A Lutheran pastor and four congregations in South Dakota were recently censured by their bishop for affiliating with another Lutheran body.
The Rev. Frezil Westerlund of Philip, S.D., received a letter last week from the South Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America informing her that she was in violation of church law.
The four churches she serves had voted to join the more "centrist" Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ and redirect funds away from the synod. At the same time, they did not vote to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. more >>
Leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recently rejected claims that they abandoned the authority of Scripture when the denomination opened ordination to partnered gays.
It is not true "as some are claiming, that the ELCA has abandoned or ignored the authority of Scripture. Rather, we seek to be faithful to the evangelical purpose that God intends with the Scriptures," said ELCA executive for discernment of contextual and theological issues the Rev. Marcus R. Kunz, according to the denomination's news service.
ELCA leaders met with clergy from the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod – the second largest Lutheran church body after the ELCA – last month to discuss the theological implications of the pro-gay actions taken last year. more >>
A partnered gay minister who was defrocked three years ago will be reinstated to the clergy roster of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
The ELCA Southeastern Synod approved the reinstatement of both the Rev. Bradley E. Schmeling and his partner, the Rev. Darin Easler, according to the denomination's news service on Tuesday.
"It feels like being back with the family again after a time of uncomfortable separation," said Schmeling. more >>
The head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America plans to affirm to an overseas bishop that the U.S. church is committed to the centrality of the Word of God.
The Rev. Mark S. Hanson will share the statement when he meets with presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, the Rev. Alex G. Malasusa, in May, according to the ELCA News Service.
Malasusa had recently rebuked the ELCA for its liberal direction on homosexuality. more >>
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 >>