Iowa Pastor Removed From ELCA Roster

2/13/1998 12:00:00 AM

     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- A Discipline Hearing Committee of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) ruled Feb. 3 to remove the Rev. Steven P. Sabin, Ames, Iowa, from the church's clergy roster, effective April 15. Sabin, pastor of Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Ames, is gay and lives with a partner.
     The committee's "determination" indicated that, within ELCA guidelines for clergy, Sabin "must be considered a practicing homosexual" and is "precluded from the ordained ministry of this church."  Sabin's case received national attention when the hearing was held Feb 1-3 in Des Moines.
     The committee "acknowledges and admires the gifts for ministry that Pastor Sabin has brought to Lord of Life congregation," according to the determination.  The action says the committee "does not find that the applicable Definitions and Guidelines permit Pastor Sabin's gifts of ministry either to outweigh or excuse the violation" of the section that precludes "practicing homosexuals from the ordained ministry" of the ELCA.
     The Rev. Philip L. Hougen, bishop of the ELCA's Southeastern Iowa Synod, which includes Ames, wrote in a letter to pastors, "I continue to have pastoral concern for Steve and his partner and family, Lord of Life Lutheran church and for all those involved in this matter and I know that all concerned will appreciate your prayers."
     Hougen said he will meet the week of Feb. 15 with Sabin and leaders of Lord of Life Lutheran Church to discuss the congregation's future.
     In his letter to pastors Hougen said, "I continue to pray for God's guidance and for continuing dialog on the issue of homosexuality within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America."

For information contact:
Ann Hafften, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG


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