CTB took it's name from Genesis 12:2 where God says to Abraham: "I will bless you so that you will be a blessing." and outlined this mission in their 2002 Theology statement :The General Convention of the U.S. Episcopal Church resolved in 1976 that “homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance and pastoral concern and care of the Church.”
Since that time great strides toward realizing that “full and equal” claim have been taken. There are a growing number of places in the church where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (lgbt) persons are welcomed, affirmed in their ministries and blessed in their committed relationships. There are, however, many more places where they are still not fully included in the life of the church. A coalition of leading justice organizations in the Episcopal Church — Integrity, Beyond Inclusion and diocesan Oasis ministries — along with numerous individual leaders, are determined to see the 1976 resolution become a reality.
To that end, this partnership, called “Claiming the Blessing” (http://www.claimingtheblessing.org/), has committed itself to obtaining approval at the 2003 General orgConvention of a liturgical rite of blessing, celebrating the holy love in faithful relationships between couples for whom marriage is not available, enabling couples in these relationships to see in each other the image of God.
At General Convention 2003, liturgical rites took a back seat to securing consents to the historic election of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, although progress was made with the passage of Resolution C051 recognizing "that local faith communities are operating within the bounds of our common life as they explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex unions."
Another major step forward was Resolution C056 -- adopted in 2009 in Anaheim and calling for the development of theological and liturgical resources for the blessing of same-sex relationships to be presented to General Convention 2012 in Indianapolis.
So as CTB looks ahead, there is still work to do to make that 1976 resolution a reality. And Integrity is proud to continue be part of the collabortive process of making that happen.
Claiming the Blessing will meet in Fort Worth, August 5-7. Board Member and Communications Director Louise Brooks and Acting Executive Director John Clinton Bradley will represent Integrity at that meeting where plans for General Convention 2012 will be high on the agenda. Stay tuned. We'll keep you updated.