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.
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