The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America wrapped up its 2009 Churchwide Assembly on Sunday with calls for caution as well as unity.
Just before members returned to their respective cities, ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson urged them to be cautious in their reports to their congregations and not to use the word "fear."
After pledging to speak well of those who attended this year's assembly and of the denomination, Hanson said, "One way I will speak well of you is not to use the word 'fear' to describe those who oppose the actions that prevailed in many of our discussions. It's not helpful to our life together. It's not respectful of deeply held convictions shaped by theology and Scripture and faith," as reported by the ELCA News Service. more >>
The president of the second largest Lutheran denomination in America told delegates of the largest that their decisions this past week to allow and support rostering of those in “life-long, monogamous, same gender relationships” would “undoubtedly cause additional stress and disharmony” in their church body and beyond.
“I speak these … words in deep humility, with a heavy heart and no desire whatsoever to offend,” the Rev. Gerald B. Kieschnick, president of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS), told the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Churchwide Assembly on Saturday.
“The decisions by this assembly to grant non-celibate homosexual ministers the privilege of serving as rostered leaders in the ELCA and the affirmation of same-gender unions as pleasing to God will undoubtedly cause additional stress and disharmony within the ELCA,” he added on the second-to-last day of the weeklong gathering of ELCA’s chief legislative authority. “It will also negatively affect the relationships between our two church bodies.” more >>
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on Friday approved a resolution to allow gays and lesbians in same-sex relationships to be ordained.
ELCA's highest legislative body voted 559-451 during the biennial Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis.
It was a moment of celebration for supporters of the resolution, which overturned the denomination's ban on noncelibate gay and lesbian clergy. But opponents warn the action will likely lead to an exodus of churches. more >>
The chief legislative authority of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) adopted a full communion agreement with the United Methodist Church (UMC) on Thursday by a 958-51 vote.
Under the agreement, the two church bodies express a common confession of Christian faith; mutual recognition of Baptism and sharing Holy Communion; mutual recognition of ordained ministers for service in either church; and a common commitment to evangelism, witness and service.
The two denominations also agree to freely join worship and exchange members; engage in common decision-making on critical matters; and lift criticisms that may exist between the churches. more >>
The chief legislative authority of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) adopted a new social statement on human sexuality Wednesday with exactly the number of votes needed to pass it.
“Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust,” the denomination’s tenth social statement, was passed on a 676-338 vote that met the two-thirds vote requirement on the dot.
The statement – which emphasizes two principles, trust and bound conscience – addresses a spectrum of topics relevant to human sexuality from a Lutheran perspective, including social structures, cohabitation, sexual exploitation, abuse, and homosexuality, the latter of which has drawn the most attention and controversy. more >>
Debate on a proposed social statement on human sexuality began Tuesday at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Churchwide Assembly.
Opponents of the statement argued that adopting it would constitute abandonment of Scripture. more >>