Sunday, August 23, 2009

ELCA and Gay/Lesbian Pastors

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, one of the major mainline Protestant denominations, voted on Friday, August 21, at their national Assembly to open the ministry of the church to gay and lesbian pastors and other professional workers living in a committed relationship. The vote was 559 to 451 or approximately 55% of the total. (See details here.)

It remains to be seen if this vote will prove as divisive to the Lutheran community as it has in the Episcopal fellowship.

If your church should vote on the issue, what do you think the percentage for/against would be? If Disciples had voted on the issue at our recent General Assembly, what would have been the result?


Bill G said...

Interesting questions John.

First one - if my church had a vote what would be the result. Sadly, I think that would depend on whether it was a show of hands or a secret ballot. But either way I'd like to think a majority would recognize the folly in voting on the worth of a person and we'd accept a pastor for who he or she is - not what some want them to be.

Second - what if the Disciples took a vote. After the Disciples Renewal folks pulled out of the denomination 5 or 6 years ago and formed the Disciples Heritage Fellowship of churches we have been left with folks who may find it easier to accept gay and lesbian pastors. At least that's my perception. So I'd have two responses again. If there was even a vote I'd be surprised. But if for some reason a vote in our congregational based fellowship was held at a General Assembly with all of the pastors and active lay people I'm guessing gay and lesbian pastors would be supported by more than the 55% the ELCA experienced last week.

revJohn said...

There is a small Disciple congregation near my sister in Madisonville, LA. They had to sell their building and move to a smaller site when the church spit over accepting gay/lesbian members. The church that continues in ministry there is open and affirming. My sister learned this from one of their elders as they were making plans for the Great Communion service there on October 2.