Study process aided ELCA gay breakthrough

Third denomination to accept gay clergy
Close on the heels of a similar decision by the Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America lifted its ban on calling gay and lesbian pastors and approved of supporting committed, same-sex relationships of church members.

The 4.6-million-member ELCA, holding its weeklong Churchwide Assembly in Minneapolis in late August, thus became the third mainline denomination to accept gay clergy and develop ways to bless same-sex partners. The United Church of Christ adopted these inclusive policies years ago; the Episcopal Church declared all forms of ministry open to gays at its July convention in California.

That the ELCA could reach this point before the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the United Methodist Church, which have had high-profile fights over homosexuality since the 1970s, was hinted at in findings published in journals in 2007 and 2008 by sociologist Wendy Cadge of Brandeis University.

 

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