The ELCA Church wide assembly (CWA09) is going on in Minneapolis, MN right now (right where all those tornadoes touched down yesterday…thankfully no one was hurt). The big action item from yesterday’s debate/discussion was the vote on whether to approve “Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust“…a social statement of the ELCA. According to assembly rules and the constitution this requires a 2/3 super majority for approval. It passed by just 1 vote…amazing. I would like to include a link to the amended version of this statement but as of right now it is not available. Keep checking http://www.elca.org and the social statement will be there.
Coming up tomorrow will be the “main attraction”…Report and Recommendations on Ministry Policies. These recommendations refer to whether or not to allow gay/lesbian clergy serve on the roster of the ELCA who are in committed, monogamous, life-long same sex relationships. Currently the rule is that if you are homosexual you must remain celibate. These ministry recommendations also address allowing for same-sex blessings. Also built into these recommendations is the issue of “bound conscience”. Basically…individual congregations and synods wouldn’t be forced to bless same sex unions or call (or be prevented from calling) gay/lesbian clergy. The vote on this is expected Friday morning. Please keep these delegates in your prayers.
After tomorrow, the ELCA is going to be forever changed (no matter how the vote turns out). If these recommendations do not pass, they will just come up again in two years when the ELCA meets again. The conversation has come a long way and after tomorrow this will be in no way over. After tomorrow people on both sides of the issue will have to decide how we are going to move forward as a Church. People are going to have to decide how to serve together. My hope and prayer is that we can finally move forward and do some serious ministry; focusing on advancing the mission of Christ.
Please continue pray…not just tomorrow morning…but into the future that the Church does not lose sight of its calling. Whatever happens, may God be with us.