The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America - a full communion partner with the United Church of Christ - held their Church-wide Assembly this week and among their decisions was one related to gay and lesbian clergy. NPR reports:
A national assembly of Evangelical Lutherans urged its bishops Saturday to refrain from defrocking gay and lesbian ministers who violate a celibacy rule, but rejected measures that would have permitted ordaining gays churchwide.
Still, advocates for full inclusion of gays were encouraged, calling the resolution a powerful statement in support of clergy with same-gender partners.
This will be the story that makes all the headlines but there were other important decisions as well - including the adoption of a new statement on the Iraq War:
CHICAGO (ELCA) - The highest legislative assembly of the 4.8 million member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America declared its opposition to "any escalation of the war" in Iraq and called upon the U.S. government to "take immediate and comprehensive steps to end the violence and establish a peaceful, stable, and just society in that country."
The resolution, passed with no discussion and by a vote of 874 to 78, also urged Lutherans to engage in "moral deliberation about the situation in Iraq and the policies and actions of the government of the United States of America in relation to them" and urged expanded concern for military personnel and their families. Lutherans should also make their views known to members of Congress, the resolution said.
The churchwide assembly, the chief legislative authority of the ELCA, is meeting here Aug. 6-11 at Navy Pier's Festival Hall. About 2,000 people are participating, including 1,071 ELCA voting members.
Click here for information on other issues the ELCA considered.