The bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, meeting in early March, acknowledged that they were too divided to offer “a definitive word of advice” on a recommendation that regional synods restrain from disciplining churches that ordain gay clergy.
If this summer’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in America convention follows the advice of a sexuality task force to selectively permit ordination of homosexual pastors without fear of church discipline, the denomination will suffer “structural dissolution” and, at the local level, “intense division and disunity,” contends a group of influential Lutheran theologians and clergy.
Augsburg Fortress, the Minneapolis-based publishing ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), announced in January that it is eliminating 24 staff positions, discontinuing product lines and consolidating select overhead costs. The decision means the company will focus on “core ministry resources for the ELCA and the wider Christian community,” its news release said.
After nearly four years—some say 15 years—of discussion the largest U.S. Lutheran denomination will soon hear if it has some practical and moral wisdom for dealing with homosexual issues that have divided other mainline church bodies for decades.
ELCA's Hanson urges attention to environment, health care and poverty
Oct 19, 2004
Although terrorism looms large for White House candidates, the presiding bishop of the nation’s largestLutheran denomination has urged President George W. Bush and Democratic challenger Senator John F. Kerry also to address other concerns such as HIV/AIDS, the environment, affordable housing and health care, and the growing gap between the wealthy and the impoverished.
The nation’s largest Lutheran denomination, above the 5 million mark in baptized membership since the merger of three Lutheran bodies in 1987, slipped swiftly below that in the past two years—sharply punctuating losses experienced by most mainline Protestants in recent times.
A Texas jury has awarded nearly $37 million to nine victims who accused a Lutheran governing body of hiding the history of a pastor later convicted of child abuse. The nine plaintiffs said former Lutheran Bishop Mark Herbener and his assistant Earl Eliason should have warned Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Marshall, Texas, about allegations involving former pastor Gerald Thomas.
This was to be a relatively calm year for Mark S. Hanson, the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The ELCA has not experienced nearly the angst over homosexual issues that Episcopalians, Methodists and Presbyterians have.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has reached a settlement with 14 people who filed civil charges against a former pastor in Texas who has been convicted of use of child pornography and sexual abuse of children.