ELCA Shares Significant Actions with Ecumenical, Global Partners

8/26/2009 12:00:00 AM

     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
is sharing some significant actions taken at the 2009 ELCA Churchwide
Assembly with its ecumenical and global partners. Two significant actions
include the adoption of the ELCA's 10th social statement, "Human
Sexuality: Gift and Trust," and the modification of ministry policies
that govern pastors and other professional church leaders in committed
same-gender relationships.
     The assembly, the chief legislative authority of the ELCA, met in
Minneapolis, Aug. 17-23. About 2,000 people participated, including 1,045
ELCA voting members.
     The ELCA shares full communion agreements with the Episcopal Church,
Moravian Church in America, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Reformed Church
in America and the United Church of Christ. At the assembly, voting
members agreed to a full-communion partnership with the United Methodist
Church (UMC) -- the first such relationship for the UMC.
     In an Aug. 24 letter to these and other ecumenical partners, the
ELCA presiding bishop and the denomination's ecumenical executive said
all recommendations regarding human sexuality were "given serious and
protracted consideration."
     "These considerations reflect nearly 10 years of discernment, where
whole communities have walked together through the arduous challenge of
discerning the ecclesial call to all of God's children in the Church
universal," wrote the Rev. Mark S. Hanson, ELCA presiding bishop, and the
Rev. Donald J. McCoid, executive, ELCA Ecumenical and Inter-Religious
     "As we now enter into the 100th anniversary of the contemporary
ecumenical movement, Christian communities have worked tirelessly to
develop relationships, reach historic agreements, honor differences,
strive toward unity and pursue significant accomplishments together,"
they wrote.     
     "We understand with you the need for ecumenical tables to discuss
theological, ethical and morale concerns that are facing Christians
today," Hanson and McCoid wrote. "We believe the most central way of
engaging these deep-structured concerns is to enter into and remain with
one another in the heart of constructive dialogue. We wholeheartedly
encourage and invite you to engage with this church around those very
tables in the near future."
     In a separate letter, Hanson and the Rev. Rafael Malpica Padilla,
executive director, ELCA Global Mission, acknowledge some "continued
disagreements" among Lutherans both in the United States and overseas on
the topic of human sexuality.
     "We will continue to be in a time of prayer and deep conversation
within the ELCA, and wish to continue the conversation with you as
companions in the common mission God has entrusted to us," Hanson and
Malpica Padilla wrote.
     In their letter Hanson and Malpica Padilla outlined other actions
taken by the assembly, including a $10 million campaign to implement an
HIV and AIDS strategy. The assembly's action commits the ELCA to raise
funds needed to implement the ELCA strategy and to expand the church's
commitment to support the ministries of its companion churches overseas
in responding to the HIV and AIDS crisis.
     They also highlighted a major initiative to undertake the fight
against malaria. A two-year pilot phase could precede the initiative in
partnership with companion churches.
- - -
     Information about the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly is at
http://www.ELCA.org/assembly on the Web.  

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or news@elca.org
ELCA News Blog: http://www.elca.org/news/blog


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