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Married, but not

Married, but not

Writing for the Acts 8 Moment’s prompt this week, Brendan O’Sullivan-Hale reflected on the already-not yet state of marriage equality in the Episcopal Church.

While the church yet really have universal recognition of same-gender marriage across the church, there is the approved rite of blessing, which, O’Sullivan-Hale argues, has left room for the church to talk to each other, and share experiences, and grow towards change.


He describes his experience of having his union with his partner blessed in his local parish, which he found to be a wonderful, Spirit-filled experience, comparing it to the woman in Mark’s gospel, who is healed from hemorrhages when she touches the hem of Jesus’ garment.

He writes:

That’s how it will be with many of us for now. If the church decides in 2015 or 2018 that it’s ready to declare marriage between members of the same sex a sacrament – great. I hope we do so and I will do my part to make that happen. But this “official” sacrament of marriage is one that I will never receive, because it is already mine. Last October Frank and I touched Jesus’s cloak and claimed our blessing. There’s nothing second rate about the sacrament we received – even if for the moment the Spirit demands we officially call it something different.

Read the whole thing, or head here, and read the other responses to the Acts 8 prompt.

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Paul Woodrum

What is Holy Matrimony?

Holy Matrimony is Christian marriage, in which the woman and man enter into a life-long union, make their vows before God and the Church, and receive the grace and blessing of God to help them fulfill their vows.

That's what the Book of Common Prayer says under "Other Sacramental Rites." It never quite says marriage is a sacrament and it certainly doesn't say the marriage of two men or two women is a sacrament.

This raises the question of whether any marriage is a sacrament -- the outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual grace. A few seem to be. Most don't and over half are far less than life-long. I would suggest this is the case whether it is blessed in a church or not.

Is any marriage a sacrament? Or should we interpret all of them as simply a covenant or contract between two people over which saying a few prayers is a nice, but unnecessary, touch?

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