Hope Lutheran, the largest ELCA congregation in Fargo, says it’s cutting all funding to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
That’s according to a statement from the Hope Lutheran church council and Senior Pastor Chuck Olmstead. The move comes in response to the ELCA Churchwide Assembly’s decision in August to allow congregations that so choose to recognize and support committed same-gender relationships and allow individuals in such relationships to serve in the clergy.
Here’s a portion of the statement from the Hope Lutheran Web site:
What the ELCA vote has accomplished is to make each congregation even more autonomous. That independence frees us to choose who we work with in mission and who we support financially. To that end Hope Lutheran’s leadership has suspended all financial support to the ELCA and will develop a process to define who our mission partners will be. We will support these partnerships with direct financial support. Finally, we will continue to be a generous congregation reaching out with our financial support towards those partnerships we choose for the good of Gods’ kingdom.
The statement goes on to address standards for pastors at Hope Lutheran. It states:
Regarding pastors, we have always had high standards for our pastors here at Hope Lutheran. In the past pastors have been expected to abide by a "Visions and Expectations" document outlining a pastor’s responsibilities and duties in order to serve at Hope Lutheran. That document outlines the biblical understanding that:
"Human sexuality is a gift from God and expression of human intimacy is to be maintained within a marriage relationship between one man and one woman that is mutual, chaste, and faithful. Pastors are expected to conform to this biblical understanding of sexuality."
We will continue to uphold this biblical view for pastoral leadership here at Hope Lutheran.
You can read the entire statement here.
Check out The Forum or inforum.com for more information tomorrow (10/30/09).