textThe Anglican Church in Sydney has caused a tremendous stir with a new Prayer Book including marriage vows in which the bride promises to “submit” to her husband and the groom promises to honour and protect his wife, reports the ABC. “Submit” in the proposed text replaces “obey”.

Women commentators in this video — including an Anglican minister — are outraged at what they say is yet another example of conservative church policies driving away the mainstream. But the young couple married featured in the video say it reflects their relationship perfectly.

They seem, to be sure, a particularly religious couple: Andrew Judd is a trainee Anglican minister, and Stephanie Judd is a 25-year-old Bible Studies teacher. They also have a good grasp of the scriptural and theological basis of the vows, which they chose for themselves when they were married earlier this year. Stephanie says:

As Christians, we’re not ashamed of living in a counter-cultural way, but trusting that actually when we live according to God’s way, that if goes well with us and it actually allows us to flourish as humans in this world that he has designed.

Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen — considered one of the most conservative Anglican bishops in the world (he does not hold with women priests) — defends the vows:

I think in the last three or four decades a certain egalitarianism has crept into society and the way people think and I understand that’s the reigning philosophy. I just happen to think it’s wrong, unhelpful, and in the end we will find it’s better to recognise that men and women are different, that we have at certain points different responsibilities and men will be better men if we acknowledge that.


I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people think that a man should be a man and a woman should be woman in the marriage relation. What I’m delighted about is that we’re all talking about this at long last on national television at long last. This is good news! And I believe there will be people who will be attracted because of this because they recognise that what we’re dealing with here is reality.

The new texts are due to be voted on by the Church’s synod in October. That should be a pretty lively session.


Carolyn Moynihan

Carolyn Moynihan is the former deputy editor of MercatorNet