July 25, 2007
BY SUSAN HOGAN
The Lutheran pastor soon to be bishop of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod wants his denomination to lift a celibacy requirement for gay and lesbian clergy.
"That's where I think the church is going," Bishop-elect Wayne Miller of Aurora said. "That's where I think it needs to go."
He's hoping the change will come next month in Chicago, where the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is conducting its churchwide assembly. Nearly a third of the denomination's 65 synods are asking for a policy shift in clergy standards.
Eventually, gay and lesbian clergy in monogamous, same-sex relationships could be allowed to serve.
John Roberts of Chicago also hopes it could lead to the reinstatement of gay clergy removed from ministry. He says he was ousted as pastor of a Michigan church in the 1990s after he confided to his bishop that he was gay.
"He gave me 11 days to leave the parish and not tell anyone," the 58-year-old Roberts said. "I still feel that call to pastoral ministry."
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