The head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) said this week that he has “deep confidence” that the unity within the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination will not be lost amid concerns that a “church-dividing decision” might result from next month’s churchwide assembly.
Furthermore, unity will not be won or lost at the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly in a plenary session vote, clarified ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson ahead of the Aug. 17-23 gathering in Minneapolis.
“Sometimes, when I hear concerns about division in the ELCA, I worry that they express a fear that unity depends on the actions of church leaders or assemblies,” Hanson expressed in a statement. “Our unity, however, comes to us because God gives it freely and undeservedly in Jesus Christ. more >>
The head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is asking for members of the nation’s largest Lutheran body to devote more time to prayer and the study of Scripture over the 50 days leading up to its 2009 assembly.
The ELCA Churchwide Assembly, which convenes every two years, is the denomination’s highest legislative authority and is scheduled to meet in Minneapolis starting Aug. 17.
This year’s gathering will be particularly significant as the denomination is expected to adopt its first statement on human sexuality based on proposals that conservative Lutherans have rejected as ones that would liberalize the denomination's stance on homosexuality. more >>
The head of the largest Lutheran denomination in the nation has written a letter to 14 U.S. Jewish leaders, expressing his “sadness and concern” over the fatal shooting inside the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
“It is reprehensible that such an attack occurred at this place of solemn remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust,” commented the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
“Our prayers are with the families of the guard who was killed, as well as with all those present or who work at the Museum and who will remain traumatized by this terrible event,” he added. more >>
One of the Evangelical Lutheran Church's regional synods voted on Saturday to uphold the denomination's policy banning non-celibate gay and lesbian clergy.
The South Dakota Synod voted 362-233 during its annual assembly against changing the ELCA's current ordination policy and social statements on sexuality.
The vote is a recommendation to the denomination's highest governing body which will consider proposals on homosexuality at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in August. more >>
A group of Lutheran scholars and church leaders released an open letter on Tuesday urging members churchwide to reject proposals that would liberalize the denomination's stance on homosexuality.
Ahead of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Churchwide Assembly in August, the conservative group is cautioning voting members against changing the denomination's current position on same-sex blessings and the ordination of partnered gays.
"The proposals to be considered by the Churchwide Assembly this summer from the Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality are perceived by some as compromises that will permit the ELCA to live faithfully with internal diversity on controversial ethical questions. The proposals are in fact no compromise," the letter states. "They clearly imply that same-sex blessings and the ordination and rostering of homosexual persons in committed relationships are acceptable within the ELCA." more >>
Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Saint Paul, Minnesota is a congregation of the more conservative Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. It is not unusual these days to find families leaving the ELCA to join the church. However, a new member’s class at Bethlehem Lutheran is an unusual place to find young men from the ELCA’s Luther Seminary in Saint Paul. Pastor of the Church, Robert Krueger, says that he sees more ELCA students coming to his traditional and liturgical congregation. “They all have expressed a disappointment in the direction the ELCA is going, and its general disregard for the Bible as the Word of God.”
One of those seminary students, Barcon from Madagascar says, “The ELCA’s acceptance of practicing gay pastors and gay marriage would not happen in my region of the world. Even if the homosexual lifestyle is fully accepted by society, how can the Christian Church go against what is taught in the Bible? Even the un-churched know that this is not the teaching of God or of real Christianity.”
This doesn’t surprise Rev. Bill Sullivan, national service coordinator for Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ, a young denomination established primarily for Churches leaving the ELCA. “For some time now we have gotten a few calls a day from congregations planning to leave the ELCA, who want to research their options.” These are mostly congregations that are planning to leave regardless of the outcome of the sexuality vote and he hears often from seminarians planning to leave the ELCA too. more >>