Much of the energy of church groups calling upon General Convention to support liturgies to bless same-gender unions is harnessed through the “Claiming the Blessing” (CTB) ministry collaborative.
Uniting various organizations and individuals across the church, “our work is to abolish prejudice and oppression, to promote wholeness in human relationships, and to heal the rift between sexuality and spirituality in the church,” says the Rev. Susan Russell, CTB executive director. “Toward that end, we are asking General Convention 2003 to finish the work begun in Denver by authorizing liturgies for the blessing of relationships other than marriage which meet the high standards set forth in Resolution D039.
“What we are proposing is the inclusion of approved liturgies in the Book of Occasional Services for the optional use of those who choose to offer them in response to the pastoral needs of their congregations,” said Russell, an assisting priest at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, Calif. “We offer this compromise proposal believing it to be grounded in the soil of our classical Anglican heritage of diversity and common prayer. We believe that the fuller inclusion of all the baptized into the Body of Christ is not an issue which will split the church, but an opportunity which will move the church forward in mission and ministry—if we will claim it and proclaim it.
“It is an opportunity for evangelism which will breathe new life into our work and our witness to those yearning to hear an alternative to the strident voices of the religious right who have for too long presumed to speak to the culture as representing Christian values. We have Good News to tell and it’s time to get on with the business of telling it,” she said.
The collaborative’s activities will include the Integrity Eucharist, 7 p.m. on Wednesday at St. Mark’s Cathedral. Its Exhibit Hall booth (#7 & 8) features a joint venture with ministry partner Every Voice Network — and will provide resources and information on Claiming the Blessing and partner organizations, as well as computer kiosks for checking email and convention updates and the ever-popular Beyond Inclusion Popcorn Machine.
CTB ministry partners include: Integrity, Oasis, Beyond Inclusion, and Every Voice network, in partnership with The Witness magazine. Based at Pasadena’s All Saints Church, CTB offers more information on its Web site: www.claimingtheblessing.org