Seminary gets grant to partner with standing commission on same-gender blessings work
Through a contract with the Episcopal Church, the grant makes it possible for the Berkeley, California-based CDSP to support the church's Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music as it fulfills the work assigned to it by Resolution C056, which was passed by the General Convention in 2009.
Resolution C056 calls on the SCLM, in consultation with the House of Bishops, to "collect and develop theological and liturgical resources [for the blessing of same-sex relationships], and report to the 77th General Convention."
"CDSP has a tradition of first-rate, innovative liturgical education," the Rev. Dr. W. Mark Richardson, president and dean of CDSP, said in a news release. "Through this generous grant, we can offer that expertise and experience in service to the wider church. We are proud that our outstanding faculty will lead the way in developing liturgical resources to provide pastoral care and response to gay and lesbian Episcopalians."
The Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, Hodges-Haynes Professor of Liturgics at CDSP, chairs the SCLM, and the Rev. Dr. Louis Weil, Hodges-Haynes Professor Emeritus, is a member.
CDSP, one of 11 Episcopal Church-affiliated seminaries in the United States and a founding member of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, maintains a partnership with the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at the Pacific School of Religion. PSR is located across the street from CDSP.
The Arcus grant will allow CDSP to support the standing commission "in fostering widespread participation from throughout the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion by convening task groups, holding meetings with bishops and representatives from each diocese, translating materials into Spanish and hiring staff support," the release said.
Resolution C056 called for the standing commission and the House of Bishops to "devise an open process for the conduct of its work inviting participation from provinces dioceses, congregations, and individuals who are engaged in such theological work, and inviting theological reflection from throughout the Anglican Communion."
The standing commission recently announced that it had established three task groups to aid it in its work on same-gender blessings. The task groups include a liturgical resources group; a pastoral/teaching resources group and a theological resources group.
A significant portion of the Arcus grant will pay for a gathering in March 2011, to which the standing commission will ask each of the church's 110 dioceses to send one clergy and one lay representative to hear about the SCLM's work in progress and give input to guide its completion, the release said.
"Developing liturgical resources for blessing same-sex unions is a once-in-a-generation charge, and we want to do it well," Meyers said. "However, the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music has fourteen projects during this triennium and a budget of just $25,000 for this project. This generous support to CDSP from the Arcus Foundation provides financial, logistical and intellectual resources that wouldn't otherwise be available. As a result, we will be able to involve many more people and more perspectives in our work."
The Arcus Foundation headquartered in Kalamazoo, Michigan, works around the globe in human rights and conservation. Within those areas, its work is focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and on preservation of the world's great apes and their habitat.