Grants will fund conclusion of work on same-gender blessings

Posted on July 26, 2011

Church Divinity School of the Pacific has been awarded a $90,000 grant from the Arcus Foundation, and a $75,000 grant from the E. Rhodes and Lenore B. Carpenter Foundation to support the completion of work on proposed rites for the blessing of same-gender relationships in the Episcopal Church.

The grants make it possible for CDSP to continue its support of the church’s Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, which was authorized by the church’s General Convention to “collect and develop theological and liturgical resources” for the blessing of same-gender relationships, in consultation with the church’s House of Bishops.

“We are grateful for the support of the Arcus and Carpenter Foundations as we enter the final phases of our work,” said the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, chair of the Standing Commission, and Hodges-Haynes Professor of Liturgics at CDSP. “This money makes possible continued support from a staff person at CDSP, and the opportunity to meet face-to-face with Anglican colleagues who are eager to discuss our work. We would have been hard-pressed to fulfill our obligations to the General Convention without it.”
Since beginning its work in 2009, the Standing Commission has conducted extensive consultations throughout the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. At its largest meeting, held in Atlanta in March 2011, 184 clergy and lay people, representing 96 of the church’s 110 dioceses, gathered to discuss the commission’s work on liturgical and theological resources, and to be equipped to facilitate further reflection in their dioceses.
The Standing Commission will report on its work to the General Convention, which next meets in Indianapolis in July 2012.
CDSP is the only Episcopal seminary that supports two faculty chairs in liturgy, and both Meyers and her predecessor, the Rev. Dr. Louis Weil, Hodges-Haynes Professor Emeritus, are members of the Commission. The seminary maintains a partnership with the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley.
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 preservation of the world's great apes and their habitat.
The E Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, headquartered in Philadelphia, supports graduate theological education, among other causes.