“What we have here is a classic case of schism â€” a formal division or separation in the Christian church …
“So now the NALC becomes, in the eyes of this magazine, one more Lutheran denomination. Just as the staff follows major events in the life of the LCMS, the same will be true with the NALC. The Lutheran won’t give it any special coverage just because of its heritage. This group, like Elvis, has left the building.”
Faith blog Divinity and Beyond talked to Rev. Jen Nagel of Minneapolis who isÂ one of four lesbian pastors in MinnesotaÂ welcomed this month to the clergy roster of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
“Three pastors from the Twin Cities who are lesbians in committed relationships were embraced Saturday as Evangelical Lutheran Church in America pastors. The Reverends Anita Hill, Ruth Frost and Phyllis Zillhart were inducted during a service presided over by St. Paul Bishop Peter Rogness at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of the Redeemer,” the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.
In 2009, the ELCA voted at its biannual Churchwide AssemblyÂ to allow individuals in committed same-gender relationships to serve in the clergy. Hundreds of congregations in the ELCA have explored the possibility of exiting the denominations in the wakeÂ of theÂ assembly.Â The ELCA has at more than 10,0o0 congregations.
“California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger remained resolute Wednesday to not appeal the ruling that determined the state marriage definition â€“ between one man and one woman â€“ unconstitutional.
“In a brief to the California Supreme Court, the governorâ€™s lawyer, Andrew Stroud, said Schwarzenegger has â€œcomplete discretion over his own litigation strategy, including whether or not to appeal an order,â€ according to The Associated Press.”
Proposition 8 was passed by the residents of California and defined marriage as being between one man and one woman.
The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), will answer questions on a variety of topics from members of the denomination at 4 p.m. (Central Time)Â Sept. 19.Â Hanson will take questions during an hour-long “Town Hall Forum.”
The town hall comes aÂ little more than a year after the 2009 Churchwide Assembly when the denomination opened it’s pulpits to individuals in same-gender relationship. Critics have seen that as another step in a continuing slide away from the scriptures.
Don’t expect that issue to eclipse all else in the discussion. It’s likely that other issues will be brought to bear. Though not completely unrelated to the gay clergy issue, there may be questions related to financial issues in the denomination.
It is the second such meeting of the year and the third since December 2009.
Hawley (Minn.) Lutheran Church, a congregation of more than 1,100 baptized members, could take the first step Sept. 19 toward breaking with its denomination.
The congregation has scheduled a â€œspecial meetingâ€ that day to vote on whether to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Congregation President Clayton Lilleby confirmed the meeting via e-mail Tuesday.
To leave the ELCA, a congregation must pass two votes separated by at least 90 days.
Members of Grace Lutheran Church in Erskine, Minn.,Â have voted to leave the Northwestern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America following the ELCAâ€™s controversial decisions on sexuality just over a year ago.
Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) accepted its 500th congregation this month.
Members of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Morris, Minn., voted on Aug. 22 to join the traditionalist denomination.
LCMC has has grown by well over 100 percent since the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s (ELCA) controversial Churchwide Assembly last year. At that Aug. 2009 gathering, the ELCA opted to allow individuals in same-gender relationships to serve in the clergy and passed a controversial social statement on human sexuality. Some congregations displeased with those decisions and what they see as a drift away from scripture, have sought affiliation in the more conservative LCMC.
Of course, to keep things in perspective, the ELCA is the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States with more than 10,000 congregations.
The decisions by the ELCA also sparked the creation of the North American Lutheran Church, a denomination that was officially born Friday at the annual convocation of Lutheran CORE.
A press release from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America reports:
The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), addressed a number of topics in an Aug. 24 pastoral letter to the church, including differing views on human sexuality, reconciliation, not bearing false witness against one another and ongoing dialogue about faith and life.
“It is my prayer that we use this time for discerning and engaging; for repenting and reconciling; for restraint but not timidity; and for rejoicing,” Hanson wrote in his letter.
“Throughout the ELCA I hear people asking, ‘Is my voice heard? Will my voice be respected as we seek together to discern God’s purpose for us?’ The answer is yes,” Hanson wrote. “Nevertheless, people of deep faith and a desire to be part of this church wonder: Do we mean it when we say we can preach, teach and hold divergent views on sexuality and be full participants in the ELCA’s life and witness? Again, the answer is yes.”
Hanson wrote that his “yes” is predicated upon members’ commitment “to be engaged together in discernment,” which “must be grounded in the witness of the Scriptures and the confessions, and it needs the voices of all the baptized.”