Priests from across the country are convening at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California, which recently received a $400,000 grant from the Kalamazoo, Michigan-based Arcus Foundation, to develop a liturgical blessing specifically for same-sex couples:
"The new rite, which will take years to complete, will most likely consist of a series of original prayers, Bible readings and two essays: one on the theological meaning of same-sex blessings, and one advising priests who administer the new rite. If approved, the new blessing would be just the third addition to Episcopal liturgy since 1979.
'This is very significant,' said the Rev. Ruth Meyers, chairwoman of the church’s Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, who is heading the effort. 'It does acknowledge a fuller participation of gays and lesbians in the life of the church.' … Most of the grant money will finance travel and accommodations for a series of meetings to garner contributions from all 110 Episcopal dioceses, most in the United States.
An official blessing would formalize what has long been an unofficial practice at some dioceses across the country. Unofficial blessings have taken place in Bay Area churches since at least the 1980s."
Four priests have been appointed to draw up the rite.
Said The Rev. Jay Emerson Johnson, a theologian from the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Ministry at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, who will draft the theological essay: “We’re taking this as an opportunity to offer these resources to the whole church, not just for the sake of gay and lesbian couples but as an opportunity for everybody to reflect theologically on what it means to be in a committed relationship.”
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