Christian marriage is an extraordinary gift of God, in which a couple are called to live in the saving grace of Christ, enriched, guided and sustained by the Holy Spirit, in communion with the community of the Church.
The occasion when couples approach the Church with the intention of being married, or seeking blessing of their civil marriage, gives opportunity for inviting them deeper into the life of Christ, and for offering clear teaching and support for their marriage.
In that spirit, the following information is meant to be a review of our canonical requirements and diocesan policies, all of which are offered by the Church not as tests or hurdles, but as pastoral support for those seeking Christian marriage.
- Information Regarding Marriages (All marriages, Remarriages, Blessings of Civil Marriages, Canon Title I.18-19)
- Marriage Judgment Application (Revised 9/2009) Memo | Application (Marriage Judgment application and information for use by clergy working with couples seeking remarriage (marriage after divorce) in the Church.)
- Guidelines for CT Clergy performing marriages outside the Episcopal Church in Connecticut
- Guidelines for Clergy from outside the Diocese
For Same Sex Couples:
The 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church meeting in July 2015 in Salt Lake City, after years of prayerful study and discernment, embraced marriage equality. As providence would have it, this decision occurred on July 1, 2015 a few days following the June 26, 2015 decision by the United States Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage for all Americans. The 78th General Convention specifically decided on canonical changes eliminating language defining marriage as between a man and a woman (Resolution 2015 A036) and authorized two new marriage rites with language allowing them to be used by same-sex or opposite-sex couples (Resolution 2015 A054) The two new marriage rites: The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage and The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2 are authorized for trial use consistent with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church and under the direction and with the permission of the Bishop Diocesan acting as the Ecclesiastical Authority. The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Bishop Diocesan of The Episcopal Church in Connecticut, in consultation with The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan, has given his permission to use these rites for both same-sex and opposite sex marriages.
A book of liturgical resources related to same-sex marriage: Liturgical Resources I: I Will Bless You and You Will Be a Blessing is available from Church Publishing here. Free downloads of the two new marriage rites, The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage and The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2, are available on the same web-page. A helpful statement clarifying the use of these two rites, prepared for the bishops of The Episcopal Church at the 2015 General Convention can be found here….(insert link to Tom Ely’s paper here.)
Bishops Douglas and Ahrens acknowledge that the two rites: The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage and The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2 are trial liturgies and thus are interested in receiving feedback on the use of the rites by clergy and couples who have used the rites in a marriage celebration. Any other questions and/or concerns related to the marriage of same-sex couples may be address to Bishop Douglas and/or Bishop Ahrens.