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Ellen T. Charry


This group of academics was convened to offer a distinctively theological approach to the controversy before us. We acknowledged that our church’s doctrinal foundations are the catholic creeds and we gave special attention to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed that we usually recite at the celebration of the Eucharist. Further, we agreed that most of the doctrinal concerns raised by the controversy over same-sexuality cluster under the third article of the creed on the identity and activities of the Holy Spirit. These include the sanctification of believers (“the Lord, the giver of life), the authority of Scripture (“has spoken through the Prophets”), ecclesiology (“one holy catholic and apostolic Church”), and sacramentology (“one baptism for the forgiveness of sins”).

Because the sexuality controversy is multilayered, we realized that we could not address every aspect of it and organized our efforts around marriage. Marriage rather than same-sex blessings came to the fore as the practice is becoming legal in both the United States and other countries. As of this writing, same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and the District of Columbia, and in Argentina, Canada, Belgium, Iceland, Mexico City, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden. Same-sex domestic partnerships and civil unions are legal in other states and countries as well. The question of whether marriage is between two consenting persons or between a man and a woman is now before the church as well.

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