Monday, February 15, 2010

Gay clergy vote splits South Dakota Lutheran churches

From the Sioux Falls (South Dakota) Argus Leader:

Gay clergy vote splits South Dakota Lutheran churches
At least seven congregations take steps to leave ELCA

East Lake Andes Lutheran Church is an eclectic, spiritually self-reliant congregation.

The 100 or so members from the farms and ranches near Armour and Parkston come from a variety of Protestant and Roman Catholic backgrounds, in addition to Lutheranism.

"It just kind of blended together into a community-type rural church," said Bill Van Gerpen, co-pastor and a Baptist.

So when the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America's general assembly voted in August to allow sexually active gay clergy in committed, monogamous relationships to serve as pastors, members of East Lake Andes who opposed the move explored the idea of leaving the ELCA. In the process, they've found that their own spiritual tradition runs deeper than their ties to the ELCA.