When Vice President Al Gore picked Joseph Lieberman as his running mate, it was the first-ever selection for a national ticket of a Jewish nominee—and a practicing Orthodox Jew at that. Though in decades past the decision might have been viewed as highly risky, choosing Lieberman was seen quickly as a “plus” for the Democrats.
When Robert Edgar of the National Council of Churches suddenly told the NCC’s General Assembly that he was removing his name from an evangelical-mainline-Catholic statement on marriage, it appeared he knocked a leg off the much-discussed wider ecumenical table he was in the process of building.
Seizing the blessings of a rising stock market and unexpectedly plentiful reserve funds, the United Methodist General Conference approved millions of dollars for innovative programs serving overseas churches, ethnic groups in the U.S., young people, older adults, urban needs, ministries to the deaf, and even the production of cable TV spots to attract new members.
When United Methodist delegates take their seats at the church’s May 2-12 General Conference in Cleveland, they’ll be facing decisions on 2,500 or more pieces of legislation, including a far-reaching proposal to restructure the denomination.
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.
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.