The ELCA Northeastern Iowa Synod council backtracked in January, rescinding two resolutions it adopted in November repudiating 2009 Churchwide Assembly decisions related to sexuality.
The decision to rescind was made "after extensive and open conversation," wrote Susan Armstrong, synod vice president, in a Feb. 1 letter to the synod.
Rescinded by a 10-3 vote with one abstention, a resolution on "bound conscience" had said ELCA policies barring congregations from calling noncelibate gay or lesbian ministers would "remain in effect" for the synod. The council had encouraged leaders to continue the ban until the synod could put the matter to a vote at its June assembly.
The second resolution was rescinded by a 9-4 vote, with one abstention. It dealt with the 2009 Churchwide Assembly's adoption of a human sexuality social statement and its vote to allow congregations — if they choose — to call a minister in a committed same-sex relationship.
Those decisions were "violations of the Confession of Faith, Chapter 2 of the ELCA Constitution," the resolution said, asking the ELCA Church Council to "repudiate" and work to overturn them.
Armstrong wrote that some thought the council had placed itself "as a higher authority than the local congregation" or the Churchwide Assembly. In some cases, she noted, the action was misinterpreted as a synod vote to leave the ELCA. "Nothing could be further from the truth," she wrote.
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