CDSP in the News

The Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, Dean of Academic Affairs
Coverage of Same-Sex Blessing action at General Convention

New York Times
Episcopalians Approve Rite to Bless Same-Sex Unions
July 10, 2012

The Episcopal Church on Tuesday approved an official liturgy for blessing same-sex unions, enabling priests who have the approval of their bishops to bestow the church’s blessing on gay couples whether they live in a state where same-sex marriage is legal or not….

… the liturgy includes many of the elements of a marriage rite, said the Rev. Ruth Meyers, a liturgist who oversaw the development of the same-sex blessing over the last three years as chairwoman of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music.

“There are a lot of similarities,” she said in an interview. “The couple give their consent to being joined in lifelong commitment, they exchange vows. There’s the possibility of exchanging rings, or, for couples who have been together for some time and already have rings, to have their rings blessed. There is a blessing over the couple.

“But we’re clear at this point that this is not a marriage,” she said, “because the Episcopal Church is not in agreement in its understanding of marriage.”

Episcopalians set to be first big U.S. church to bless gay marriage
INDIANAPOLIS | Mon Jul 9, 2012

(Reuters) - The U.S. Episcopal Church is poised to become the first major religious denomination in the United States to approve a rite for blessing gay marriages after its bishops overwhelmingly approved such a liturgy on Monday.

The proposed blessing was agreed by the church's Chamber of Bishops at a meeting in Indianapolis and is expected to receive final approval from its House of Deputies later this week, Ruth Meyers, a chair of the Episcopalians' Subcommittee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music, told Reuters.

Philadelphia Inquirer
Pondering a blessing for same-sex couples
July 5, 2012

Sixteen fractious years after it allowed the ordination of homosexuals, the Episcopal Church appears poised to adopt a blessing rite for same-sex couples wishing to wed. If approved, as expected, at the church's General Convention starting Thursday in Indianapolis, the liturgy would be the first such rite endorsed by a major denomination in the United States….

The proposed Episcopalian rite is similar to the wedding liturgy that its opposite-sex couples use, said the Rev. Ruth Meyers, chairwoman of the church's Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music that devised it.

"But the [same-sex] couple's commitment to one another as being rooted in their commitment to God is more explicitly stated" than in the traditional wedding rite in the church's Book of Common Prayer.

A professor of liturgics at the Episcopal seminary in Berkeley, Calif., Meyers said her commission studied hundreds of home-made and unauthorized blessing rites, some dating to the 1970s, after it issued a public call for them three years ago.

Titled "The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant," the proposed liturgy also allows for an exchange and blessing of rings that have already been exchanged. "We're aware," Meyers said, "that some people in committed relationships might have given each other rings 20 years ago."

In 2009, the General Convention, which meets triennially, also authorized her commission to develop a theological and cultural basis for blessing same-sex unions.

Indianapolis Star
Episcopal Church OKs blessing for same-sex unions
JULY 12, 2012

The Episcopal Church approved a liturgy for the blessing of same-sex unions on Tuesday, making it the largest church in the United States and the first province in the Anglican Communion to do so….

“It’s an officially authorized resource of the Episcopal Church that could be used in every one of the dioceses in the Episcopal Church,” said Rev. Ruth Meyers, a co-chair of the subcommittee that helped create the liturgy.

“This is a church blessing only,” Meyers said. “The church didn’t make any decision about civil unions or marriages in states where that is law.”

Episcopal News Service
Blessing rite authorized for provisional use from First Advent
July 10, 2012

[Episcopal News Service -- Indianapolis] Same-gender couples soon can have their lifelong relationships blessed using a rite approved by General Convention July 10….

The resolution also calls on the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music “to conduct a review process over the next triennium, making clear that this is a work in progress,” the Rev. Ruth Meyers, deputy of the Diocese of Chicago, said in introducing the legislation to the deputies. She chaired the convention Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music Committee’s subcommittee on blessings and the SCLM.

Episcopal News Service
Convention wrap-up: Re-envisioning church for the 21st century
July 12, 2012

[Episcopal News Service -- Indianapolis] In a historic move, convention authorized provisional use of a rite for blessing same-gender unions. “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” rite will be available for use starting Dec. 2 (the first Sunday of Advent), but clergy will need the permission of their bishop under the terms of the resolution.

The resolution calls on the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music “to conduct a review process over the next triennium, making clear that this is a work in progress,” the Rev. Ruth Meyers, deputy of the Diocese of Chicago, told the deputies. She chaired the convention Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music Committee’s subcommittee on blessings and the SCLM.


President and Dean W. Mark Richardson

BBC interviews CDSP President on the Archbishop of Canterbury
BBC-TV, March 23, 2012
[CDSP President and Dean W. Mark Richardson is interviewed on BBC-TV about the announcement by Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams that he would be stepping down at the end of 2012.] 

Associate Professor Dan SIemiatkoski

ENS interviews  CDSP professor on the Occupy Movement
Episcopal News Service, Nov. 16, 2011
As the worldwide protest movement against economic injustice that started with Occupy Wall Street (OWS) in New York enters its second month, participants and their supporters in the religious community are regrouping in some locations . . . while faith leaders continue to provide material and spiritual assistance to “occupations” in many cities.
In California, Episcopalian Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski, associate professor of church history at the Episcopal Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, and a couple of students attended the Nov. 2 “general strike” called by Occupy Oakland following an Oct. 25 raid on their encampment and violent clashes between police and protestors.
On Nov. 15, some students again joined him on a visit to the location where protesters are attempting to reestablish an Occupy Cal encampment at the University of California, near the seminary. More CDSP students visited that night, when university professor and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich addressed the crowd.
When he marched with protestors on Nov. 2, Joslyn-Siemiatkoski said, he was contemplating both the divisiveness of the 99-percent-vs.-1-percent message and how to get to “the 100 percent, which is really another way to begin talking about the reign of God,” he said, where “even the one lost sheep gets brought back into the fold.”
He preached on this and his experience at the strike the next day. While he’s “leery of overly divisive rhetoric” because both sides must be at the table to find solutions, he said, “you also need to speak the truth.”
“Part of the gospel is that it involves repentance,” he said. “The issue is how you use your wealth.”
And if you benefit from an unjust economic system, it’s important to engage in fixing it, he said. “As a white male, I benefit the most from American society, but it’s also important to see the ways in which my own benefiting flows out of forms of injustice. And for me, being at the march was a way of saying the system is unjust.”

© 2012 Church Divinity School of the Pacific