On the face of it, the nation’s largest Lutheran church didn’t budge on issues of homosexuality. Though aware that some same-sex couples receive blessings from pastors and that some openly gay or lesbian pastors are ordained, delegates to the biennial assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, held in Orlando, declined to authorize either practice, even on a provisional basis.
The leadership of the church had proposed a lenient approach on these issues to the 1,015 delegates at the August 8-14 Churchwide Assembly, meeting a few miles from Florida’s Disney World. Too few delegates agreed, so the status quo prevails in the 4.9-million-member denomination.
Yet advocates of change saw both momentum and time on their side, and were relieved that delegates rejected taking stricter stances on homosexuality. There were also indications that irregular same-sex blessings were likely to continue.