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Debate continues on human sexuality social statement, variety of other issues

As synod assemblies came to a close for 2009, 19 of the 32 reporting in by presstime had urged adoption of the “Social Statement on Human Sexuality” and 15 wanted the “Report and Recommendations on Ministry Policies” passed. (See July, "Synods sent human sexuality statement, other concerns to Churchwide Assembly," for results from previous assemblies.)

Participants at the East-Central Synod of Wisconsin assembly
Participants at the East-Central Synod of Wisconsin assembly in June listen to Kenneth Innskeep, executive for ELCA Research and Evaluation, who explained statistical trends that can help congregations and synods set ministry policies.

Seven called for resources that ministers and congregations might use to support gay and lesbian people in relationships of lifelong love and fidelity. And seven asked that provisions be made to reinstate to the roster gay and lesbian leaders if policy changes are made.

Nine synods asked that a two-thirds vote be required for any such changes.

Synods also asked that financial support be made available for resources in Braille, large print and audio, that an advisory committee be created to guide and support Lutheran Disaster Response, that there be a task force on suicide prevention and a social statement on disabilities.

Voting members urged continued activism in bringing peace to Israel and Palestine, called for immigration reform and pledged to end racism.


Southern Ohio Synod

May 20-22, Springfield, Ohio

• Forwarded to the Churchwide Assembly a social statement implementing resolution that encourages regulations permitting widows and widowers to marry without losing pension or Social Security benefits. The resolution requests resources for age-appropriate sexuality education; pastoral care to all sexual orientations and gender identities without the expectation for changing such orientation or identity; supporting same-gender couples and holding them accountable in love and fidelity.

• Asked that the recommendation for ministry policy not be approved.

• Urged rejection of the social statement in favor of current teaching documents.

• Encouraged support for those who are poor and hungry.

• Asked that financial support be provided for church resources to be created in Braille and large print.

• Became a Book of Faith synod.

Greater Milwaukee Synod
May 28-30, Waukesha, Wis.

• Requested a social statement on disabilities.

• Asked that the social statement on human sexuality and the recommendation on ministry policies be passed.

Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod
May 28-30, Sugar Land, Texas

• Urged its congregations to create justice teams and explore the biblical call to be doers of justice.

• Adopted, with one minor change, a “Core Statement for the Christian Community,” an ecumenical document related to welcoming immigrants and refugees.

• Declared the synod a “community of respect,” under the Anti-Defamation League’s “Coalition for Mutual Respect,” and asked its congregations to join in community ADL exchange programs.

• Asked the Churchwide Assembly to pass the social statement on human sexuality and the recommendations on ministry policies. Defeated two resolutions that would have asked for a two-thirds vote (rather than a majority) on changes to ministry policies.

Upstate New York Synod
May 29-30, Rochester, N.Y.

• Asked the church to provide support for ELCA resources in Braille, large print and audio.

• Asked for adoption of the sexuality social statement and the recommendation on ministry policies, and for the development of resources upholding same-gender relationships and that those precluded by previous policies be reinstated on the roster.

Indiana-Kentucky Synod
June 4-6, Fort Wayne, Ind.

• Urged the ELCA to reaffirm its commitment to peacemaking in the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict through implementation of Strategy for Engagement in Israel and Palestine.

• Voted to adopt the social statement on human sexuality and recommendation on ministry policies.

• Asked for a two-thirds vote on any changes in rostering policies.

East-Central Synod of Wisconsin
June 5-6, Green Bay, Wis.

• Asked that the Churchwide Assembly require a two-thirds vote on matters changing ministry policies.

Western North Dakota Synod
June 5-6, Williston, N.D.

• Adopted a 2010 fiscal plan that supports the ELCA and synod, including an increase in the minimum base salary for pastors.

• Decided against giving an additional 1 percent to World Hunger.

• Tabled resolutions to reject the human sexuality social statement and affirm current teaching documents on sexuality.

Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod
June 5-6, Reading, Pa.

• Asked the Churchwide Assembly to adopt the sexuality social statement and recommendations on ministry policies. Also requested resources supporting same-gender relationships and that gay and lesbian people be restored to the rosters if policies change.

Metropolitan Chicago Synod
June 5-6, Rosemont, Ill.

• Urged creation of an ELCA suicide prevention ministry task force.

• Asked for adoption of the social statement on human sexuality and the ministry policies. Also requested resources for congregations and pastors wanting to support same-gender relationships, and for procedures reinstating those precluded by previous policies.

Southwest California Synod
June 5-7, Thousand Oaks, Calif.

• Memorialized the Churchwide Assembly to adopt the human sexuality social statement and the ministry policies by a simple majority vote.

• Asked for a church-wide statement requesting that U.S. foreign aid to Columbia include more funding for social and economic assistance and less funding for military and police assistance.

• Decided to start training lay members to conduct communion when ordained people are not available.

Central States Synod
June 5-7, Lindsborg, Kan.

• Asked for adoption of the human sexuality social statement.

• Requested ways for congregations to recognize, support and hold publicly accountable people in same-gender relationships.

• Urged the ELCA to find ways for people in such relationships to serve as rostered leaders.

• Asked that the ELCA commit itself to “bear one another’s burdens, love the neighbor and respect the bound conscience of all.”

Virginia Synod

June 5-7, Salem, Va.

• Approved passage of the social statement on human sexuality.

• Voted to reject the policy recommendations and reaffirm current standards.

• Asked for a two-thirds vote on any motion coming before the Churchwide Assembly regarding rostering.

• Urged the ELCA to take necessary steps to abolish racism and develop a model of reconciliation.

• Requested support for a program making ELCA material available in Braille, large print and audio.

• Supported full communion with the United Methodist Church.

New Jersey Synod
June 4-6, East Brunswick, N.J.

• Resolved to take further steps to abolish racism and ask the ELCA to do the same.

• Urged passage of the human sexuality social statement, recommendation on ministry policies, and the development of resources to support same-gender relationships and policies to reinstate to the roster those precluded by previous policies.

• Urged church leaders and members to call on President Barack Obama and Congress for immigration reform and called on congregations to care for those most affected by anti-immigrant sentiment.

North Carolina Synod
June 4-6, Hickory, N.C.

• Urged passage of the social statement on human sexuality.

• Rejected a resolution supporting a two-thirds vote to decide changes in policy for ELCA rosters.

West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod
June 5-6, McHenry, Md.

• Asked the ELCA to seek consensus and clarity (and develop a teaching statement) regarding the theological foundations of the authority of Scripture, ecclesiology and sanctification.

• Called for the formation of an advisory committee for Lutheran Disaster Response.

Southeastern Synod
June 5-7, Atlanta

• Requested the creation of a suicide prevention task force.

• Urged the Churchwide Assembly to adopt the human sexuality social statement and the ministry policies. Also called for resources to support same-gender relationships and for procedures that expedite the reinstatement of those whose status was precluded by current policies.

• Endorsed efforts to pass legislation in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee giving teachers, parents and students anti-bullying authority.

Montana Synod
June 5-7, Great Falls, Mont.

• Asked the Churchwide Assembly to adopt the social statement on human sexuality and the ministry recommendations. In a separate, related resolution, resolved to proclaim grace of the Spirit and mutual regard among the ministries and people of the synod.

South-Central Synod of Wisconsin
June 6-7, Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

• Resolved to draw upon resources such as The Use of the Means of Grace in urging congregations to offer ongoing catechesis for families and children, and administer weekly communion and welcome to all to the table from the time of baptism.

• Asked for a one-year extension of the radio ministry “Grace Matters” while funding be explored, further input gathered and a review conducted on how the decision to cancel the ministry was made.

• Declared Reformation Sunday 2009 “God Says It Is Good Sunday” in the synod, urging each baptized member to give $1 that is designated for mission of the churchwide organization.

• Asked the Churchwide Assembly to call on the ELCA Board of Pensions to change its policies to justly support domestic partners by allowing them to opt out of health benefits, just as married participants do.

• Urged adoption of the social statement on human sexuality and the recommendation of ministry policies.

Grand Canyon Synod
June 11-13, Phoenix

• Urged passage of the social statement on human sexuality and the recommendations on ministry policies.

• Supported the ELCA’s “Peace Not Walls” campaign.

Lower Susquehanna Synod
June 11-13, Grantham, Pa.

• Asked for a two-thirds vote at the Churchwide Assembly on any matters of rostering policy.

• Urged the Churchwide Assembly to pass the human sexuality social statement.

• Asked that a churchwide advisory committee be created to craft a clear vision for Lutheran Disaster Response and affiliates.

• Directed the ELCA to review recent studies of factors inhibiting people of color from experiencing the fullness of leadership in the church, and develop action to address the factors.

Central-Southern Illinois Synod
June 11-13, Springfield, Ill.

• Asked for a two-thirds vote at the Churchwide Assembly on all matters pertaining to human sexuality.

Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod
June 11-13, Greenville, Pa.

• Requested a Lutheran Disaster Response advisory committee and national and local coordinated services in disaster response.

• Asked for a two-thirds majority to change ministry policies.

• Rejected recommendations on ministry policy changes in favor of current ELCA policy.

Southeastern Iowa Synod
June 12-13, Waverly, Iowa

• Urged support of the Tour de Revs, three pastors who are biking to raise money and awareness of hunger.

• Asked the Churchwide Assembly to pass the sexuality statement, the recommendation on ministry policies, and requested resources supporting same-gender relationships and for procedures to reinstate to the roster those precluded by previous policies.

Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod
June 18-20, Greenville, Pa.

• Expressed dismay to Augsburg Fortress Publishers and requested that all of the Lesser Festivals be restored to the Festival track (bulletin inserts).

• Called for a super majority to change ministry policies.

• Rejected the social statement on human sexuality in favor of current teaching documents.

• Decided to continue to work toward abolishing racism and experiencing the fullness of leadership in the ELCA.

• Asked for a clear vision for Lutheran Disaster Response.

Upper Susquehanna Synod
June 19-20, Selinsgrove, Pa.

• Asked the Churchwide Assembly to require a two-thirds vote regarding any rostering changes.

• Requested an advisory committee to Lutheran Disaster Response for guidelines and a national network regarding disasters.

Northern Illinois Synod
June 19-20, Rock Island, Ill.

• Called on the Churchwide Assembly to enact the recommendation on ministry policies and accept the sexuality statement.

• Voted for a two-thirds vote on any rostering policy changes.

• Encouraged support of Tour de Revs, pastors who are biking across the U.S. to raise money and awareness of hunger.

Slovak Zion Synod

June 26-27, Union, N.J.

• Endorsed a two-thirds vote on any changes in rostering policies.

• Asked the Churchwide Assembly to reaffirm current ELCA standards for pastors and other rostered leaders, “as expressed in ‘Vision and Expectations’ and ‘Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline.’ ”

Southwestern Minnesota Synod
June 12-14, St. Peter, Minn.

• Resolved to help promote the Lutheran Campus Ministry of Minnesota Mission Fund.

• Defeated a resolution to reject the social statement on human sexuality.

• Asked the Churchwide Assembly to reject the recommendations on ministry policies, but closely defeated requiring a two-thirds vote for any resolutions related to the report of the Task Force for ELCA Studies on Sexuality.

Sierra Pacific Synod
May 28-30, Fresno, Calif.

• Encouraged its congregations to join the Book of Faith initiative.

• Urged its congregations to give a minimum of $100 annually to support a seminarian’s tuition.

• Requested that the Churchwide Assembly adopt the social statement on human sexuality and the recommendations on ministry policies.

• Asked the Churchwide Assembly to also help amend policies to no longer preclude rostered leaders in gay and lesbian relationships, expect mutual fidelity and love in such relationships, and develop a process to reinstate gay and lesbian ministers.

• Memorialized the ELCA to allow the same benefits for same-gender partners and spouses, as currently available for heterosexual spouses, through the ELCA Board of Pensions.


Comments

ROLLIE

ROLLIE

Posted at 7:22 pm (U.S. Eastern) 7/28/2009

Comment spam removed.

Stephen Miller

Stephen Miller

Posted at 6:17 pm (U.S. Eastern) 7/29/2009

Well, I see that all the synods have pretty much bought into Satan's lie that God creates homosexuals as part of His good creation, and they have no choice about their "sexual orientation" or "gender preference".  I know it is a lie from Satan, because the Bible says the complete opposite.

The Lutheran Church is going the way of the Episcopalians and is tossing the Bible out the window.

Matthew 15:7,8,9

Jesus said, "You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.  BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME,
TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.

 2Timothy 4:3

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires...

I am very saddened to say that when the antichrist comes, he will probably attend a Lutheran Church.

Michael D. Krupa

Michael D. Krupa

Posted at 11:04 am (U.S. Eastern) 7/30/2009

God made us male & female.  Our bodies "fit" only if it's a man & a woman.  Psychology has found that children do better when there's a father & a mother in the house (given the marriage relationship is in decent shape  -  yes, I know), & Jesus, when talking about divorce, reiterated Genesis ("that is why a man shall leave his mother & a woman leave her home ... ").  So how can anyone say that it's OK for same-gender relationships??!!??!  I am deeply saddened by this ELCA move, along with [tacet] support of partial-birth abortions, etc.  I left the Roman Catholic Church, following 4 years of college seminary because they rate traditions equal to Scripture.  Now, I'll ned to think of where to go for litugy of Word & Sacrament & 'slol scriptorum'.  God be with the ELCA Bishop Hansen & the rest.  Blessings. Peace in Him, Michael Krupa, No. IL Synod

David Pross

David Pross

Posted at 11:27 pm (U.S. Eastern) 8/2/2009

What I really loathe about this whole issue is how Lutherans Concerned, Goodsoil and their allies have such tunnel vision - the only thing that matters is overturning V&E!

It does not seem to occur to them that there may well be not much left of the ELCA after the dust settles on this. 

Donald Bohlken

Donald Bohlken

Posted at 10:14 am (U.S. Eastern) 8/23/2009

Based on the General Assembly's action approving of homosexual "monogamous" pastors, it appears the ELCA is infected with moral blindness.

Homosexual conduct is condemned as sin in both the Old and New Testaments.  Unrepentant homosexuals shall not inherit  the kingdom of God. 1 Corrinthians 6 v. 9, 10.  Yet, those who repent and ask for forgiveness, based on the suffering, death and resurrection  of Jesus Christ, may enter that Kingdom.See id. at 11.

By this act, the General Assembly  assists homosexuals on a pathway to hell, as opposed to a pathway to eternal life.  When you lie to a sinner and tell him or her that his sin is not sin, but is morally acceptable and approved conduct, even by the ministers of the congregations, why should he or she repent?  The example set by the General Assembly tells sinners that they do not need to repent of this sin or seek forgiveness.  Consequently, they will not do so and face eternal damnation as opposed to eternal life.

 And, what are the eternal consequences for us, for misleading sinners and leading them to that pathway of destruction? "Thou shalt not bear false witness" obviously applies to knowingly false representations of the Word of God as it does to any other lie.  

People who oppose homosexual conduct are falsely  said to be "homophobic", an epithet derived from a term describing a rare psychiatric disorder involving abnormal hatred or fear of homosexuals.  But wouldn't the true homophobe approve of the General Assembly's action as it supports a pathway to their eternal destruction?  

Janette L. Bassette

Janette L. Bassette

Posted at 6:17 pm (U.S. Eastern) 8/25/2009

As a brand new ELCA pastor's wife I am very much saddened that the General Assembly passed a social act that is against what is clearly stated in the Bible. I pray we, the remnant, can take back our church. If we can not, how can we stay ELCA Lutheran?  If we are to adopt sin as ok, where will it end?

Dave

Dave

Posted at 7:54 pm (U.S. Eastern) 8/25/2009

A sad day For ELCA:  How can the church justify men having sexual practices with other men, or women with women?  it is a very unhealthy as well as an imoral practice.  It makes ones heart very sad to even think about it, we as christians would do well to pray for these people. one should never be turned away, but counceled as to the way of truth, according to God's Law.  I for one will meditate and pray as to where I will go

Christine

Christine

Posted at 10:02 pm (U.S. Eastern) 8/25/2009

This is a very sad day for the ELCA.  I stopped attending my ELCA church in May when I learned that the unrepentent baby butcher George Tiller was a member in good standing of an ELCA congregation.  My pastor couldn't understand why I had a problem with that.  I don't want to be associated with a church that approves of abortion and sodomy because I'll have to answer to God for it.  When a church condones what God has clearly condemned in scripture, it's totally apostate and nothing more than a Sunday morning social club.  Pastors are called upon to feed their sheep, not lead them to destruction.  What will the ELCA be voting on at their next general assembly?  Bestiality?  We can't take back this denomination.  Let the unregenerate have their "church."  Join the Missouri Synod or Wisconsin Synod.              



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