ELCA Social Statement on Sexuality Postponed

America’s largest Lutheran church body will not develop a social statement on human sexuality until 2009 – two years after the proposed 2007 timeline.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Church Council approved the extension of the date during its three-day meeting in Chicago that ended Monday.

Rev. James M. Childs Jr., director of the ELCA Studies on Sexuality, told the council that the 14-member task force had focused so much of its first three years of work on developing a report on homosexual ordinations and union blessings that it did not have enough time to do “an appropriate job” of developing a general social statement on homosexuality, according to ELCA News.

Under the initial timeline, the task force would need to produce an initial social statement by next January. The proposed statement would then be released exactly one year later.

Concerns about the tight schedule were raised earlier when the task-force members met amongst themselves. Some members suggested such a report would not be “doable” if an extension were not given.

Under the new timeline, however, the task force is likely to develop the final part of its assignment: finding a “biblically and theologically based” view on sexuality. Key questions tackled in the assignment, include homosexuality, sexual abuse, marriage and family, widowed older adults and singles.”

"We want to revitalize our biblically based Christian witness to core values of human sexuality in our contemporary culture … a culture of sexuality given to the idolatries of economics, consumerism and power often objectifying persons as though they were commodities to be bought or traded," the task force said to the Church Council, according to ELCA news.

Under the new change, the task force members will have until January 2009 to finish a rough draft of its report on sexuality. Additionally, some of the task force members may leave after serving until 2007 leaving spots open to new task force members.

"Some members of the current task force may continue to serve until 2009, while others would retire and new persons be appointed," the task force said.