Representatives of Middle Eastern Anglican, Lutheran and Reformed churches have voted unanimously in favor of the ordination of women as pastors. “This is historic,” said Jerusalem Lutheran Bishop Munib Younan after the January 12 decision of the Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches meeting in Harissa, Lebanon.
Since becoming the first lesbian to be elected a bishop in the Epis copal Church, Mary Glasspool has been hailed as a gay rights pioneer and maligned as the straw that will finally break the back of the Anglican Com munion.
Leaders of the (Anglican) Church of England have warned the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden that if it agrees to expand the concept of marriage to include same-sex couples, it risks creating “immediate and negative” consequences for ecumenical relations.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has suggested that the Episcopal Church may have to accept a secondary role in the Anglican Communion after voting to allow the ordination of gay bishops and blessings for same-sex unions.
Only days after Archbishop Rowan Williams of the worldwide Anglican Communion cautioned Episcopalians against making decisions “that could push us further apart,” delegates at their July 8-17 convention in California voted—swiftly and by a large majority—to open the doors for gay and lesbian bishops.
“The Church’s Unfinished Sexual Revolution” was the title of an article in the spring 2006 issue of Yale Divinity School’s Reflections magazine. In it longtime Christian ethicist James B. Nelson described some progress in church thinking about sexual ethics, but contended that the church’s agenda on sexuality remains “confusing, unsettled, unfinished.”
At the last biennial Presbyterian General Assembly, many gay-rights supporters along with many conservatives weary of decades-old fights approved a delicate compromise that kept the ordination standards of “chastity and fidelity” but allowed presbyteries to approve otherwise qualified gay and lesbian clergy candidates who morally objected to the rules.
Presbyterians in Minneapolis–St. Paul have voted to restore the ordination of an openly gay man who has refused to pledge celibacy, in the latest test of revamped pastoral guidelines in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
As I was growing up, the church was my one constant in a changing world. I was six months old when my father, a foreign correspondent with United Press International, was called to cover the story that would dominate the next decade, the Vietnam War.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approved in 2006 a procedure for ordaining gay and lesbian candidates for ministry, but the first step in that direction was not taken until a San Francisco regional body did so last month.