It's a "rocky time" in the ELCA largely because of responses to decisions on sexuality issues by the 2009 Churchwide Assembly and economic stresses, ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson told the Conference of Bishops meeting in early October in Chicago.
Hanson said there are ELCA members who disagree with the sexuality decisions and wonder if they will be able to find "a place to stand with integrity and safety." They also want to preach and teach in accordance with their biblical convictions and not be "demonized or stigmatized," he said, calling for members to engage in "respectful, charitable, honest conversation."
Because of current economic conditions and uncertainty about mission support funds, the churchwide organization will continue a partial hiring freeze and underspend its budget by 5 percent "if necessary," he said. Hanson said a revised spending plan for 2010 will be presented at the Church Council's November meeting.
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