The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music of The Episcopal Church is preparing to move the Episcopal Church toward installing same sex marriage rites in the church. You can read their documents here. The major funding for this effort is coming from the Arcus Foundation, well-known as a political lobbying organization that is funding major initiatives in religious organizations that focus on our work on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) issues. In the case of the Episcopal Church, they are funding the work to radically alter the understanding of Christian marriage in the currently official branch of the Anglican Communion in the United States.
This work is a follow-up to Resolution C056 Liturgies for Blessings of Same-Gender Relationships (which, following the Arcus Foundation's goals would also include bisexual and transgendered marriages as well). The text for Resolution C056 is as follows:
Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, inSF did some background research on Arcus last year where it found that in 2008, Arcus distributed 19 grants totalling $2,128,331 to further its goals for same-gendered issues. Of that amount, over half a million dollars funded Integrity (TEC), the Chicago Consultation (TEC), and Lutherans Concerned (ELCA).
consultation with the House of Bishops, collect and develop
theological and liturgical resources, and report to the 77th
General Convention [in 2012]
Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in
consultation with the House of Bishops, devise an open
process for the conduct of its work inviting participation from
provinces, dioceses, congregations, and individuals who are
engaged in such theological work, and inviting theological
reflection from throughout the Anglican Communion
What is interesting to note is that the funding is coming from an outside secular and political source for social action and has not yet received substantial funding from local dioceses and churches. The primary connection to the Arcus Foundation's funding has been the progressive Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP) at the University of California, Berkeley, where Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori went to seminary.
The Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music will develop these materials as an addition to the
Enriching Our Worship series, the official Episcopal Church supplement to the Book of
Common Prayer. The use of the materials must be authorized by the action of General Convention. The SCLM plans to propose that the new rites be included in a revised edition of Enriching Our Worship which will be brought before the next General Convention in 2012.
You can read the work of the ECLM here. You can read more about Arcus here and here. You can read more about the CDSP here and at their blog here which also has a link to this enthusiastic report at Susan Russell's blog about the ECLM task force presentation at the recent House of Bishops meeting. One of the things that is interesting to note is that Susan Russell has stepped down from leadership of Integrity, signaling that the need for outside organizations such as Integrity are no longer needed since the goals of Integrity are now officially embraced by the national office of The Episcopal Church.