Leaders of the country's largest Lutheran denomination prayed for unity Monday as they waded into a weeklong debate over homosexuality and the clergy, while a rule change that would allow people in same-sex relationships to serve cleared its first hurdle.Meanwhile, 95 Lutheran clergy have come out:
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which is meeting this week in Minneapolis, is debating a proposal to allow individual congregations to hire gays and lesbians in committed relationships as clergy. A final vote is not expected until Friday.
But delegates on Monday rejected a move by critics of the proposal to require approval from a two-thirds supermajority instead of a simple majority when the measure comes to the final vote.
Supporters of the supermajority said a higher hurdle was needed to signal wide support for what they called a major change in the church's approach to homosexuality. But the move received support from just 43 percent of the 1,045 voting delegates.
Advocates are distributing a document in which 95 members of the Lutheran clergy — a number that references Martin Luther’s 95 Theses — announce that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. The booklet, “One Table, Many Blessings” (pdf), shares how the ban on openly gay clergy has affected their lives.Anyone have any insights into whether the Lutherans will follow the Episcopalians?
Currently church rules state openly gay or lesbian clergy should remain celibate and not enter into same-sex relationships. A vote later this week could change those rules to allow clergy who are in committed, life-long same-sex partnerships.....
[One] couple said that young people like their daughter are leaving the church over these issues. “She has marched in Pride parades every year of her life. She is clear about who her parents and her village are to her,” they wrote. “She is not clear what the Lutheran Church as a whole is to her. Her generation will decide what place the Church will have in their lives based on the justice and hospitality they see extended to or withheld from LGBT people.”