Last night Brett and I attended the Lutherans Concerned Central Ohio annual dinner in Worthington. It was a lovely event that was well planned and extremely well attended with over 100 guests. Pr. Brad Schmeling of Atlanta was the guest speaker. If you have read my prior posts, you know that Brad recently underwent a trial in the ELCA to determine if he should be removed from the clergy roster for being gay. The ruling of the trial was that Pr. Schmeling should be removed, and that the ELCA policy is unjust and most likely unconstitutional. The hearing basically gave the ELCA a chance to revise its policy at the Churchwide Assembly in Chicago and set Brad’s removal date after that assembly with hope that the policy would be changed first and Brad remain a pastor in the Church.
Brad spoke for over an hour. He spoke eloquently and from the heart. I think all present learned a lot during that time. I was particularly fascinated by the question and answer period. A gay seminarian from Trinity Seminary asked Brad what guidance and advice he would give him and other GLBT seminarians on dealing with unjust policies within the Church. Brad’s response was that he would learn from them since the policies were not in place when he was attending seminary and was ordained. He also told the seminarian that he had a lot of respect for him since he was open and honest with his sexuality. I was also impressed by this seminarian. It put another face on this issue and made me more aware that people are still systematically victimized and discriminated by a church, an organization built on the premise that all are welcome, loved and worthy of grace. Shame on us as members of this body to allow this to continue!