our hope is that many will take advantage of this moment in our history to be a part of discerning our way forward. In our day, what is God calling us to understand, to say, and perhaps to do in regards to marriage?

We can only answer this question if far more than 12 people get involved. Broad participation will assist those deputies and bishops — representatives of us all — at General Convention 2015, when they receive our report and consider possible responses to our church’s call to deepen this conversation.

The resource may be used in a variety of settings, and it consists of three different formats, which may be used independently of each other: a 90-minute event (which can be divided into three 35-minute sessions); a variety of 45-minute forums; and a lengthy article for a study group. All three formats cover theology, history, scripture, current trends, and more, with guidelines for presentation and questions for group discussion.

Members of the task force

  • The Rev. Brian C. Taylor, chair, Diocese of the Rio Grande
  • Carolyn M. Chilton, Diocese of Virginia
  • The Rt. Rev. Thomas C. Ely, Diocese of Vermont
  • Joan Geiszler-Ludlum, vice chair, Diocese of East Carolina
  • The Very Rev. Gail Greenwell, Diocese of Kansas
  • The Rev. Tobias S. Haller, Diocese of New York
  • The Rev. Canon W. (Will) H. Mebane, Jr., Diocese of Ohio
  • The Rev. J. David Knight, Diocese of Mississippi
  • The Rev. Dr. Cameron E. Partridge, Diocese of Massachusetts
  • The Rev. Canon Susan Russell, Diocese of Los Angeles
  • The Very Rev. Dr. Sylvia A. Sweeney, Diocese of Los Angeles
  • The Rt. Rev. W. Andrew Waldo, Diocese of Upper South Carolina


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