Friday, October 29, 2010

"Send us out to do the work you have given us to do"

At the 2009 General Convention in Anaheim when the Episcopal Church adopted Resolution C056 it sent us out to do some very specific work: the collection and development of theological and liturgical resources for the blessing of same-gender relationships.

I have the privilege of being part of the team sent out to do that work -- and so do you. Because it is the work of the WHOLE church -- not just those who gathered in Anaheim or who will meet in Indianapolis or who gather in-between. The whole church.

And today I'm writing to ask for your help. I'm asking you to accept this invitation from the Task Group on Pastoral Counseling and Teaching Resources (which I co-chair with the fabulous Thad Bennett) to respond to a survey designed to do two things:
Discover what resources are or have already been used in a congregational discernment process to welcome same-gender blessings and to prepare couples for a Christian life together and for a blessing ceremony.

Design materials that would be helpful to congregations and clergy who might start a discernment process and to consider welcoming the blessing of same-gender relationships and preparing those couples.
We recognize that there is a BROAD diversity of practice across the Episcopal Church and our hope is to hear from as broad a cross section as possible as we do this work we have been given to do.

So please take a few minutes to
follow this link and fill out the survey. Forward it to others in your diocese or deanery. Our task force meets again the week after Thanksgiving and we'd love to hear from you before then.

Ready. Set. GO! (And THANK YOU!)


Elaine C. said...

I took "Prepare/Enrich" training a week ago. It is a program to help clergy and other counselors use a psychological testing instrument to discover couples strengths and weaknesses, and then offers "exercises" to help them be better at whatever skills they need help with -- either before marriage or after. The examples we were given during training seemed quite gender stereotypic. I've read a couple books on the psychology of lesbian relationships, and have a sense that while a marriage is a marriage (as far as the pragmatic parts of 2 people sharing a life), yet there are nuances to being married to someone who is the same gender as you, that are different then the nuances of opposite gender marriage. So I asked the trainer, has Prepare/Enrich done research to make the test and self-improvement exercises on target for same sex couples. He didn't know. Do you know?

When I asked the question at the training and said, I'm an Episcopal priest, we bless same sex unions, and I have been asked to bless a union -- so I want to know if this material applies. I got a fairly shocked response from the local trainer ...

Elaine C. said...

Yesterday I asked "Prepare-Enrich" about same-sex couples and I got a pdf back from them that was polite -- a paragraph long statement that they only do research with heterosexual couples because their goal is to support strong marriages. AGH!


That's weird because we have modules we use that give us same sex couple options. Let me do some more checking into that.