The nation's largest Lutheran denomination will consider allowing individual congregations to choose whether to allow gays and lesbians in committed relationships to serve as clergy, an attempt to avoid the sort of infighting that has threatened to tear other churches apart.
A task force of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recommended that course Thursday in a long-awaited report on ministry standards. The panel, however, said the church needs to clarify a number of questions before overhauling its gay clergy policy.
The report, issued at the same time as a broader church social statement on human sexuality, seeks balance on an issue dividing many Protestant churches. Both documents will be considered in August in Minneapolis at the biannual convention of the 4.7-million member denomination. more >>
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has opened conversations between the church and academia on feminist theologies, hoping to develop insight on how the Church can live out its commitment to combat sexism in the church and society and to advocate justice for women.
Although Lutheran feminist theologians have been writing and working in Lutheran and non-Lutheran institutions for a long time, the church and academia have rarely come together to discuss their work, says Dr. Mary Streufert, director of the Justice for Women program, part of the denomination's Church in Society arm.
Until now, the discussion on feminist theologies has been mainly confined to some ELCA universities and seminaries, said Streufert. more >>
The head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Episcopal Church (TEC) have asked Israel to explain why it denied two of their bishops entry into Gaza while allowing others in a church delegation to cross the border.
In a letter to Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Sallai Meridor, ELCA presiding bishop the Rev. Mark S. Hanson and TEC presiding bishop the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori asked why only the two Palestinian bishops were kept from entering Gaza, especially since they said they had already obtained permits from Israeli officials to enter Gaza.
"The purpose of their visit was pastoral – to visit churches, humanitarian projects of the Middle East Council of Churches and the Al Ahli Hospital, an institution of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem," the two U.S. presiding bishops wrote in the Feb. 5 letter. more >>
Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recently agreed to all be tested for HIV/AIDS at their upcoming Conference of Bishops in a denominational effort to raise awareness about the pandemic.
The 65 synod bishops, presiding bishop and secretary that make up the advisory board of ELCA’s Conference of Bishops will be tested for the virus during their March 2009 meeting in Itasca, Ill.
ELCA’s Ministry Among People in Poverty (MAPP) Committee had first introduced the idea at the October 2008 Conference meeting. The Conference of Bishops meet twice a year. more >>
Lutheran congregations worldwide are joining in celebration on Tuesday for the 525th anniversary of the baptism of protestant reformation founder Martin Luther.
The worldwide “Baptism Festival” on Nov. 11, the day after Martin Luther’s birthday on Nov. 10, 1483, will see at least 270 baptisms in 249 congregations celebrating baptismal remembrances in 13 countries.
As many as 25 congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) are registered to host remembrances. more >>
The head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is urging people of faith to speak out publicly on the vital issues facing the nation and the world and to exercise faithful civic engagement.
“In the Lutheran community of faith we value both public and private discourse, because we believe God works in vital and redemptive ways with human words,” expressed the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of ELCA, in a pastoral letter to the denomination.
“The words uttered by those seeking office and those voting have power, not only to provide the substance necessary for good decision making, but also to bring hope,” he added. more >>