By Mary Frances Schjonberg, October 20, 2010
[Episcopal News Service, Concord, New Hampshire] Ministering in the "middle of this cauldron of multicultural activity" that is Harvard Square, the Rev. Joseph Robinson, rector of Christ Church Cambridge in the Diocese of Massachusetts says he wants to be able to welcome everyone, including same-gender couples who want their relationships blessed.
"And what they're asking of me is that it's the same for everyone, that it's done with intention, truthfulness and that it begins with the words 'dearly beloved,'" Robinson told the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music Oct. 19 during a hearing here. "It needs to sound like something that's recognizable."
"Whatever we do, whatever we offer our people, let it be eloquent, let it be truthful, let it be prayer and let it be common because those are the things which are the strengths of our church," Robinson added.
Robinson comments came as SCLM met for five hours with representatives of Province I to hear about their experience with same-gender blessings.
In all, the commission devoted a day and a half of its Oct. 18-20 meeting to work on General ConventionResolution C056 which authorized it to work in conjunction with the House of Bishops to collect and develop theological resources and liturgies for blessing same-gender relationships. The commission is to report to the 77th General Convention in 2012 in Indianapolis.
"It will be up to the General Convention [to decide] what to do with those resources," the Rev. Ruth Meyers, SCLM chair and Hodges-Haynes professor of liturgics at Church Divinity School of the Pacific, told the commission Oct. 19 before the hearing began.
C056 said that bishops, "particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this church." The SCLM hearing was meant to hear how a group of Episcopalians, most of whom live in civil jurisdictions that recognize same-gender unions in some way, provide that pastoral response.