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Censure against Missouri congregation lifted

Anita Hill cleared for clergy roster


For nearly 10 years members of Abiding Peace Lutheran Church in North Kansas City, Mo., worshiped under public censure and admonition for hiring a pastor in a committed same-sex relationship. In January, the censure was lifted.

"It's an amazing feeling," said Donna Simon, who has served as pastor since August 2000. "Now there's reconciliation, and we're part of the [church] that we've loved for so long. The lifting of the censure touched us emotionally."

Simon said when she accepted the call to serve the congregation, "we entered into uncharted territory."

Gerald L. Mansholt, bishop of the Central States Synod, said Simon has through the years "been a good steady voice, a good partner in the struggle and she has the respect of a lot of people with different views. She is a generous soul with a kind heart who speaks the truth out of her own faith-life experiences."

In a Jan. 25 letter to the congregation, Mansholt formally lifted the public censure and admonition.

 
Elsewhere, the candidacy committee of the St. Paul Area Synod in February supported Anita Hill for inclusion to the ELCA clergy roster. She has served St. Paul Reformation Lutheran Church, St. Paul, Minn., for nine years as pastor and for 14 years prior as lay pastoral minister.
 
The panel asked that Hill be added to the clergy roster upon the implementation of the Vision and Expectations policy changes approved by the Churchwide Assembly. (See also "Sexuality issue causes division, sadness — and hope.")

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