On Jan. 15, Peter Rogness, bishop of the St. Paul Area Synod, lifted sanctions — but retained official admonitions — imposed by his predecessor on two of its congregations.
It was St. Paul-Reformation's 2000 decision to call as a pastor Anita Hill, a lesbian in a committed relationship, that prompted its censure. Hosanna! was censured for commissioning and licensing parishioners to function as full pastors.
The reasons were disparate for the sanctions imposed by Mark S. Hanson, former synod bishop, on Hosanna! (Lakeville, Minn.) and St. Paul-Reformation (St. Paul, Minn.) Lutheran churches — but the results were the same. Neither lay people nor clergy from either congregation were allowed to serve on the synod council or on any synod committee or team. The sanctions were expected to remain in place until the congregations conformed to ELCA constitutional requirements or the ELCA changed those conditions.
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