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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Been there in Germany

Churches work through disagreements

It all feels like déjà vu — the assembly, the decisions on sexuality, the ensuing tension and nervousness. Seven years ago my home synod, the Evangelical Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN) in Germany went through a similar process.

In December 2002, the EKHN assembly approved the blessing of publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships. Just like the ELCA, discussion preceded this decision for about 20 years. And just like the ELCA , there was still no unity.

The EKHN asked everyone to respect each others' bound conscience. To perform a same-sex blessing in a church still requires the acceptance of the congregation, while pastors are bound to follow their own conscience. Within the EKHN (the area around Frankfurt) there are places such unions aren't acceptable and areas where they are — the church has lived with these tensions and not fallen apart.


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