Friday, March 20, 2015

CTB Shout Out to the SCLM

The SCLM (Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music) has released its Report the to the 78th General Convention. You can read the 32 page report here ... but these specific proposals deserve a CTB a "shout out" for offering liturgical resources that would end the defacto sacramental apartheid of "separate but unequal" liturgies for same-sex couples/marriages in the Episcopal Church.
The Commission is therefore proposing four liturgies for authorization by General Convention 2015:

1) a revision of “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant,” taking into account specific feedback received from those who have used the text;

2) “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage,” an adaptation of the revised rite for use by any couple who can be married according to civil law;

3) a gender-neutral adaptation of “The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage” from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer; and

4) “The Form of Solemnization of Matrimony,” a gender-neutral adaptation of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, providing same-sex couples with an option similar to that available to different-sex couples who use the 1928 BCP marriage rite by following “An Order for Marriage” (BCP 1979, pp. 435-36).
An email from the General Convention Office added:"The liturgy documents mentioned as appendices, however, are still being translated. Those will be published in a supplementary file later this Spring. We are planning to have all reports, including this supplemental file, posted by the first week of May, 2015."

In 1976 the 65th General Convention resolved that its LGBT member deserved "full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance and pastoral concern and care of the Church. Claiming the Blessing looks forward to working with our allies in the House of Bishops and Deputies at the 78th General Convention as we continue the work of making that resolution a reality with equal protection and equal blessing for all couples called into the vocation of marriage in the Episcopal Church.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Claiming the Blessing comment on Integrity workforce reduction

We received with sadness the news that the Integrity Board is reducing its workforce as it works to align and manage limited resources in the ongoing work of advocacy and inclusion. The 2015 financial climate makes downsizing a sad reality for nonprofits in general -- and for faith organizations in particular. And there is deep grief at having to make hard decisions that directly impact the livelihood of those we’ve worked with and care about as colleagues and friends. We hold Vivian Taylor and Sam Peterson particularly in our prayers as they look for new positions to use their gifts and talents in meaningful and productive ways.

Like the Episcopal Church at large, Integrity is in the process of reimagining itself for the next scope of its work – and as difficult as that process is, we support the Integrity leadership in that challenge. We speak as an organization that went through our own restructuring back in 2004 when Claiming the Blessing transitioned from having a full time Executive Director to being an all-volunteer collaborative network of groups and individuals.

That transition -- from an institutional model with full time, program staff to a movement model of volunteers -- has continued to serve our work and witness for inclusion, as a leadership voice in the work for the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments in the Episcopal Church AND as an advocate for LGBTQ equality in the civic arena.

Claiming the Blessing will be working at General Convention this summer in collaboration with our Integrity allies and hand in hand with TransEpiscopal to advance a robust legislative agenda that includes marriage equality as an important -- but not exclusive -- focus.

We are committed to continue the work we began in 2002: promoting wholeness in human relationships, abolishing prejudice and oppression, and healing the rift between sexuality and spirituality in the Church. We look forward to working with Integrity – one of our founding organizational members – as we continue that work together in Salt Lake City and beyond. We join with all who give thanks for over 40 years of prophetic witness Integrity has offered to the church and to the world -- and we hold their leadership in our prayers as they embrace the challenge of reimagining that work into God's future.

Because the arc of the moral universe is long. And it does bend toward justice. And it's not there yet.