The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America announced in mid-November that some 40 full-time jobs, of which six were vacant, will be eliminated in order to stay within a budget reduced by nearly $7.7 million. The program and staff reductions reflected the struggling U.S.
With embraces, hymns and common prayer, Catholic, Lutheran and Methodist leaders recalled joyfully the pact made a decade ago that ended a centuries-old division over a key church doctrine. Vows were made at a Chicago service to seek greater unity—even as a Catholic archbishop noted a new challenge to unity posed by diverging views on sexuality.
A group of Lutherans upset over the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s recent decision to allow qualified noncelibate gays to serve as clergy voted to create a freestanding synod and to study for a year whether to leave the denomination.
Leave it to Lutherans to address the issue of gay clergy with repeated references to a “bound conscience.” The term echoes the words of Martin Luther, who when he was put on trial for his critique of the Catholic Church declared that he would not recant, for he was “bound in conscience by the word of God.”
Though they’re not merging, the nation’s two largest mainline Protestant denominations have agreed to share ministers and resources. The full-communion agreement, which was approved at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s biennial assembly in Minneapolis, connects the 4.6 million–member ELCA with the United Methodist Church, which has 11 million members.
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 Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America both have slashed their 2009 budgets, cutting programs and laying off scores of personnel as denominations continue to suffer from the recession.
Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have joined African religious leaders in publicly undergoing testing to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS and to end a legacy of church stigma and silence on the subject. “We in the U.S.
A blue-ribbon panel has recommended that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America lift its ban on partnered gay and lesbian clergy, but only after the church agrees in principle on gay relationships and agrees to respect the consciences of those who dissent.
The president of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod expressed “great disappointment and deep sadness” over recommendations before the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to ordain partnered gay and lesbian ministers.