As most of you are aware, the General Convention of The Episcopal Church approved an amendment to the canons (laws) of The Episcopal Church and approved changes to the service of same-sex blessings to allow for same-sex marriages. The canon that formerly read that marriage is between a man and a woman, now reads that marriage is between two persons. Even though the canon has changed, the General Convention has not changed the marriage service in the Book of Common Prayer, nor has it made any constitutional changes. Furthermore, Bishop Doyle has confirmed his continued approval of the use of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer at St. Thomas’. If the 1979 Book of Common Prayer were revised at some future date, it would not affect us.
This was expected if you have been following the trajectory of our Church over the past few decades and, especially, over the past twelve years. St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church will not be doing same-sex blessings or marriages. No Episcopal parish or presbyter can be compelled to perform a service that is against his or her conscience. This General Convention passed a conscience clause for parishes and clergy opposed to this measure.
We will continue our commitment to the Gospel and the Christian Faith as we have received it from Christ and the Apostles. I am grateful that none our three bishops supported this action of General Convention. This shows great respect and support to the traditional churches of the Diocese. Bishop Doyle is committed to maintaining the unity of the Church and making sure parishes like ours have room to maintain our witness. We will also be a parish who welcomes all in the worship and fellowship of Our Lord, regardless of stance on this matter, while we remain committed to Biblical principles.
I know many of you may be disappointed and upset by this action of General Convention. Some of you may welcome it. Please know that Mathew and I are available to talk with you about any aspect of this issue at any time. Please do not hesitate to call or send an e-mail. As in all aspects of life, we hope any and all discussion of this is done out of Christian love and grace. As one of my favorite bloggers, Rod Dreher, said recently, “If we have lost love, we have lost everything.” This could not be truer in these times.
May God bless all of you. My fervent prayers are always with you.
In His Grace,