Effective immediately, St. Anne's now offers marriage to same-sex couples.
I trust you know about St. Anne's longstanding inclusive welcome. Indeed, since 2013, St. Anne's has been designated to offer same gender blessings. This came about at the request of our community following an extensive discernment and study process. This past summer, the Anglican Church of Canada debated same-sex marriage, and narrowly passed a motion to proceed.
Archbishop Colin Johnson has authorized provisional guidelines allowing us to offer same-sex marriage. These guidelines will be in effect until 2019 when the Anglican Church of Canada will finalize its position on same-sex marriage. The Archbishop's Letter and the Pastoral Guidelines explain these details (see the attachments).
We will offer same-sex marriage using a special liturgy created by the Episcopal Church USA. It is a beautiful service of marriage, and it is available to all couples regardless of gender (I have heard people say they prefer it over our traditional marriage liturgy). I hope you will click the link and take time to read it.
I want to stress that we are called to kindness. Not all will welcome this development: some because it goes too far, some because it is not enough. We will meet people who are uncomfortable with same-sex marriage, and our inclusiveness should mean that we show kindness and respect regardless of whether we agree on this matter. Let's call it holy manners.
This is wonderful news for our community at St. Anne's, where we say we are Bringing the Community together for Good. Personally, I am delighted, especially as this has been such a long journey. I keep comparing full inclusion of LGBTQ people to running a marathon, with water stations along the way to keep us running. We are getting there. We are in a new good place, though there is more to be done.
I hope you join with me in celebrating that St. Anne's now offers same-sex marriage.
With best wishes,