James M. Childs Jr., 62, was named director of the ELCA study on sexuality, effective Feb. 1. The ELCA pastor is on leave from Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio, where he is the Joseph A. Sittler professor of theology and ethics and director of academic development.
Mandated by the 2001 Churchwide Assembly, the sexuality study and a social statement on human sexuality will help the church answer questions about same-sex relationships and the possibility of ordination of homosexual clergy in same-sex relationships.
The four-year study is "of critical importance," Childs said. "There is a great deal at stake for our witness to the gospel, our understanding of authority, our capacity for moral deliberation and our care for one another in maintaining 'the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,' " he added, citing Ephesians 4:3.
"I want to assure the church that these study processes will be attentive to God's word, open, fair, rigorous, and as representative and participatory as possible," he said. "I pray we shall all be one in constant prayer and one in trusting our Lord's promise of the Counselor, who will provide us with the guidance and strength we need to be faithful in seeking to discern the will of God."
Childs has degrees from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; Union Seminary, New York; and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.
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