The Episcopal Church (TEC) in the United States is planning to remove some terms from its marriage rites in order to become more inclusive and gender compliant.
Specifically, the terms "husband," "wife" and "procreation" will be taken out of the liturgical service that binds two people in marriage. The aim is to make marriage ceremonies inclusive to gay and lesbian couples after complaints that the terms used could be offensive to the LGBTQ community.
For instance, "the union of husband and wife," will be replaced with the phrase "the union of two people" in the liturgical rites. The words "for the procreation of children" will be changed to "for the gift of children" to reflect the adoption choices of same-sex couples.
The move, however, has raised concerns in the Church of England. Secretary-General William Nye even wrote a letter addressed to TEC in the U.S. last October to reconsider its plans, or else the U.S. church will be cut off altogether, according to Lifesite News.
Members of the church, led by Bishop Alan Wilson of Buckingham, however, supported TEC's decision to make the changes. A group made up of Anglican LGBT advocates also wrote a letter addressed to Nye.
"We saw in ECUSA's brave and costly decision some hope that change might come for us too," the letter cited. "We saw our brothers and sisters listening intently to the Spirit speaking through the Body – and having listened, acting with courage, integrity and the determination to keep walking with Christ and with one another," it added.
The group also said that there's a disconnect when Christians say they love Jesus but cannot acknowledge the love of two people in a committed relationship.
TEC consecrated its first gay bishop in 2003 and also approved the blessing of same-sex relationships in 2012, according to reports. In 2015, the church's canon laws officially made all marriage rites, regardless of gender, possible.