Remarriage after Divorce
Is remarriage after divorce permitted in The Episcopal Church?
Can divorced or remarried people receive communion in The Episcopal Church?
The Episcopal Church believes marriage is a sacrament intended to be life-long, but also recognizes circumstances can exist where a divorce is necessary and even healthy.
The canons (laws) of the Episcopal Church on remarriage after divorce are based on two Christian doctrines:
- that marriage is a lifelong union instituted by God which signifies the union between Christ and the Church, and
- that God, in infinite mercy and redeeming love, creates new life in death, gives hope where there is despair and forgives our sins.
Divorced people who do remarry may choose a church ceremony, according to diocesan guidelines, or a civil ceremony.
Divorced people are treated the same as anyone else. Every baptized person is welcome to communion, regardless of marital status. Divorced people are not excommunicated. Anyone is welcome to participate in fellowship activities, and many parishes have special groups for singles, divorced, and widowed people.
The Church does seek to help couples to build strong and grace filled commitments after the death of their prior marriages. The Church knows that time is necessary for healing, for learning, and for forgiveness. So the norm is that at least one year will have elapsed between the final decree of divorce and the date of the petition for remarriage sent to the bishop. Check with your priest for local diocesan policies.