After the 2012 General Convention, a Task Force on the Study of Marriage was formed to address canonical, theological, pastoral, and legal dimensions of the practice of marriage. The task force’s report was released in February. The new Fully Alive project has responded in a paper published online by the The Anglican Theological Review, with responses from Kathryn Tanner, Dan Joslyn-Siemiatkoski, and Scott MacDougall.

Fully Alive’s paper, “Marriage in Creation and Covenant,” is by Bishop John Bauerschmidt, Zachary Guiliano, Jordan Hylden, and Wesley Hill. The paper’s abstract states:

The recent Report of the Task Force on the Study of Marriage, as presented to the 78th General Convention, proposes substantial changes to The Episcopal Church’s marriage canons. By replacing language in Canon I.18 drawn from the marriage rite in The Book of Common Prayer, the changes would render optional the traditional understanding that marriage is a “covenant between a man and a woman” that is intended, when it is God’s will, “for the procreation of children.” We contend that these changes obscure the nature of marriage as a divinely created social form that is the external basis of the covenant union between “Christ and the Church” (Eph. 5:32). As such, it draws a veil over marriage as an outward and visible sign of this union. While leaving open the issue of blessing same-sex unions, we make an Augustinian case for retaining the prayer book’s doctrine of marriage.

The full name of the project is Fully Alive: Love, Marriage, and the Christian Body. The purpose description from Fully Alive’s website clarifies the intention of the project’s contributors to help advance substantive conversations in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion regarding marriage, theological anthropology, and the nature of the church:

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There is an important conversation going on about marriage today. It is happening in society. It is also happening in the Church. People are asking questions about what marriage is and what it is for. Fully Alive is a project by a group of Christians who are seeking to answer these questions deeply and prayerfully, while also considering some even bigger questions that lurk in the background of our conversation on marriage. What does it mean to be a human being? What does it mean to be a woman or a man? Is it possible for people who come to radically different conclusions about these things to live together with integrity in one society? What about in one church?

In the weeks and months ahead, Fully Alive will be publishing essays and creating resources. This website will have all the latest information. Fully Alive is sponsored by the Communion Partner Bishops.

The report of the Task Force on Marriage is available on the General Convention website. Responses to Fully Alive’s paper are available on ATR’s website.

The featured image was uploaded to Flickr by firemedic58. It is licensed under Creative Commons.

About The Author

The Rev. Dr. Zachary Guiliano is an associate editor of The Living Church and a priest of the Church of England serving as assistant curate at St. Bene’t’s Church, Cambridge.

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