Marriage Forms and Information
From the Bishop
New Rites for Marriage and Revised Marriage Canon
The new rites for marriage, approved at the 2015 General Convention, are now available for use. You may purchase them from Church Publishing (Liturgical Resources I: I Will Bless You and You Will Be a Blessing) or download them here. The revised marriage canon is available here.
There are three authorized rites:
- The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage (1979)
- The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2 (2015) authorized for Trial Use for all couples
- The Witnessing and Blessing of Marriage (2015) authorized for Trial Use for all couples.
The Witnessing and Blessing of Lifelong Covenant (2012) is no longer available, except in countries where same sex marriage is prohibited. You may use each of the three rites as seems pastorally appropriate. The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage (1979) continues to use the language of male and female.
You need not have my permission to use any of the three authorized services. The appropriate Declaration of Intention should be used. The banns of marriage may also be published.
The requirements for Remarriage of Divorced Persons remain the same and apply to all couples. I expect timely submission of requests for permission to remarry along with appropriate supportive material, as you see fit. Either I or Canon Michael Ambler will review all such requests.
As marriage equality is now the law of the land and there are authorized services, I believe same sex marriage now returns fully to the pastoral ministry of the church. It is a matter of your pastoral judgment. You are not required to preside at any marriage, including a same sex marriage. You are pastors of communities and need to keep the members' spiritual health in mind. But the decision is yours. I am always available for questions and consultation.
Marriage licenses should be signed in the usual fashion. Appropriate records of marriages should be kept at the church.
One final word. The authorized rites are marriage rites. They are not intended to bless relationships outside of marriage. I am well aware that, pastorally, you may need to offer the church's support and blessing of relationships where marriage is not possible, but such should not be construed as marriage. And you will need to construct an appropriate liturgical rite for such blessings. Again, I am available for consultation.
If you have questions or concerns, please be in touch. I have full confidence in your pastoral and liturgical sensitivity and care.
The Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane
Bishop of Maine