Saturday, September 03, 2016

ELCA introduces supplemental resources for marriage service

Shrimp here (believe it or not) with the latest press release from ELCA News:

ELCA introduces supplemental resources for marriage service

9/1/2016 10:35:00 AM

CHICAGO – The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has developed supplemental resources for use within the Evangelical Lutheran Worship marriage service. The liturgical resources were developed based on action by the ELCA Church Council to implement recommendations from the "Ministry to and with Same-gender Couples and Their Families" working group.
Shrimp interrupts. The report of this working group, linked below in the news release, runs 19 pages, but with the appendices and cover page it comes to 85 pages. It makes for fascinating, but also difficult, reading. "The membership [of the working group] were constituted according to ELCA commitments to diversity of race and gender and reflected a variety of competencies and life experience. It is notable that this Working Group was the first ELCA working group intentionally created to bring the range of four conviction sets (from 'Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust') into extended conversation." Their report and recommendations aim to reflect the full range of those convictions and offer a very rare (for an ELCA document) acknowledgement of the deep divisions within the ELCA. Yet somehow they reached a consensus. Back to the news release.
The working group was established in response to the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly approval of a memorial, or proposal, regarding conversations about ministering to same-gender couples and their families. The recommendation from the working group requested the Office of the Presiding Bishop take lead responsibility for identifying or preparing a small collection of supplemental liturgical resources for pastoral use.

"This is work that the church asked us to do. These are faithful and sensitive supplemental resources which can be used by all couples," said the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the ELCA.

In its recommendation, the working group stated that one of the supplemental resources be "appropriate for same-gender couples for use within the marriage service of Evangelical Lutheran Worship as a way to continue to live into our commitment 'to finding ways to allow congregations that choose to do so to recognize, support and hold publicly accountable lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships.'"

"These supplemental resources have been created to offer more inclusivity in language, pastoral care, and openness for all persons who seek to be married within this church," said the Rev. Kevin Strickland, ELCA executive for worship.
Shrimp interrupts once again. These "supplemental sources" are also linked below. We invite you to read them, particularly in the context of of the Working Groups' report and recommendations. But please read the rest of the news release.
Strickland emphasized that the resources are supplemental to the marriage service included in both the Evangelical Lutheran Worship and the Evangelical Lutheran Worship Occasional Services for the Assembly.

The new resources offer materials for each section of the service, which include the gathering, word, marriage, prayer, meal and sending.

"It has been said that marriage is a gift of God, intended for the joy and strength of those who enter it and for the well-being of the whole human family," said Strickland. "It is my hope that these supplemental resources help point us as a church, in offering this gift for the whole human family."
Shrimp again. That sounds like a lot more than "finding ways to allow congregations that choose to do so to recognize, support and hold publicly accountable lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships," don't you think? But let us allow ELCA News to finish.
Other recommendations from the working group are being implemented throughout the church, and the ELCA churchwide organization will provide updates in a report to the Church Council at its November meeting.

Published by Augsburg Fortress, the publishing house of the ELCA, the supplemental marriage resources are available at

The full report and recommendations offered by the working group are available at

- - -

About the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
The ELCA is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with more than 3.7 million members in more than 9,300 congregations across the 50 states and in the Caribbean region. Known as the church of "God's work. Our hands," the ELCA emphasizes the saving grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, unity among Christians and service in the world. The ELCA's roots are in the writings of the German church reformer, Martin Luther.

For information contact:
Candice Hill Buchbinder
773-380-2877 or
Living Lutheran:

And that's the latest from 8765 W. Higgins Road. If your (ELCA) pastor subscribes to the ELCA News listserv, (s)he may have noticed this release appearing late on Wednesday, or perhaps on Thursday if (s)he is one of its 9,721 Twitter followers. So please be kind and don't ask about it as you first greet your pastor this weekend. Shrimp out.

The good ship ELCA...

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