Both parties in a discipline case in the ELCA filed appeals with the denomination’s Committee on Appeals, according to the ELCA Office of the Secretary. Bradley Schmeling, pastor of St. John Lutheran Church, Atlanta, filed his appeal March 6. Ronald Warren, bishop of the Southeastern Synod, Atlanta, appealed March 8.
Both were parties in a formal discipline hearing Jan. 18-24 in Atlanta. Warren filed charges in 2006 after Schmeling told him he was in a committed relationship with another man, a violation of the ELCA’s clergy standards.
Seven members of the 12-member discipline hearing committee voted Feb. 7 to remove Schmeling from the ELCA clergy roster effective Aug. 15 (April, "Mixed ruling on openly gay pastor").
In addition, the committee’s written opinion made recommendations for changes in ELCA clergy standards and suggested that synod assemblies ask the 2007 Churchwide Assembly to consider proposals for change.
For the appeal, written responses and rebuttals may be filed by both parties. Once the final statement is submitted, the 12-member committee has 60 days to render a decision in writing. The decision of the appeals committee is final.
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