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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Anderson: 'We need patience'

In his assembly report, Presiding Bishop H. George Anderson pulled no punches regarding two issues the ELCA hasn't yet resolved. "One of the things we will need in this assembly is patience with each other," he said, referring to the full communion agreement with the Episcopal Church and to policies regarding gay and lesbian members within the church.

"I well understand the feelings of many" who see changes in our agreement with the Episcopal Church as a "unilateral change," he said. "I'm not comfortable about making unilateral changes, especially when Episcopal leaders have expressed dismay at such a move. Nevertheless ... the proposal of the Conference of Bishops that we allow for pastoral judgment in this matter is both consistent with our understanding of ministry and necessary for the support of a united mission within this church."

Speaking to gay and lesbian issues, Anderson said: "Some of those who believe the present policy is correct accuse the other side of rejecting clear biblical teaching. Some of those who want to change our present policy accuse the other side of failing to be as loving as Jesus. We need to challenge and be challenged until a broader consensus, informed by both Scripture and reason, emerges."

The assembly awarded Anderson the Servus Dei Medal, which honors retiring ELCA officers. Treasurer Richard McAuliffe, who's stepping down in 2002, also received the medal.


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