An openly gay Atlanta pastor previously removed from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and later reinstated has now been voted in by an overwhelming majority to the role of senior pastor at the biggest Lutheran church in Saint Paul, Minn.
The Rev. Bradley Schmeling, who in 2007 admitted he was in a committed same-sex relationship with Pastor Darin Easler, a former minister at the United Redeemer Lutheran Church in Zumbrota, Minn., was removed from ELCA's official clergy roster that year. His St. John's Lutheran Church in Atlanta, however, decided to keep him on as pastor despite the ELCA's decision, and he has served there since 2000.
Schmeling and Easler were reinstated in 2009 when the ELCA voted to permit gay and lesbian ministers in monogamous relationships to be on the roster. The 559-451 vote created a split within the Lutheran church, as a fraction of member churches left to start the North American Lutheran Church, which rejects openly gay clergy. more >>
While some Protestant churches deal with divisions within their congregations, one Wisconsin church will be taking its affiliation dispute to court.
About 70 members of Grace Lutheran Church of Eau Claire are asking a judge to declare their church exclusively affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
An initial vote taken by the congregation to disaffiliate from the ELCA and join the more conservative Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ failed, but in April Grace Lutheran’s church council then decided to have their church be affiliated with both groups. more >>
An Edmond, Okla., church voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to cut ties with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America over the denomination's liberal direction.
In a 110-5 vote, Peace Lutheran Church agreed to leave the ELCA – the largest Lutheran denomination in the country with around 4.5 million members. This was the second and final approval needed to leave. The congregation also determined in a separate vote to affiliate with the newly formed conservative body, the North American Lutheran Church.
Peace Lutheran joins hundreds of other congregations in withdrawing from the ELCA following the body's vote in 2009 to let non-celibate gays and lesbians serve as clergy. more >>
So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. -- Matthew 28:8
Mary Magdalene and Mary walked to Jesus' grave, expecting to find death. It's understandable. Images of violence filled their minds. Thoughts of their vulnerability and mortality deadened their spirits. Death had become the defining story of their lives.
Instead of death, the women met a resurrection messenger who said, "He is not here: for he has been raised, as he said." As they hurried to tell others, the risen Jesus met them. They were changed. Now resurrection, not death, would define their lives. more >>
A retired military chaplain reminded hundreds of people at the 87th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting in Washington, D.C., on Thursday about the reason for the season.
The Rev. Darrell D. Morton, assistant for federal chaplaincy ministries to the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, delivered the invocation at the lighting in President’s Park. During the first half of the start-studded affair, he prayed, “This night as the Christmas tree is lighted, we are reminded of the light which has come into the world through your son.”
During his prayer, Morton also highlighted the plights of the homeless and the poor. more >>
Religious leaders are lending their voice to a newly launched video project, joining celebrities and political figures who assure young bullied gays and lesbians that "it gets better."
In a video message added Thursday, the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America told victims of bullying that God loves them.
"I've listened with pain and shock to reports of young people taking their lives because they've been bullied and tormented for being different, for being gay or perceived to be gay, for being the people God created them to be," the Rev. Mark S. Hanson said. more >>