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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Church Council revises ministry policies

At its April meeting, the ELCA Church Council revised ministry policy documents to allow congregations to call clergy and others on the roster in committed same-sex relationships, and to recognize the "bound conscience" of those who believe the ELCA shouldn't allow such leaders to serve.

While the council's action wasn't unanimous, it was overwhelming. The changes were mandated by the 2009 Churchwide Assembly, which also adopted a human sexuality social statement.

The four revised documents — "Vision and Expectations: Ordained Ministers in the ELCA," "Vision and Expectations: Associates in Ministry, Deaconesses and Diaconal Ministers in the ELCA," "Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline" and the "ELCA Candidacy Manual" — provide behavioral expectations, guide the discipline of rostered leaders and assist candidacy committees in their work.

Among the revisions were additions of sections in "Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline" on issues such as integrity, substance abuse and addiction. (See the revised documents at the ELCA Web site.)


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