Lutherans in the Twin Cities

One church’s “vacancy” is no more

On Pentecost Sunday, members of Lutheran Church of Christ the Redeemer (LCCR), ELCA, Minneapolis, wore festival red not only to celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit, but also to celebrate the naming of their pastor as their pastor. The Rev. Mary Albing, who has served as pastor of LCCR for seven years, was given a signed letter of call from Bishop Craig Johnson, Minneapolis Area Synod.

The Rev. Mary Albing holds up a signed copy of her letter of call to Lutheran Church of Christ the Redeemer (ELCA) in southwest Minneapolis, where she has been pastor for the last seven years. Bishop Craig Johnson, Minneapolis Area Synod, presented the letter to Albing during the congregation’s Pentecost worship. Photo: Jane Byrne

Albing became eligible to serve as a rostered leader in the synod by virtue of the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly vote allowing gay or lesbian pastors to be in same-gendered, life-long, monogamous relationships. LCCR chose Albing as their pastor knowing that the congregation’s decision would not be recognized by the synod and could lead to its being censured.

In celebration of the event, four signing stations with copies of the call letter were set up in the sanctuary. Each member of the congregation was invited to add their name to Johnson’s, affirming the congregational decision made seven years ago.

Adding a little levity, at the beginning of the service Renee Wuest, an 11-year-old baptized member of LCCR, solemnly carried forward from the narthex to Bishop Johnson a pillow on which a pen, with red “feathers” attached, lay. This pen was then used by Bishop Johnson to sign the letter of call.

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