ELCA task force concludes work on sexuality statement
Sam Hodges E-mail News tips
A task force of he Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has concluded its work on a human sexuality statement and on a report with recommendations about possible changes to policies that don't allow ministers to be in a same-sex relationship.
But the documents won't be made public for a few weeks. Here's a press release:
ELCA NEWS SERVICE
January 30, 2009
ELCA Task Force Concludes Work on Social Statement, Ministry Standards 09-027-MRC
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Task Force for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's (ELCA) Studies on Sexuality finalized its work on a proposed social statement on human sexuality, and it finalized a report with recommendations on ministry standards regarding possible changes to policies that preclude pastors in committed same-sex relationships from the ELCA clergy roster.
The two documents will be released to the public Feb. 19.
The task force concluded its work Jan. 23-25, according to the Rev. Peter Strommen, Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church, Prior Lake, Minn., and task force chair. He said the task force's "very difficult discussions" centered on "how do we make good recommendations for the sake of the church."
"It is evident that there is a deep commitment on the part of task force members to love (their) neighbor and realize that their neighbors are more than the people with whom they agree," he said.
Members of the task force "are people of widely different perspectives (from) across the church, and they wrestle actively with a way through on this issue that can somehow honor (their neighbors) and honor truth as they see it. This is a very complex and sometimes an excruciating process that is profoundly different from simply being an advocacy group," Strommen said.
In the course of its work that began in May 2002, the task force published three studies and a youth resource inviting deliberation and response across the ELCA under the "Journey Together Faithfully" banner.
Time line for process, decision-making
The ELCA Conference of Bishops will review the two proposed documents March 5-10. The conference is an advisory body of the church consisting of the ELCA's 65 synod bishops, presiding bishop and secretary.
The ELCA Church Council will work to "recommend a finalized text" of both the proposed social statement and ministry recommendations when it meets here March 27-29. The council is the ELCA's board of directors and legislative authority of the church between churchwide assemblies.
The documents will be posted April 2 on the ELCA Web site. ELCA members will discuss and respond to the recommended documents in synod assemblies held Apri through June.
The 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly will consider both the recommended proposed social statement and the recommended report on ministry standards Aug. 17-23, in Minneapolis.
Social statements are teaching documents that assist Lutherans in forming judgments on social issues. They provide theological and ethical frameworks for discussion, discernment and decision-making, set policy for the church, and guide the church's advocacy and work in church and society.
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Information about the ELCA Studies on Sexuality is at http://www.ELCA.org/faithfuljourney on the ELCA Web site.
Audio of Strommen's comments is at
http://media.ELCA.org/audionews/StrommenJan09.MP3 on the ELCA Web site.
For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.elca.org/news ELCA News Blog: http://www.elca.org/news/blog