A megachurch in Glendale, Ariz., unanimously voted Sunday to cut ties with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and will be joining the smaller Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.
At a congregational meeting following worship, Community Church of Joy voted 129-0 to terminate its affiliation with ELCA as the church’s vision, values and mission are no longer aligned with the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination, according to the Rev. Walter P. Kallestad, senior pastor of the congregation.
"There is such a different direction that the ELCA has chosen, a path they're traveling on, and we really believe that it just was not consistent to where God has called us,” said Kallestad, whose congregation was the 10th largest in ELCA with 6,800 baptized members. more >>
More than 1,200 Lutherans disaffected by the recent vote favoring openly gay clergy have assembled in Indianapolis on Friday to begin creating an alternative fellowship for conservative Lutherans.
"We intend to initiate a process that we hope will lead to a reconfiguration of North American Lutheranism," said Paull Spring, chair of Lutheran CORE and the retired bishop of the Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod. "The convocation is for all who care for the future shape of orthodox Lutheranism."
Lutheran CORE is leading the Sept. 25-26 convocation. While the group has served as a coalition for reform for conservative Lutherans within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, it is now shifting its focus from efforts to reform the ELCA to efforts to enable traditional Lutherans to work together both within and outside of the denomination. more >>
The head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is urging leaders within the denomination to refrain from making decisions that may separate members from one another in the aftermath of the contentious outcomes of last month’s churchwide assembly.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson is urging them instead to “engage one another with honesty and respect in renewed and deepened theological conversation informed by an evangelical, missional imagination.”
“My heart aches as I listen to the pain and distress of those who feel confused or even abandoned by others, not only in the decisions of the churchwide assembly but also in the decisions that are being made in congregations and by individuals,” the Lutheran head wrote in a letter Wednesday to leaders within the denomination. more >>
As conservative congregations ponder leaving the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America over its decision to give the green light to noncelibate gay clergy, one minister says there are Lutherans returning to the denomination because of the gay-affirming vote.
"I hope the story of people returning to the church gets told," the Rev. Bradley E. Schmeling told the ELCA News Service. "We hear a lot about those who are in pain because of the changes and talk about leaving."
Last month, during the churchwide assembly of ELCA's chief legislative body, delegates voted 559-451 to approve a resolution allowing gays and lesbians in "life-long, monogamous, same gender relationships" to be ordained. more >>
Though the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) decided last month to adopt policies that disregard the long-standing – not to mention biblical – understanding of homosexuality as sin, the church body’s leader is urging his flock to continue the conversation on this topic and others.
“I opened our recent Churchwide Assembly with these questions: ‘What shall be our witness?’ ‘What stories shall we tell?’” noted ELCA’s presiding bishop, the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, in a video message posted on the newly launched "Our Faithful Mission Together" section of the denomination's website. “Those questions remain before us.”
Last month, during the triennial gathering of ELCA’s chief legislative body, delegates voted 559-451 to approve a resolution allowing gays and lesbians in “life-long, monogamous, same gender relationships” to be ordained. more >>
The Reformed Church in America has no plans to end its full communion relationship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America over the Lutherans' recent vote to allow noncelibate homosexuals to be ordained.
"Cutting ties with the ELCA over their Assembly’s narrow decision would witness to the world that Christians will fight and divide themselves from one another, and break the bonds of Christian fellowship, over such an ethical difference," RCA spokesman Paul Boice told The Christian Post.
More than ten years have passed since the two denominations entered into full communion and began recognizing each other "as churches in which the gospel is rightly preached and the sacraments rightly administered according to the Word of God" and providing for the orderly exchange of ordained ministers. more >>