I guess the definition of a church nerd is someone who keeps a window with the twitter hashtag #GC78 open on the side of their workspace. Yesterday, I followed the tweets as the House of Bishops (#HOB) debated A054 and A036, which address liturgy, access, and canons around marriage.
Some of the comments were just plain loony, with one Bishop calling for same sex married couples to be celibate.
But in the end, the Bishops approved both measures and sent them to the House of Deputies for approval.
This is quite big. Basically, the canonical change says that marriage is between two people, and does not specify their sex. The resolutions also say that same sex couples in every diocese must have access to marriage, even as their Diocesan may be uncomfortable with this, still giving space to that discomfort. Tobias Haller writes that this is not the status quo:
[T]he bishop who disagrees with this will have to find a way to make the liturgy accessible to every couple. I’m sure many creative ways can be found to do this in the small number of dioceses in which this will be true. The glass is half full, and we are in a time of evolution. Give it a chance — this offer of toleration is a principle reason these resolutions passed by such a large majority in the House of Bishops, as a recognition of generous pastoral outreach to the conservative bishops who now feel like beleaguered outcasts in their own church. Same shoe, other foot, some might say — but aren’t we able to be better than that. People can change, but forcing them is not the best way.Meanwhile, Archbishop Justin Welby and the Church of England are Not Happy.
While recognising the prerogative of The Episcopal Church to address issues appropriate to its own context, Archbishop Justin Welby said that its decision will cause distress for some and have ramifications for the Anglican Communion as a whole, as well as for its ecumenical and interfaith relationships.
But that train has left the station. Episcopal churches are already marrying gay folks. And now it is the law of the land that gay folks can marry in every state. In contrast, Welby's own Church of England is hardly an example to follow, forbidding priests from celebrating same sex marriages, forbidding gay priests from marrying and punishing them if they do. Basically, Welby is content to leave the LGBT in that "crucified place" (if you remember these debates from nearly a decade ago) in a misguided attempt to assuage the bigotry of certain African prelates.
Thankfully, TEC has moved on.
Now to the House of Deputies!