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Matters Concerning Changes to the Marriage Law

Dear Friends

The change to the marriage law raises issues for all of us, irrespective of whether we supported the change
in last year’s postal ballot or not.

By way of example, recently, three retired Anglican clergy with Permission to Officiate in the Diocese of
Melbourne took part in an event where a same-sex marriage was celebrated in Melbourne. It is important
to clarify what took place, given that it is not open for Anglican clergy to perform same-sex marriages. I
have received assurances from one of the clergy that none of the three was involved in the wedding service
itself, though they did attend. The service took place in the Community Church of St Mark in Clifton Hill, a
Baptist Church, and the celebrant was a minister of another denomination. One of the Anglican clergy
presided at the Eucharist later, and the other two offered Eucharistic prayers, but none officiated in any way
in the marriage service. They did enter the church in the procession.

Consistent with the doctrine of the Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican clergy are only authorised to
officiate at a marriage between a man and a woman.

Protocols to meet the new pastoral situation are under consideration, but in the meantime clergy are
required to ask their episcopate bishop for guidance as to how to act in specific pastoral circumstances
concerning same-sex weddings and celebrations.

In order to foster thoughtful wisdom in practice, and awareness of the diversity of views, I encourage you to
reflect on your responses to possible scenarios. This could be done in a deanery setting or in a parish
context. To this end, I commend to all clergy the attached conversation discussion starters prepared for us
by Bishops Genieve and Paul.

Also attached, as a resource, is 'Being Christ's Body', a document from the Diocese of Canberra-Goulburn.

The aim is to foster greater mutual understanding in fellowship together.

Grace and peace in Christ Jesus

Yours sincerely

The Most Reverend Dr Philip Freier

Archbishop of Melbourne

1 June 2018