New Statement from College of Bishops

There’s a new statement from the College of Bishops today about same-sex marriage.

It can, and should, be read in full – see here: College of Bishops Guidance re Marriage 2014

I’m appalled by its contents and in particular appalled at the way the Bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church are treating gay clergy and lay readers in the church. The homophobic bullying of candidates for ministry – ordinands and candidates for lay readership is particularly unpleasant.

I expect I will have more to say, in many ways and in many places.

Prayers on converting a Civil Partnership into a Marriage

In a few weeks time, here in Scotland, it will be possible for those couples who have entered into a Civil Partnership to convert that into a marriage. It is clearly a significant moment though interestingly, legally they will be regarded as having been married from the time they entered into the Civil Partnership rather than the time of the conversion.

Some have had Civil Partnerships followed by a blessing (ie a ceremony which recognised them being married to one another) in church. Others may not have had anything in church but may want some way in which this moment in their life together might be marked and celebrated in church.

Most couples in this situation made much of their Civil Partnership and regarded the ceremonies surrounding that as their wedding. For that reason, they don’t seem to want to go through another wedding. However, those wanting to mark the fact that they are legally now regarded as married have no resources to do so in church.

So here are a few prayers that may fulfil that need and which might be used at the offertory of a Sunday Morning Eucharist.

Prayers for a couple converting a Civil Partnership into a Marriage.
The couple stand in front of the priest holding their marriage certificate.

Priest: N. and N.’s relationship is a great journey that,
in different ways,
we have travelled and will continue to travel with them.
Today we pause along the way
to gather at a decisive and important moment,
recognising that they have been married.

The couple lay their marriage certificate on the altar of the church.

Marriage cannot exist on its own.
God’s call to live faithfully together,
to love one another with respect, tenderness and delight,
is part of the call to love all people.
This love empowers them to care for others [and to nurture children].
By this love human dignity will flourish and deepen.

This is the life that N. and N. have begun,
and in which we will support and strengthen them.
We pray that God’s presence may surround and enfold them,
today and in the years to come.

God the Father,
God the Son,
God the Holy Spirit,
bless, preserve and keep you;
the Lord look upon you with favour and mercy
and so fill you with all spiritual benediction and grace,
that you may so live together in this life
that in the world to come you may have life everlasting.

The priest may sign and date the back of the marriage certificate in the presence of the people.

N. and N., having been joined together according to the law of the land
I now declare in the presence of God and before those gathered here
that you are married.

We meet in Christ’s name.
Let us share his peace.