[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs] The Task Force to Study Dual Call Couples has issued the following update on its progress including a video titled “Dual Call Couples: Gifts & Challenges for the Church.”
The Task Force to Study Dual Call Couples
The Task Force to Study Dual Call Couples, created by Resolution B022 at the 78th General Convention in 2015 has released a video titled, “Dual Call Couples: Gifts & Challenges for the Church,” available here. The members hope that this will be a useful tool for vestries, search committees and congregations.
The Task Force was appointed by Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael B. Curry and House of Deputies President the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings. They appointed Bishop Douglas Fisher to chair the group.
“This is an important time for clergy couples in the life of the church,” reported the Rev. Dr. Diane Vie of the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia, vice-chair of the Task Force. “The resolution raises the issue to a systemwide level of awareness and legitimizes the issue at a systematic level and promises some action moving forward.”
The Church Pension Group estimated in 2013 that the Episcopal Church is home to approximately 428 dual call couples. Approximately 14 percent of active priests are married to other Episcopal clergy.
As part of its work, the Task Force initiated a listening process. “A big part of what we do is getting the wider church talking about dual call—the challenges and the opportunities,” Fisher said. “We have not made definitive statements—we have invited dialog.”
The Task Force reached out to couples in the dioceses of its members and crafted questions for each couple to answer. In the video, couples discuss real-life challenges priests who are married to other priests face: a couple from the Diocese of East Tennessee talks about their joint discernment process and about sharing life together at Sewanee; another from the Diocese of San Diego address sharing a call as co-vicars.
The Task Force hopes these honest reflections from dual call couples will open conversation on the congregational level. The Task Force will make its full report to the 79th General Convention in 2018.
The members of the Task Force to Study Dual Call Couples and their dioceses are: Bishop Douglas Fisher, Western Massachusetts; the Rev. Canon Joseph Chambers, Missouri; Canon Catherine Massey, North Carolina; Canon Karen Olsen, Minnesota; Bishop Brian Seage, Mississippi; the Rev. Dr. Diane Vie, Southwestern Virginia; the Rev. Kammy Young, Florida; Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, ex officio; President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, ex officio.