AP—Largest Lutheran group reinstating 2 gay ministers

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A gay Atlanta pastor and his partner who have been at the center of a battle over the treatment of gay clergy by the nation's largest Lutheran denomination are being reinstated to the denomination's clergy roster, church officials announced Tuesday.

The Rev. Bradley Schmeling and his partner, the Rev. Darin Easler, have been approved for reinstatement, the Chicago-based Evangelical Lutheran Church in America said in a news release. The approval came roughly eight months after the denomination voted to allow gays and lesbians in committed relationships to serve as clergy, and just weeks after the ELCA's church council officially revised the church's policy on gay ministers.

Schmeling, who serves as pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in Atlanta, was removed from the church's clergy roster in 2007 for being in a same-sex relationship with Easler. A disciplinary committee ruled that Schmeling was violating an ELCA policy regarding the sexual conduct of pastors.

"I'm grateful that this journey has come full circle and that the church has changed its policy," Schmeling said Tuesday.

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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesLutheranSexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

6 Comments
Posted May 7, 2010 at 5:19 am

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The URL for this article is http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/29887/



1. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Some strange stuff here.  Most notably, the Rev. Schmeling was “removed from the clergy roster” of the ELCA but still allowed nonetheless to remain the pastor of an ELCA church.  What’s with that?  It seems that his bishop, Julian Gordy, was and is very supportive of this unrepentantly homosexual pastor and the pro-gay agenda.

I admit that I wasn’t previously aware that the ELCA had entered into full intercommunion with the ultra-liberal UCC.  How strange that they’d rather be in communion with the UCC and TEC than with more conservative Lutherans such as the Missouri Synod.

I fully expect the split within the ELCA to make the breakup of TEC look small in comparison.  It’s very sad to see a once great denomination self-destructing.

David Handy+

May 7, 10:58 am | [comment link]
2. Harry Edmon wrote:

To see how the LCMS is handling relationships with the ELCA, see the following:

http://www.lcms.org/pages/rpage.asp?NavID=16933

The LCMS convention is this summer, and I believe there will be a number of overtures recommending pulling out of any joint ministries we still have, which are mainly centered around human needs (Lutheran World Relief for example).

May 7, 2:34 pm | [comment link]
3. Harry Edmon wrote:

P.S.  To be fair, here is the ELCA story on the same meeting:

http://www.elca.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Three-Expressions/Churchwide-Organization/Communication-Services/News/Releases.aspx?a=4520

May 7, 2:37 pm | [comment link]
4. The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS wrote:

Most notably, the Rev. Schmeling was “removed from the clergy roster” of the ELCA but still allowed nonetheless to remain the pastor of an ELCA church.  What’s with that?

Alas, it’s an old, old story in the ELCA.  Pastor introduces his gay partner.  Congregation rallies around pastor.  Bishop commends the pastor as being one of the finest in the Synod, usually doing nothing more.  Sometimes it is hard to discern which came first—the Bishop’s commendation or the congregation’s rallying—or which was more passionate.

While in accordance with the rule, Schmeling’s removal—which was initiated by the previous Bishop with great reluctance—was a very, very rare exception to the normative practice in the ELCA.

Kyrie eleison, Steven+

The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS
Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Peoria, Ill. USA
Pastor Zip’s Blog

May 7, 6:14 pm | [comment link]
5. Truly Robert wrote:

I believe the code for that (leftist gay agenda) is “Reconciling in Christ.” Can any reader clarify this?

May 7, 8:10 pm | [comment link]
6. The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS wrote:

“Reconciling in Christ” is the program/registry of Lutherans Concerned/North America where a congregation or other Lutheran church “communities” officially welcomes the “full participation” of those of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Pax, Steven+

The Rev. Steven P. Tibbetts, STS
Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Peoria, Ill. USA
Pastor Zip’s Blog

May 8, 3:12 pm | [comment link]


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