Monday, August 24, 2009

US Lutherans consider implications of gay clergy vote

Ecumenical News International
Chris Herlinger
Aug 24, 2009

Supporters and opponents of a decision by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to allow men and women in open and monogamous relationships with persons of the same sex to be ordained as clergy, say they are considering the implications of the vote for the future of the denomination.

"It takes time for a religious community to wrestle with moral questions," James Martin-Schramm, a professor of Christian ethics at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, told Ecumenical News International in an interview about actions taken during the ELCA's Aug. 17 to 23 Churchwide Assembly.

By a 559-451 vote, the highest legislative body of the 4.6-million-member U.S. denomination voted on Aug. 21 to change denominational rules. The changes would "open the ministry of the church to gay and lesbian pastors and other professional workers living in committed relationships", the ELCA News Service reported.

Martin-Schramm, a supporter of the changes, said he thought the ELCA may avoid the intense intra-denominational divisions that have marked the recent experiences of the U.S. Episcopal (Anglican) Church. He noted that the issue had been formally studied and debated within the denomination for eight years. the rest


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