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Marriage study recommended

by Sharon Sheridan for Episcopal News Service.

The Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music Committee has recommended the formation of a task force to study marriage. The committee affirmed Resolution A050 to create a task force to study the “biblical, theological, historical, liturgical and canonical dimensions of marriage” after substituting and amending the language of B014.

Visitors’ gallery, House of Deputies

The revised resolution also directs the task force to consult with the standing commissions on Constitution and Canons and on Liturgy and Music “to address the pastoral need for priests to officiate at a civil marriage of a same-sex couples in states that authorize such”; to consult with single adults, married couples and those living in other lifelong committed relationships; and to consult with other members of the Anglican Communion and the church’s ecumenical partners.

During July 4 hearings, two members of the Diocese of El Camino Real, which proposed a similar resolution (C076), spoke in favor of the task force following a similar study in their diocese. It was a “profitable and deepening experience for the diocese,” said Deputy Jeff Diehl. “We included all voices across the spectrum.”

During discussions July 5, committee member the Rev. David Thurlow of the Diocese of South Carolina objected to allocating $30,000 for a study during tough fiscal times and to taking an action contrary to the understanding of marriage in the wider church, including the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches.

“My deepest regret is that, when it comes to moral theology, we’re really willing to part company with the wider one holy catholic church,” he said.

But member Katrina Hamilton, deputy from the Diocese of Olympia, speaking as a single heterosexual woman, said she’d like to see the church “have a serious conversation” about marriage.

“I would like to get married one day myself, and when I do I would like to know what it is,” she said, choking up as she spoke. “I think we need this for all of us, not just for our gay and lesbian friends and brothers and sisters, but for me as well.”

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