Mere Anglicanism

Marriage before baptism affirmed by Australian synod

The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia has rejected a call to remove the requirement of baptism before a church wedding.

The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia has rejected a call championed by the Diocese of Sydney to remove the requirement of baptism before a church wedding. On the first day of the ACA synod held at St Peter’s School in Adelaide, a motion to amend the language of the 1981 Marriage Canon removing the requirement that “at least one of the partied to be married has been baptized” was endorsed by the laity but rejected by the clergy. On 30 June 2014 the Archbishop of Sydney Dr. Glenn Davies — whose diocesan canons do not require baptism before marriage — argued that marriage is an “ordinance of creation not a regulation of the church” and “may be entered outside the sphere of faith, and when entered from within the sphere of faith it does not change its essential character.” He noted that “in a day when less than half of all marriages are conducted as church ceremonies, it is hardly evangelistically enterprising or pastorally sensitive” to require baptism. Citing his experiences in the Church of Ceylon, the Archbishop of Perth Dr. Roger Herft urged synod to reject the bill. “When you did ask people either of the Buddhist, Hindu or Islamic faith who wanted to get married in a church, when you did ask them about baptism and the Christian faith and went through the liturgy they were going to say yes to, baptism then became a reality for them – a costly reality in terms of the vows they were to make.” 

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