ELCA shakeup doesn't appear likely in Red WingA decision by an international church organization allowing gay clergy to serve as pastors while in committed same-sex relationships doesn't appear to have caused much of a shakeup amongst member churches in Red Wing.
By: Jon Swedien, The Republican Eagle
A decision by an international church organization allowing gay clergy to serve as pastors while in committed same-sex relationships doesn't appear to have caused much of a shakeup amongst member churches in Red Wing.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America - which includes 10,500 congregations and over 4 million members -- declared it would change its policy regarding gay clergy after a vote at its national assembly. Previously, homosexual pastors were required to be celibate in order to serve.
Upset about the ELCA's decision, congregations have left the organization in protest, including Lakeville's mega-church, Hosanna Lutheran Church, and Wangen Prairie Lutheran Church, located in Warsaw Township near Cannon Falls.
Red Wing has three ELCA churches.
"I would say it's a concern for our congregation," said Pastor Randall Johnson of United Lutheran Church. He said United Lutheran has people on both sides of the issue but there is no movement amongst his congregation to leave the ELCA.
First Lutheran Church's interim pastor David Jore declined to comment. Jore said he hasn't been with the church long enough to speak to how parishioners feel.
St. Paul's Lutheran Church Pastor Kristen Schlauderaff said the recent ruling hasn't been that big of a deal for her church. That's because the congregation by in large dealt with the issue 10 years ago when it chose to become a Reconciling in Christ congregation.
Reconciling in Christ congregations openly welcome gay and lesbian members.
Schlauderaff, who voted in favor of instituting the new policy, said the new rules don't force homosexual pastors on congregations, because congregations call the pastor of their choice.
"Congregations still have choices," Schlauderaff said. "What churches like Hosanna are saying is you can't have a difference of opinion."
Johnson said he doesn't like seeing churches leave the ELCA because it takes away from the organization's missionary and charitable efforts. He also said he hopes people realize the ELCA's has been discussing the topic for a number of years and the conversation is ongoing.
"The issue of human sexuality is not going to go away just because some votes were made or taken," Johnson said.