iab-728x90

The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

iab-728x90

Seminary invitation withdrawn

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 But the day before she was to preach, the school rescinded its invitation because she defies the ELCA’s “Vision and Expectations,” which states: “Ordained ministers who are homosexual in their self-understanding are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Pastor Foster is not in compliance with ‘Vision and Expectations’ of the ELCA, I asked that her invitation to preach be withdrawn.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.’ ”


Comments

robert

robert

Posted at 1:31 pm (U.S. Eastern) 10/27/2008

Emily Eastwood's commnet makes me wonder if she knows what the church really is called to be.

Dave

Dave

Posted at 7:06 pm (U.S. Eastern) 10/28/2008

Here we go again.  gay and or homosexual persons or what ever they wish to call themselves?  that are seemingly participating in un-natural acts with their sexual activitys, of which I  personally would not do. But who am I to judge those persons?  Nor is anyone else, If one thinks that these acts are not accordingly living up to ones expectations, then one might quietly retire to ones room and pray for them and reflect on ones own ideas and ideals. I don't flaunt my personal life around with anyone, and neither should they, them, you, or I.  Maybe it is about time the Church spend more time with the Lord, then to keep focusing on matters, that does not concern anyone but the person or persons themselves.  Lord God please save our Church, and the ones that truly love you, Amen.                                                                 Blessings, Big Dave                                                                          dticesr@gmail.com

 

Margaret

Margaret

Posted at 7:54 pm (U.S. Eastern) 10/29/2008

How did Pastor Foster become rostered?  Every candidate for ordination knows Visions and Expectations.  Did she deliberately lie when she made her ordination promises, or did the Bishop omit that part of the ordination cerremony?  If she intended to violate this promise from the beginning, she certainly became a pastor under false pretenses.  If the Bishop does not deal with this situation, then he is violating the promises he made when he became a bishop.  At least President Miller had the integrity that the others lacked.

Adam Bost

Adam Bost

Posted at 6:09 pm (U.S. Eastern) 11/12/2008

The real point of this is that President Miller is NOT a bishop (although he used to be) and is not Pastor Foster's bishop. Meaning, he has no authority to judge if Pastor Foster is in compliance with V&E or not, only her bishop and synod does. So, if that is his only reason for doing this, then he is stepping outside his authority as the president of an ELCA seminary.

-Adam Bost, 2006 Southern Seminary Graduate

 

Margaret

Margaret

Posted at 7:07 pm (U.S. Eastern) 11/13/2008

One does not have to be a bishop to know that a pastor living in an openly same-sex relationship is in violation of Visions and Expectations.  One needs only be able to read, as Visions and Expectations is available to anyone who is interested.

Justin

Justin

Posted at 10:53 am (U.S. Eastern) 11/21/2008

Is this where the church is headed?  Are we going to start denying people entrance into our churches because of who they are and what type of sexual orientation they are?

To me, this is disgusting and wrong.  To deny someone to come to an ELCA building is just wrong.

This isn't about her.  This is about who we welcome in our midst as Christians.  Would Jesus turn someone away like that?

Also, to hold Visions and Expectations as the reason is a joke.  Has he walked in the dorm of the seminary?  I am sure it has been violated once or twice by straight folks.  Is he ready to throw them out as well.  What a joke.

It makes me sick. 

Lisa

Lisa

Posted at 12:56 am (U.S. Eastern) 11/21/2008

As I understand it, we are to welcome everyone, lovingly, into our midst, including homosexuals.  We have all sinned, and have fallen short of the glory of God.  Each and every one of us are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves.  Fortunately we are saved by grace through faith and we are therefore called to share God's love and show mercy.

But as unfair as it may seem, our rostered leaders ARE held to a higher standard.  If an individual has read, and understood the terms of the V&E at the time of ordination, and has promised to live up to that standard, then they are expected to live up to it.  Sorry, but them's the rules until the Nat Assembly changes it. 

In any event, I do think it was bad form for Southern to rescind its invitation.  If the seminary really strives for moral integrity, it could have done a more thorough background check on its invitee before risking the embarrassment of having to cancel the invitation.  But if Southern really has a more liberal position in its heart, it could have proceeded with the invitation.  For example, if the ELCA at large is striving for inclusion then I think that Southern missed out on a tremendous opportunity toward that agenda.

Jason

Jason

Posted at 10:25 pm (U.S. Eastern) 11/23/2008

I painfully sat through the debates of the last National Assembly. The rules are the rules. This pastor is clearly in defiance of those rules. Unfortunately our assembly said we know these rules are there, but the Bishop's should ignore this rule. So this Pastor cannot be removed without a huge upheaval in the ELCA. That decision, in my mind was just dumb. I don’t understand why we voted a majority to keep the rule as is, but people don’t want to support our Bishops in upholding that rule. That is a discussion for another day I suppose.

President Miller made a hard decision and a good one. All clergy in the ELCA are subject to visions and expectations. Don't get mad at the punishment; get mad at the rule.

Melissa

Melissa

Posted at 10:42 pm (U.S. Eastern) 12/3/2008

As I understand it she was not denied entrance into an ELCA building, although the article does not make this explicit. She came to the seminary, still met with students, but her invitation to preach was rescinded.

Sarah

Sarah

Posted at 2:07 am (U.S. Eastern) 5/5/2009

I am wondering, did Pres. Miller check to see if Foster's was fiscally responsible? (V & E 12)  Did he consult her self-care practices? (V & E 12)  Did he check to see if she was actively persuing continuing education? (V & E 12)  Or engaged in daily prayer? (V & E 11)  Did he question her on her practices of hospitality? (V & E 14)  Or on her understanding of the Confessions of Faith? (V & E 7)  Why is it that V & E is only inforced around the issue of homosexuality?  If Pres. Miller has questioned about the above and is willing to remove a preacher from the pulpit for them, than perhaps he made an ethically consistent decision.  If not prehaps he should question his motives for enforcing this over and against all other components of V & E's expectations for mission and ministry. 

John

John

Posted at 4:42 pm (U.S. Eastern) 12/27/2009

The rules must be enforced as written, or modified to reflect a change in standards. A minister is supposed to be an example for the congregation and if that minister doesn't meet that standard, should never have been rostered to begin with. I wonder what effect she has on the youth of her church who are struggling with their own identity, when their Pastor shows open defiance by being a lesbian and teaching the youth to follow the teachings of the Bible? I, as a parent would not appreciate anyone, Minister or a school teacher being openly gay, then trying to tell my child right from wrong.



Print subscribers and supporting Web members may comment.

Log in or Subscribe to comment.

text size:

this page: email | print

iab-728x90
April issue

APRIL issue:

Faith traditions

More...