Bishop won't sign callfor Rev. Mary Albing
Lutheran Church of Christ the Redeemer chose a postor whose roster status is under scrutiny.
The leader of the ELCA’s Minneapolis Area Synod says he will not sign a letter of call for a pastor selected by one of his congregations.
The Rev. Craig Johnson, bishop for Minneapolis and the west metro suburbs, told Metro Lutheran that he will be unable to certify the call for the Rev. Mary Albing, chosen recently to serve as pastor for Lutheran Church of Christ the Redeemer (LCCR) in southwest Minne-apolis. The reason, he says, is that under current rules governing who may be ordained in the ELCA, Albing does not qualify for roster status.
Mary Albing lives in a committed relationship with a female partner. The ELCA’s document, Vision and Expectations, says or-dained gay or lesbian clergy serving congregations in the 5.1 million member denomination must remain celibate.
It is ordinary in the ELCA for the bishop of the synod in whose jurisdiction a congregation is located to sign call letters for clergy called into that geographical area. A bishop’s failure — or refusal — to sign a call ordinarily results in a congregation revising or changing the call. This does not appear likely in LCCR’s case.
Ruth Peterson, President of the congregation at LCCR, told Metro Lutheran that Albing was selected because she was judged to be the best candidate among those whom the parish’s call committee considered.
Peterson indicated that members of LCCR intend to stand behind their choice of Albing, regardless of any ac-tion the synod may take.
Bishop Johnson said that, with her acceptance of a call to LCCR, Albing is no longer eligible to be listed as a clergyperson under call. He said she could request that the Minneapolis Area Synod reclassify her status, listing her as “on leave from call.” The Synod Council would then act on the request.
Previously, Albing had a call to serve at Abbott-Northwestern Hospital.
When asked whether calling Albing might affect LCCR’s standing as a Synod congregation, Johnson told Metro Lutheran, “We’ll take this one step at a time.”