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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Responses to human sexuality study lag

Fewer congregations than expected have taken up the study aimed at helping the ELCA develop a social statement on human sexuality to be presented to the 2009 Churchwide Assembly. But Roger A. Willer, director for studies with Church in Society, which will draft the proposed statement, said the number of congregations reporting the results of their discussions seems to be increasing rapidly.

“They only dribbled in at the beginning,” he said. But by early summer as many as 10 or 12 congregational responses a day were coming in. At presstime in early July, 132 responses had been received. That’s fewer than came in to the first study, according to Church in Society, and far fewer than the 28,000 received for the second study, which focused on homosexuality. Deadline for responses is Nov. 1.

“Free in Christ to Serve the Neighbor: Lutherans Talk about Human Sexuality” is the name of the study materials to guide congregational discussion. Issued last December, it’s the third in the series “ELCA Studies on Sexuality: Journey Together Faithfully” developed in response to the 2001 Churchwide Assembly mandate.

The task force drafting the human sexuality statement will consider all responses from congregations. In addition to feedback from congregations, others contributing comments include bishops, ELCA Church Council members, other church leaders and lay people who have spoken about their experiences and perspectives with members of the task force.


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