FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) decided to encourage its bishops to refrain from or demonstrate restraint in the discipline of rostered ministers in committed same-gender relationships. While the assembly deferred outright elimination of its policy that prohibits LGBT ministers from living in loving, lifelong family relations with their life partner, asked the church to prepare for such decision at its next assembly in 2009.
Emily Eastwood, Executive Director, Lutherans Concerned / North America said,
Today this church moved one giant step from the punitive rejection of partnered LGBT ministers to the willing tolerance of them. We see this decision as interim. Full inclusion and acceptance is still down the road, but the dam of discrimination has been broken. This is a great day for LGBT clergy who will walk into their pulpits tomorrow knowing perhaps for the first time that this church values their gifts for ministry more than the policy that would exclude them. The church is on the road to acceptance. The end of exclusion is in sight. With this decision the voting members signaled a desire for policy change, but the need for two more years to bring more of the church along.
The ELCA policy that prohibits loving, committed, lifelong, same-gender relationships for LGBT ministers remains in effect. Therefore, Goodsoil and its partners and allies will continue the efforts to help the Lutheran church recognize the eternal truth that God has known all along: that LGBT people are part of the wondrous diversity of creation, God's children, followers of Christ, and gifted as are all others to serve the mission of the church in outreach with the message of the Gospel.
Goodsoil is working for full inclusion of LGBT Lutherans in the life of their church and is comprised of Lutherans Concerned / North America, The Network for Full Inclusion, Wingspan Ministry, and the Extraordinary Candidacy Project.
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