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 >>
Yet another denomination has voted to ordain openly homosexual candidates to its ministry. On Tuesday, the Presbyterian Church (USA) presbytery of the Twin Cities in Minnesota voted to approve a change to the church’s constitution that will allow the denomination’s 173 presbyteries to ordain persons without regard to sexual orientation.
The Twin Cities presbytery cast the deciding vote in what is now a 33-year effort to remove all restrictions on homosexuals serving in the church’s ordained ministry. It became the 87th presbytery to affirm the action of the church’s 219th assembly last summer authorizing the constitutional change. The action not only concludes over three decades of controversy over the ordination standards; it also reverses actions taken in 1997, 2001, and 2008, when similar efforts failed.
In 1996, the denomination restated its ordination requirements to include “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness.” That policy had also required that candidates “refusing to repent of any self-acknowledged practice which the confessions call sin shall not be ordained and/or installed as deacons, elders or ministers of the Word and Sacrament.” more >>
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has become the fourth Protestant denomination in the U.S. to allow the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy.
It follows a majority vote by the 173 presbyteries (district governing bodies) on Tuesday to change the body’s constitution in order to allow openly gay people in same-sex relationships to be ordained as ministers, elders and deacons.
The move does away with the constitutional requirement for clergy to live “in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.” more >>
In the wake of the death of the TNIV, a premier evangelical seminary has adopted a brand new Bible translation, called the Common English Bible, to take its place.
Fuller Theological Seminary approved the Common English Bible for official school use in April following news that Zondervan's updated New International Version will replace any prior renditions of the translation, including the 2005 Today's New International Version.
One of the major draws for the CEB was its gender-inclusive language, according to members of the Bible translation committee at Fuller. more >>
No faith community was left undamaged by the 2008 recession, a new survey reveals.
More than half (57 percent) of congregations across the spectrum – including evangelical, Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, and Baha'i – were negatively impacted, according to The Hartford Institute for Religion Research. But perhaps what is more notable is that the financial health of congregations has been in decline long before the downturn even hit.
Hartford's survey, released Wednesday, found that the percentage of congregations reporting some or serious financial difficulty more than doubled to nearly 20 percent in the past 10 years. And those saying that their financial health was excellent dropped from 31 percent in 2000 to 14 percent in 2010. more >>
In a split decision, a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) panel on Monday acquitted a partnered homosexual minister, who faced charges of violating the church constitution.
The panel of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area voted 3-3 after a trial at Oak Grove Presbyterian Church. The decision fell short of the two-thirds vote required to convict the Rev. Erwin Barron.
A complaint was filed against Barron, who teaches at Chabot College in Hayward, Calif., after he married his gay partner, Roland Abellano in 2008. The two married in California during the few months that same-sex marriage was legal there. more >>