“We stand in opposition to the ELCA's policy against sexual minority clergy," reads an open letter to the ELCA from 20 campus pastors (one retired). "We understand fully the difficulties that emerge when members of the ELCA attempt to discuss this subject. Yet, we cannot remain silent."
The ELCA Division for Higher Education and Schools board "acknowledged" the letter at its Sept. 15-17 meeting. The board also acknowledged receipt of a pledge, signed by 29 pastors and one associate in ministry, that urged the ELCA to ordain and roster "faithful, gifted lesbian and gay candidates who are living in committed relationships or who hope to live in such relationships."
The board committed itself to "serious discussion" of issues related to the ordination of "sexual minority" people. It will also gather information on practices of ELCA colleges, schools and campus ministries that relate to "sexual minorities"--an expression the board did not define.
In other action, the board:
* Requested that the Church Council approve new criteria for ELCA-affiliated schools, allowing them to be co-sponsored by churches from the ELCA's full-communion partners.
* Approved continued funding for annual conferences that explore what it means to be a Lutheran college or university.
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