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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Appeal sustains Sabin removal

The ELCA Committee on Appeals upheld the February ruling of a disciplinary hearing to remove Steven P. Sabin, Ames, Iowa, from the ELCA clergy roster. The removal was effective Sept. 28 and cannot be appealed.

Sabin, who is gay and lives with a partner, had been pastor of Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Ames. The committee voted 11-1 to sustain the disciplinary hearing's decision.

Sabin primarily appealed his removal on the basis that his due process rights had been violated because of "fundamental flaws" in the church's discipline process or because of specific occurrences during his hearing. He also alleged no evidence existed to support the findings and that both the hearing and the appeals committee should reject the church's policy of precluding practicing homosexuals from its ordained ministry.

Philip L. Hougen, bishop of the Southeastern Iowa Synod, said he will meet with the Lord of Life congregation to provide pastoral services for them. He also said he will work with Sabin "in defining ways for him to continue to be involved in the life of the ELCA."


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