The Delaware deputation on Monday joined an overwhelming majority of deputies who voted to strengthen the Episcopal Church’s commitment to marriage rites for the whole church. The resolution, B012, authorized several marriage rites that are gender neutral for “trial use” until a revised Book of Common Prayer is completed.
B012 also takes steps to allow churches to conduct same-sex marriages in dioceses where bishops prohibited it since the church’s canons and liturgies were changed in 2015. Those dioceses are: Dallas, Springfield (Illinois), Albany, Northern Indiana, Central Florida, Virgin Islands, Florida, and North Dakota.
In such dioceses, according to the amended resolution:
“The bishop exercising ecclesiastical authority (or ecclesiastical supervision) shall invite, as necessary, another bishop of this Church to provide pastoral support to the couple, the Member of the Clergy involved and the congregation or worshiping community in order to fulfill the intention of this resolution that all couples have convenient and reasonable local congregational access to these rites.”
The House of Bishops still needs to approve B012.
A series of videos from couples in dioceses who were not allowed to marry in their home church helped drive home the need for further action. They had to travel to an unfamiliar church in another diocese, despite the historic votes taken in 2015. Some of the eight bishops have indicated they can live with the compromise; the original resolution flatly overrode the bishops in favor of local congregations.
The Delaware deputation, clergy and lay, unanimously voted for B012.
Reflections on Hutto
Those of us who went to Hutto Detention Center in Taylor, Texas, on Sunday were incredibly moved to be at Ground Zero of the national crisis of mass detention and family separation. Our prayer vigil was supposed to take place in a ball field quite a distance from the center. But hundreds of Episcopalians began to move — walking over the field, across a swale, and up the narrow road to the front of the for-profit detention center.
It was brutally hot, but as we stood there waving at the narrow dark windows, we could suddenly see flashes of white waving back at us. After several minutes of shouting, “Las Vidamos” and “No Estan Solas,” the vicar of Taylor urged us to return to the permitted area, as we were technically trespassing. Later that day we saw this Tweet from Grassroots Leadership:
“A woman called from Hutto after today’s prayer and told us they were glued to the windows until the last bus left the detention center. Women inside were crying, saying they knew they weren’t alone after seeing so many people there. Thank you @iamepiscopalian! #gc79”
We were proud to be a witness.
Lee Ann Walling is a second-time deputy from Lincoln who attends Christ Church in Milford.