Voting members at this week’s gathering of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s chief legislative authority turned down a motion to require a two-thirds majority to approve changes to the denomination’s policies on the hiring of church leaders.
The 57-43 percent vote against the proposal came in the evening of the first day of the 2009 ELCA Church Assembly in Minneapolis, where more than 2,300 Lutherans, including 1,045 voting members, have convened.
Though supporters of the supermajority said a higher hurdle was needed to signal wide support for a proposal they view as a major change in the church's approach to homosexuality, Monday’s vote effectively leaves in place a recommendation that a simple majority vote be sufficient for the proposed policy changes. more >>
More than 2,300 Lutherans opened up the biennial gathering of their denomination’s chief legislative authority on Monday, well aware that great attention has been placed on proposals to change church policy on gay and lesbian clergy.
But the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said Monday that he approached the assembly “in a spirit of confident hope” that the church could learn to live with its differences.
“Those talking about a dissension leading to division have not been listening to the church over the past four years,” he said as the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly opened its first day in Minneapolis. “The intensity of the rhetoric has been diminished and replaced by a very thoughtful engagement.” more >>
The highest legislative authority of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) will consider lifting a ban on gay and lesbian clergy who are in lifelong, monogamous relationships as it gathers this week for its biennial gathering.
More than 1,000 elected delegates will debate church policy at the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis, which commences Monday and concludes the following Sunday.
Among the proposals being considered is a statement on human sexuality and proposals that conservatives say would allow non-celibate homosexuals to be ordained. more >>
The presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is calling on his denomination’s members to ask President Obama to help secure lasting peace for the people of Sudan.
In a recent letter, Bishop Mark S. Hanson called on the church’s 4.6 million members to add their name to an interfaith letter that urges the United States to be diplomatically active in achieving peace in war-torn Sudan.
“The Gospel inspires us with courage in the face of conflict and calls us to be active in the quest for peace among all nations,” Hanson wrote. “Together, we must stand for peace in Sudan in both word and deed, faithful to God’s calling to be peacemakers and ever hopeful in the power of the Spirit.” more >>
Baptized members of the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination on average gave more in 2008 than in 2007, continuing an upward trend that began in 2000.
"Despite the challenging economic times that began in 2008, ELCA members continue to be faithful stewards of the resources that God has provided," commented David D. Swartling, secretary for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
Notably, however, the number of baptized members in ELCA dropped by 76,069 to 4,633,887 and the number of ELCA congregations dropped by 52 to 10,396 congregations in 2008. more >>
A group of Hispanic pastors from Florida released an open letter to members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America pleading against adopting changes to the denomination's positions on homosexuality.
"When the Assembly votes on these matters, your vote will not simply decide on possible changes to ELCA policies but will also be a vote on whether or not Holy Scripture will be the final authority for our faith and life in the ELCA," the pastors state in the letter, released Friday.
Already several groups of Lutheran scholars and church leaders have released similar open letters urging votes for and against changes. Their pleas come ahead of the denomination's Churchwide Assembly, which convenes in Minneapolis starting Aug. 17. more >>