Progress on inclusivity in the ELCA

I have been working with other Lutherans Concerned Regional Coordinators and the Good Soil legislative team on assisting local teams with introducing resolutions pertinent to GLBT people at synod assemblies across the ELCA. Much of this action surrounds the outcome of the trial of Pr. Bradley Schmeling of Atlanta.

After a few months of assembly gatherings, the results of our efforts are promising. 9 assemblies have passed resolutions urging the ELCA to change its policies to allow gay and lesbian pastors to serve in the Church. There has been similar support to other related resolutions being introduced at these assemblies.

What is even more promising at times is the defeat of these resolutions in some assemblies. You may ask, “Why is it that defeat should be celebrated?” Many of the assemblies are in conservative areas. Most reports that I have seen indicate very close votes and a larger supportive base of allies. There is evidence that the tide of misunderstanding, discrimination and hurt is changing within the ELCA.

As the Northeastern Ohio Synod Assembly approaches, I pray that we will see the support increase within our congregations. I have witnessed it though meetings and listening to people. We are still in a largely conservative area. The synod GLBT Task Force and several other congregations have submitted the resolution asking for a change in the ELCA policies. I am optimistic in the discussion it will open and actions that may be taken as the result of its submission.

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