With a quietness that belied the gravity of the moment, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America dropped two congregations from its roster at a tick past midnight on Jan. 1.
First United and St. Francis' congregations in San Francisco had special prayers during services on Dec. 31 and a visit from their synod bishop. Each pledged to retain contact even though official ties ended (see page 34).
The expulsion was the result of a 1990 disciplinary panel that suspended the congregations for five years. Both were unanimously found guilty of ordaining people not approved for ordination by the ELCA. The decision to suspend the congregations was a 6-5 vote.
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