Adapted from the Episcopal Church’s Office of Public Affairs

The Task Force on the Study of Marriage is continuing the work of identifying and exploring the biblical, theological, historical, liturgical, and canonical dimensions of marriage — as charged by 2012 General Convention Resolution A050.

“We are deeply gratified by the response to our work so far,” said the Rev. Brian C. Taylor, chairman of the task force. “Dearly Beloved — a resource for study and discussion about marriage — has been distributed in both English and Spanish, and its continuing use throughout the church is enhancing our process of churchwide consultation. Engagement through social media on our Facebook and YouTube pages has further extended that process. We strongly encourage those who haven’t yet participated with these resources to do so prior to General Convention, so we’re better prepared as a church to discuss these matters in Salt Lake City.”

Members of the task force also participated in a consultation sponsored by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) on same-sex marriage in Kansas City in June.

Bishop Thomas C. Ely of Vermont, who serves on the Task Force on the Study of Marriage as well as the SCLM, said this gathering offered “much to be able to take back into our work, based on conversation with people living this reality on the ground, and hearing the pastoral challenges local clergy are facing.”

“Part of our charge is to consider the challenges and opportunities of the changing societal norms around marriage,” Taylor said of the SCLM consultation. “So it was helpful to our task to come together for deep listening, as we continue to consider the primary question that shapes our work: ‘What might our church want to say to the world today about what it is that makes a marriage holy and particularly Christian?’”

Working in three study groups, task force members are now focused on completing their report for presentation to the 78th General Convention. The report will include:

  • Theological and biblical essays on marriage

  • articles on the history of marriage and marriage rites

  • a look at marriage canons past and present, and questions that they raise

  • a report on consultations, conversations, and research on current trends and norms
  • a response to Resolution A050’s charge that the task force “address the pastoral need for priests to officiate at a civil marriage of a same-sex couple”
  • the toolkit Dearly Beloved

The task force is considering resolutions that may flow from the content of its reports or from Resolution A050.

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