Bishops in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America requested more time to review ministry policy revisions that will formally open the ordination process to practicing homosexuals.
The changes were discussed at a Conference of Bishops meeting that ended Tuesday, but the synod bishops, the presiding bishop and secretary want another opportunity to look over the updated language before it's made permanent.
The ministry policy revisions were voted on in August at the Churchwide Assembly. The ELCA's chief legislative body approved a resolution allowing gays and lesbians in "life-long, monogamous, same gender relationships" to be ordained. more >>
It would be a “blessing” if the actions taken at the assembly of the largest Lutheran church body in America were not implemented, said the head of the second largest.
For many years, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has worked cooperatively with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and its predecessor church bodies through many inter-Lutheran agencies such as Lutheran World Relief, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and Lutheran Services in America.
“It is our desire to be able to continue to provide Christ-centered ministry through such agencies, always doing so in faithfulness to the doctrinal positions of our church,” LCMS President Gerald B. Kieschnick wrote in an Oct. 1 letter to ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson and the ELCA Conference of Bishops. more >>
Conservative Lutherans from congregations throughout the country voted on Saturday to begin deciding on whether to go their separate ways from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Arguing that the ELCA has fallen into heresy, the traditional group has essentially initiated a process that they hope will lead to a reconfiguration of Lutheranism in North America.
"We are forming a churchly community because our prior churchly community has walked away from the faith off the one holy catholic and apostolic Church," said Ryan Schwarz, a member of the Lutheran CORE (Coalition for Reform) steering committee. more >>
A megachurch in Glendale, Ariz., unanimously voted Sunday to cut ties with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and will be joining the smaller Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.
At a congregational meeting following worship, Community Church of Joy voted 129-0 to terminate its affiliation with ELCA as the church’s vision, values and mission are no longer aligned with the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination, according to the Rev. Walter P. Kallestad, senior pastor of the congregation.
"There is such a different direction that the ELCA has chosen, a path they're traveling on, and we really believe that it just was not consistent to where God has called us,” said Kallestad, whose congregation was the 10th largest in ELCA with 6,800 baptized members. more >>
More than 1,200 Lutherans disaffected by the recent vote favoring openly gay clergy have assembled in Indianapolis on Friday to begin creating an alternative fellowship for conservative Lutherans.
"We intend to initiate a process that we hope will lead to a reconfiguration of North American Lutheranism," said Paull Spring, chair of Lutheran CORE and the retired bishop of the Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod. "The convocation is for all who care for the future shape of orthodox Lutheranism."
Lutheran CORE is leading the Sept. 25-26 convocation. While the group has served as a coalition for reform for conservative Lutherans within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, it is now shifting its focus from efforts to reform the ELCA to efforts to enable traditional Lutherans to work together both within and outside of the denomination. more >>
The head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is urging leaders within the denomination to refrain from making decisions that may separate members from one another in the aftermath of the contentious outcomes of last month’s churchwide assembly.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson is urging them instead to “engage one another with honesty and respect in renewed and deepened theological conversation informed by an evangelical, missional imagination.”
“My heart aches as I listen to the pain and distress of those who feel confused or even abandoned by others, not only in the decisions of the churchwide assembly but also in the decisions that are being made in congregations and by individuals,” the Lutheran head wrote in a letter Wednesday to leaders within the denomination. more >>