Lutheran Southern Seminary, Columbia, S.C., recently withdrew an invitation to a gay ELCA pastor in a committed relationship because of her noncompliance with ELCA policy for ordained ministers.
Katrina Foster, a 1994 graduate of Southern and pastor of Fordham Lutheran Church, Bronx, N.Y., was asked to preach at the seminary’s weekly chapel service, sit in on classes, and meet with students and faculty. But the day before she was to preach, the school rescinded its invitation because she defies the ELCA’s “Vision and Expectations,” which states: “Ordained ministers who are homosexual in their self-understanding are expected to abstain from homosexual sexual relationships.”
Emily Eastwood, executive director of Lutherans Concerned/North America, a group working for inclusion, said, “In an environment of dwindling membership numbers, reduced benevolent giving and shrinking numbers of congregations, you would have thought that someone like Foster—a rostered pastor in a growing congregation with increasing ministries—would be someone an institution would want its students to meet.”
Marcus Miller, seminary president, said, “When it came to my attention that Pastor Foster is not in compliance with ‘Vision and Expectations’ of the ELCA, I asked that her invitation to preach be withdrawn. Southern Seminary ... is called to order its common life consistent with all the expectations of the church, including those stated in ‘Vision and Expectations.’ ”
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