ELCA's St. Paul Area Synod reaffirms plan to fight poverty
Voting members also favored changing ordination rules
Continuing their ongoing concern for ending poverty in the synod and in Minnesota, voting members at the ELCA’s St. Paul Area Synod approved at their annual assembly in early June a resolution calling congregations to engage proactively, and for synod members to encourage state legislators to make ending poverty a priority. The assembly met at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Burnsville, Minnesota.
Other actions included:
* A resolution endorsing and supporting efforts to develop training encouraging care for the creation and to address global climate change.
*n A resolution encouraging the synod to support congregations assisting returning combat veterans as they work to reintegrate into their communities.
* A vote of affirmation for the ELCA’s Youth Min-istry Network.
* A resolution affirming Jesus Christ as the way, the truth and the life, and that no one can come to God except through Jesus.
Mirroring actions taken by the Minneapolis Area Synod (see a story on page 3), voting members approved two resolutions designed to revisit the question of whether gay and lesbian persons living in committed same-sex relationships may properly serve on the ELCA clergy roster.
The members approved a memorial asking the 2007 Churchwide Assembly to direct the denomination’s Committee on Appeals to develop an amendment to the ELCA Bylaws. The intent would be to remove provisions precluding “practicing homosexual persons” from the rosters of [the ELCA]. It would also lead to a change in the rule that requires persons who are “homosexual in their self-understanding” to “abstain from homosexual sexual relationships.”
A second resolution, which also passed, encouraged synods, bishops and the presiding bishop “to refrain from disciplining” those who, in good conscience and “for the sake of outreach, ministry and the commitment to continuing dialogue” ordain such individuals.
Both resolutions were submitted by members of St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church, where the Rev. Anita Hill currently serves in a call not approved by the ELCA.
The Churchwide Assembly of the ELCA will meet in Chicago in early August.
During the assembly, the Rev. Amanda Olson de Castillo was ordained into the Augustinian Lutheran Church of Guatemala, a companion church with the St. Paul Area Synod.
Participants also prepared 125 midwife kits and 73 hospice kits for Global Health Ministries, and 64 personal hygiene kits for Lutheran Social Service’s work with homeless youth.
Recognizing the 100th year of Lutheran Campus Ministry (LCM) during 2007, members took up a special offering for LCM, contributing over $5,000.