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.
Saying that “we believe there is no path to military victory in Afghanistan,” at least 77 United Methodist bishops signed a letter sent November 10 to President Obama, saying they are praying he will withdraw American troops by the end of 2010.
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.
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.
United Methodists in the U.S. have defeated amendments that would have made church membership open to all Christians regardless of sexual orientation and that would have moved toward allowing the U.S. church to address issues independent of the global United Methodist body.
Bishops in the United Methodist Church have voted themselves a pay cut after “recognizing the financial challenges facing the church.”
The UMC’s 50 active U.S. bishops voted to give up their planned pay raises for next year and instead reduce their salaries to the 2008 level, dropping their annual pay from $125,650 to $121,000, according to United Methodist News Service.
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.
A new position to coordinate efforts against institutional sexism and sexual misconduct in the United Methodist Church has been handed to a man by the denomination’s Commission on the Status and Role of Women. Darryl Stephens, a deacon and a visiting assistant professor of Christian social ethics at the UMC-related Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, will start full-time on April 27.
The United Methodist Church, like other mainline denominations, is steadily losing members. Yet it has some large, thriving congregations, and about 100 of its churches draw more than 1,200 people on a typical weekend.