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ELCA Council Places Trust In Voting Members On Recommendation Two

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    ELCA Council Places Trust In Voting Members On Recommendation Two ELCA News Service August 7, 2005 CWA-01-05-MRC ORLANDO, Fla. (ELCA) -- The Church Council of
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 8, 2005
      ELCA Council Places Trust In Voting Members On Recommendation Two
      ELCA News Service
      August 7, 2005

      ORLANDO, Fla. (ELCA) -- The Church Council of the Evangelical
      Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) expressed its "trust and confidence"
      in voting members of the 2005 ELCA Churchwide Assembly to discern what
      "pastoral care" implies concerning same-gender relationships and if
      the blessing of same-sex couples is precluded or provided for within
      this pastoral care.

      The Church Council is the ELCA's board of directors and serves as
      the legislative authority of the church between churchwide assemblies.
      The council met here Aug. 7 on the eve of the 2005 ELCA Churchwide
      Assembly at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort and Convention
      Center, Aug. 8-14.

      The Synod Council of the ELCA Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod,
      Pittsburgh, asked the Church Council to provide clarification on the
      intention of a second of three recommendations that address whether or
      not the church will bless same-sex relationships and whether or not
      the ELCA will allow people in such relationships to serve the church
      as professional lay and ordained ministers. It also requested that
      the Church Council relay that clarification to voting members of the
      2005 Churchwide Assembly.

      Recommendation Two proposes that the ELCA "continue to respect
      the guidance of the 1993 advisory statement of the Conference of
      Bishops" and "that this church welcome gay and lesbian persons into
      its life * and trust pastors and congregations to discern ways to
      provide faithful pastoral care to same-sex couples." The 1993
      advisory statement said the ELCA Conference of Bishops finds no basis
      in Scripture for blessing homosexual relationships and do not approve
      of such a ceremony as an official action of the ELCA's ministry.

      In response to the synod's request, the Church Council expressed
      concern that any additional information it can provide regarding
      Recommendation Two may "further complicate rather than clarify"
      information prepared by the Church Council, which has been distributed
      and discussed across the church. The council also anticipated that
      voting members' "ongoing dialogue and discernment will establish the
      clarity" sought by members of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod.

      The three recommendations to appear before the assembly were
      developed during the first part of a study process known as the ELCA
      Studies on Sexuality. A study director and a task force developed a
      report and recommendations, which were made public Jan. 13. Members
      of the ELCA were encouraged to respond to the recommendations; their
      responses were provided to the Church Council as it considered
      resolutions for assembly action.

      Recommendation One proposes that the ELCA -- its members,
      congregations, synods, churchwide organization, agencies and
      institutions -- "be urged to concentrate on finding ways to live
      together faithfully in the midst of disagreements, recognizing the
      God-given mission and communion that we share as members of the body
      of Christ." Recommendation One and Recommendation Two require a
      simple majority vote for adoption.

      Recommendation Three would "create a process for the sake of
      outreach, ministry and the commitment to continuing dialogue, which
      may permit exceptions to the expectations regarding sexual conduct for
      gay and lesbian candidates and rostered leaders in life-long,
      committed and faithful same-sex relationships who otherwise are
      determined to be in compliance" with the conduct the church expects of
      its ministers. Recommendation Three requires at least a two-thirds
      vote from the assembly for adoption, since constitutional bylaws must
      be amended.

      - - -
      Information about the ELCA Churchwide Assembly is at
      http://www.elca.org/assembly/05 on the Web.
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