22 year trip to the altar



Seattle Post Intelligencer

Ed Murray (candidate for Seattle mayor and his sister is Senator Patty Murray) and Michael Shiosaki will mark the 22nd anniversary of the day they met by legally tying the knot Saturday at St. Mark’s Cathedral, with a full marriage ceremony out of the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer (see below) and music from 3,944 pipes of the mighty Flentrop organ.

“We wanted to get married in our home state: We were going to wait it out and be married here,” said Shiosaki.

But where? Murray is a practicing Catholic. Shiosaki is from a Methodist background, … [but] Archbishop J. Peter Sartain laid down Roman Catholic Church law about same sex “marriages” — quotations courtesy of Sartain — last December. No Catholic priest can officiate. No Catholic facility can be used for marriage ceremonies or receptions. Clergy are even verboten from offering pre-marital counseling.

But a big part of the Seattle-area faith community backed marriage equality. Episcopal Bishop Greg Rickel spoke out in support, just a week after Sartain sent out his first broadside to Catholic parishes opposing same-sex marriage.

Read it all here.

Policy of the Diocese of Olympia – read more on diocesan policy here.

Part of the pastoral letter from Bishop Rickel:

Since the issuing of that pastoral letter, I have received questions and requests for clarification which I will now attempt to address. As a reminder, the General Convention resolution A049 did not change the Prayer Book definition of marriage. That official definition is still the joining of a man and a woman in a lifelong, committed relationship. However, Resolution A049, as passed, did contain the following resolve:

Resolved, That bishops, particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions

11 where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal,

12 may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this 13 Church, including adaptation of the liturgy and declaration of intention contained 14 in “I Will Bless You and You Will Be a Blessing”;

Part of the “generous pastoral response” I now intend to offer is to allow the usage of the liturgies attached to the prior guidelines, as well as the new rite approved as part of A049. This is a change from my May letter in which I stated that I would authorize only the new rite approved as a part of A049.

After consultation with several of you, several of my colleagues, and much prayer, I have decided to allow all three here in the Diocese of Olympia. Furthermore, I would very much like your feedback on the use of these as you proceed and I would very much appreciate you copying that feedback to Canon Janet Campbell which will help in her liaison role with the Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music.

Additionally, there seems to be some confusion as to whether you may call these rites “marriage”. As I stated in the prior letter you have my permission to sign the marriage licenses issued by the state, and should you desire to do that, I find no rational reason that you would not call it “marriage.”

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9 Responses to "22 year trip to the altar"
  1. "... a full marriage ceremony out of the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer ..." Really?

    Pete Haynsworth

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  2. I'm rather disgusted that (a) it isn't the marriage ceremony as contained in the BCP, (b) Bishop Rickel admits that the Episcopal Church at the national level still has an official exclusionary definition of marriage but waves it off saying that, 'we are just going to have to live into this.' It is real easy to 'live into' or 'be with' segregation and injustice when you and yours don't have to pay the cost, and (c) that some people would object if the newspaper had been correct and the BCP had been used.

    Once again I was thinking about going into an Episcopal parish tomorrow morning after five years away this time. Nope. Not while the Episcopal Church still has a back-of-the-bus pretend liturgy for the same sex marriages. If the BCP service is good enough for the straight people then use it for us or admit that you don't want us.

    The Episcopal Church I once knew used to be the church where people had the courage to do what was right. Women were ordained against policy and the official version of the BCP, bishops wrote books and priests preached sermons against official doctrine. When it came to issues of gender and race, Episcopalians once were willing to stand up and do the right thing. But no one has the courage to just use the BCP for all marriages. Spineless. Complacent. Not worth my anger.

    Dennis Roberts

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  3. The point is a liturgy has been developed for a gender neutral marriage rite that is intended to evolve into a permanent change to the BCP. The current marriage rite specifically refers to a "man and a woman." There is no need to be hostile when the intent is noble.

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  4. What you say is true and not worth your anger though makes many of us angry. The funny thing is that the new rite is much better than the BCP rite with its dodgy theology of marriage and its outdated image of marriage. Most people for weddings where I officiate prefer the new rite or the rites from A New Zealand Prayer Book. 2 examples from the BCP that make it hard for me to use as a priest 1. Marriage is commended by God because Jesus attended a wedding (well really the reception - we don't know if he witnessed the vows) and 2. the inference that it is God's will whether or not people have children - I don't believe God (other than creating the process for conception) has any "will" about whether or not a particular couple have children. Makes people feel like they have offended God when they can't conceive and want to.

    So while I wish we had just stepped up and done the right thing - approved marriage for all, I do love the new rite and hope it will be released for general use.

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  5. I too went to a lovely Episcopal wedding yesterday, one that joined two men in legal and spiritual matrimony.

    I'm not fond of separate-but-equal as a concept, but I've come to realize that it doesn't matter in this case. If we treat it as simply an alternative marriage service, if we claim it as such, that's what it is, regardless of the original intent.

    The liturgy is beautiful. And I expect that straight couples eventually will come to use it, too. (I mean, go read the BCP wedding liturgy, with it's very archaic views of women....I wouldn't WANT that as as my wedding, frankly.)

    I guarantee that none of the 500-plus people celebrating the wedding I attended yesterday considered that the liturgy was anything "less than" a marriage. There was no asterisk denoting a liturgical "exception". It was just a very lovely wedding.

    That's over 500 mostly-straight people of all ages, celebrating a joyous moment together in community.

    Two weeks ago, we attended a wedding for a straight couple in the same church. I'm hard-pressed to think of anything "after the fact" that I took away that could made me think there was a difference between these events. Certainly the church treated them no differently, regardless of whatever words were used.

    So I'm going to be happy that Bishops are moving ahead, in whatever way they are, and allowing their gay parishioners to be legally married in church, and bearing witness for inclusion.

    Let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    Susan Forsburg

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  6. Mazel Tov to Murray&Shiosaki! [Come to TEC for the wedding, stay for the marriage? ;-)]

    And What IT (SusanF) Said.

    JC Fisher

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