The US Episcopal Church changed its law to allow clergy to perform same-sex marriages last night, not pulling back from the move despite the "deep concern" expressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Delegates at TEC's general convention in Salt Lake City, Utah voted overwhelmingly in favour of amending canon law so that instead of marriage being defined as between "a man and a woman" or "husband and wife", it is now gender-neutral and between a "couple".
It came days after the US Supreme Court legalised gay marriage across the nation and shortly after Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby spoke up about the "stress" such a move would exert on the worldwide Anglican Communion. Keep reading
Two other developments worth noting include the House of Bishops' rejection of a resolution calling for the creation and funding of a task force to study the issue of "open communion," the “practice of inviting all persons, baptized and unbaptized, to receive Holy Communion.” The resolution failed to pass by two votes. From the reactions of a number of bishops the issue of "open communion" will be brought up again at future meetings of the House of Bishops. It is not going away. The House of Bishops, however, did adopt a resolution directing the Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music to prepare a plan for the complete revision of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer for the next General Convention in 2018. What proposals the committee comes up with should prove interesting. While the Episcopal Church's Prayer Book could benefit from sounder doctrine, greater flexibility, and the addition of alternative forms of morning and evening worship, these kinds of changes are not the kind of changes that I expect the committee to propose. Prayer Book revision also has a tendency to create division in the Episcopal Church.