Leaders from various faith groups around the world on Tuesday pledged to prioritize and strengthen their response to HIV and to end the stigma associated with the pandemic.
"As religious leaders we have to be just and honest and address the fact that a vast majority of those among us affected by HIV and AIDS belong to a faith community," said the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches. "We have to provide leadership to uphold the inherent human dignity of all."
Tveit and representatives of some 40 religions just came out of the first-ever religious summit of high level leaders on the HIV response. The March 22-23 event took place in the Netherlands where participants – including Baha'í, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh leaders – signed a personal commitment to action, vowing to "be clear in my words and actions that stigma and discrimination towards people living with or affected by HIV is unacceptable," according to The Associated Press. more >>
The largest Lutheran denomination in the country on Thursday released a draft social statement on genetics.
The statement, which will be considered by leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America next year, is intended to provide a framework for discussing such topics as stem cell research, cloning, and other advances of genetics.
"We recognize that contemporary power presents human beings with choices and responsibilities for which we are accountable to God," the draft statement reads. "What is the appropriate human role in God’s creation with regard to genetic knowledge and technology?" more >>
A Lutheran congregation in Fort Pierce, Fla., was recently denied permission to end their affiliation with the denomination.
Though members of St. Peter Lutheran Church voted unanimously to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, they were informed last week that their request for dismissal was rejected by the Florida-Bahamas Synod.
ELCA Secretary David D. Swartling told the denomination's news service that this was a rare instance in which a congregation was not allowed to leave. more >>
The Lutheran World Federation added more than 1.5 million new members to its member churches last year, according to the latest report.
Membership gains in Africa and Asia contributed to the approximately 2.3 percent increase, bringing the total to just over 70 million for the first time.
LWF churches in Africa saw the largest increase with the addition of more than 1.2 million members. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania is the largest LWF member church on the continent with currently 5.3 million members and the second largest LWF church in the world after Church of Sweden, which has 6.75 million members. more >>
Leaders in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on Monday approved revisions to ministry policies that would officially accommodate gay and lesbian ministers.
New language in the policies pertaining to ordination makes room in leadership for those in "publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships."
The draft proposal was drawn up during a six-day meeting by the ELCA Conference of Bishops. The meeting concluded Tuesday. more >>
The head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America returned to Web stage on Sunday to take questions from a divided denomination.
Much like at the first online town hall forum in December, many of the questions at Sunday's live event focused on the recent legislative decision to allow practicing homosexuals to be ordained.
"As I presided over that churchwide assembly in August 2009, my call was not to manipulate, or advocate or intimidate. It was to make sure that this assembly was in a context of worship and prayer and holy conversations and thoughtful deliberations and decision making," said ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson in response to a question submitted on the Web. more >>