Friday, May 12, 2006

ELCA's last statement on marriage still stands?

Clarification Regarding Same-sex Blessings
and Ongoing Deliberation Concerning Homosexuality From the ELCA Office of the Presiding Bishop, May 2000

The Rev. H. George Anderson

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America upholds heterosexual marriage as the appropriate context for intimate sexual expression. The ELCA’s 1996 message, Sexuality: Some Common Convictions, stated:

Marriage is a lifelong covenant of faithfulness between a man and a woman. In marriage, two persons become "one flesh;" a personal and sexual union that embodies God’s loving purpose to create and enrich life. By the gift of marriage God "founded human community in a joy that begins now and is brought to perfection in the life to come."

In 1993, the ELCA’s Conference of Bishops stated:

We, as the Conference of Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, recognize that there is basis neither in Scripture nor tradition for the establishment of an official ceremony by this church for the blessing of a homosexual relationship. We, therefore, do not approve such a ceremony as an official action of this church’s ministry. Nevertheless, we express trust in and will continue dialogue with those pastors and congregations who are in ministry with gay and lesbian persons, and affirm their desire to explore the best ways to provide pastoral care for all to whom they minister.

Recent synodical actions do not change the ELCA’s stance upholding marriage.

In 1999, the Churchwide Assembly (this church’s highest legislative authority) called upon all members and congregations to continue dialogue regarding homosexuality. The assembly voted:

To continue discerning conversations about homosexuality and the inclusion of gay and lesbian persons in our common life and mission and to encourage churchwide units, synods, congregations, and members of this church to participate in thoughtful, deliberate, and prayerful conversations through use of such resources as "Talking about Homosexuality–A Guide for Congregations."

To reaffirm 1991 and 1995 actions of the Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America that "Gay and lesbian people, as individuals created by God, are welcome to participate fully in the life of the congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America." [excerpts from CA99.06.27]

The Rev. H. George Anderson
Presiding Bishop
on behalf of the ELCA Conference of Bishops

Mark Hanson, could you go on the record? After all, lots has happened in the last five years.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Will a ELCA Pastor preform a Commitment Ceremony in place of a civil marriage union if the couple is strait but there reasoning is for financial/medical?

I am a 38yr old woman who recives benifits for a thyroid disorder and long term effects to ensephilitis (pardon my spelling) and if I were to marry with a traditional/standard state marriage licence I would lose not only the benifits but more importantly my medical coverage which I can't afford to lose.

However, if we had the commitment ceremony, it would be recognized by the church but not the state and we would have a 'marriage contract' written up by a lawyer that would 'somewhat' replace (for lack of better words) the marriage licence.

I don't appreicate nor will I accept that with a 'traditional civil union' I would basically be 'penelized' by not being able to have a 'dream wedding' with the man I plan to spend the rest of my life with simply because of the results of a medical condition I was born with and have no control over. The 'commitment ceremony' is really our only option.

The good ship ELCA...

The good ship ELCA...
Or the Shellfish blog...