In 2002 when the “Claiming the Blessing” collaborative came together we had a single, simple, strategic goal [from the CTB website:]
Our initial commitment was obtaining approval of a liturgical blessing of the faithful, monogamous relationship between two adults of any gender at General Convention 2003. The results were history making, and CLAIMING THE BLESSING was instrumental in making that history happen. Resolution C051 was passed, recognizing for the first time that "local faith communities are operating within the bounds of our common life as they explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex unions.”Ten years later – after a long and winding road -- we are ready to claim the blessing of a liturgical rite for the blessing or those relationships.
You may or may not have seen the ENS release yesterday that the SCLM (Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music) has released excerpts from their report in response to Resolution C-056 calling for the collection and development of resources for the blessing of same-gender unions. If you missed it, here’s the link.
So now that the months of work that have gone into the years-in-progress goal of securing approval for rites for blessing of same-gender relationships is finally “out,” you may be asking yourself “what can I do to help turn this from a resolution to a reality?”
I’m glad you asked.
• Read the resources and familiarize yourself with the theological background, the language of the rite per se and the two legislative resolutions coming to GC2012Ready. Set. Go. Do it. Now. Claim the blessing that you might be a blessing to those looking for the Good News of God's love, justice and compassion made tangible in your witness to the Gospel.
• Contact your deputies and bishops and encourage them to do the same … urging their proactive support for moving this important work from resolution to reality.
• Network with others in your congregation, diocese and province to go and do likewise. Let those representing you at General Convention know that you support this move forward and expect them to support it in Indianapolis.
• Advocate for the work of the SCLM whenever and wherever you can … comment on blog posts, letters to the editor, facebook comments, online forums, etc. Be prepared to respond to the mis-information that will doubtless be “coming soon” with the facts. (For example: no one will be or CAN be forced to preside at the blessing of a same-gender relationship against their conscience. Indeed, what couple would WANT a priest presiding at their blessing who didn’t support the vocation of their relationship? Seriously!)
• ASK for more information if you need it … from members of the SCLM or the task force members. Or ask me.
• And finally Pray. Pray without ceasing. For justice to roll down like waters. For an end to homophobia and for the healing of the wounds the church has inflicted over its history to God's beloved LGBT children. For those who will claim in these liturgies for the blessing of their relationships the gift of being blessed in order to be a blessing. For the opportunity for evangelism this step forward on the arc of history gives us as a church. And do not neglect to pray for those who oppose the fuller inclusion of LGBT people in the work and witness of the church. Pray that the wideness of God's mercy might be wide enough for them to find the room they need to stand in communion and conversation with those with whom they disagree. And pray that we might all be given the grace to live out the "second greatest commandment" our Lord gave us: to love our neighbors as ourselves.