The United Methodist bishop of Philadelphia plans to appeal the case of a lesbian minister who was reinstated last month after she was initially defrocked for violating a church ban on “self-avowed practicing” gay clergy.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s high-ranking church council has prepared a proposal to the churchwide assembly in August that would give bishops the final authority to let congregations ordain gay and lesbian clergy who are in committed same-sex relationships.
Leaders of the Scottish Episcopal Church have added fuel to a controversy dividing the worldwide Anglican Communion by declaring that in their church practicing homosexuals are not barred from becoming priests.
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.
A United Methodist pastor who was defrocked because she is living in a lesbian relationship said she will appeal the verdict, in part to force the church to confront its deep divisions over homosexuality.