July 27, 2007

Will Lutherans Abolish Celibacy Requirement for Gay & Lesbian Clergy?

From the Chicago Sun-Times via Religion Headlines.

The Lutheran pastor soon to be bishop of the Metropolitan Chicago Synod wants his denomination to lift a celibacy requirement for gay and lesbian clergy.

"That's where I think the church is going," Bishop-elect Wayne Miller of Aurora said. "That's where I think it needs to go."

Eventually, gay and lesbian clergy in monogamous, same-sex relationships could be allowed to serve.

He's hoping the change will come next month in Chicago, where the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is conducting its churchwide assembly. Nearly a third of the denomination's 65 synods are asking for a policy shift in clergy standards.

John Roberts of Chicago also hopes it could lead to the reinstatement of gay clergy removed from ministry. He says he was ousted as pastor of a Michigan church in the 1990s after he confided to his bishop that he was gay.

"He gave me 11 days to leave the parish and not tell anyone," the 58-year-old Roberts said. "I still feel that call to pastoral ministry."

With 4.8 million baptized members, the ELCA, with headquarters in Chicago, is the nation's seventh-largest denomination. The Metropolitan Chicago Synod includes 217 congregations in Cook, DuPage, Kane and Lake counties.

Even with this restrictive policy, the Lutheran church is ahead of most mainline denominations. Hopefully they will continue to be led forward by people like John Roberts.

Click here to read the entire article, including a capsule summary of where the major denominations stand on ordaining gays and lesbians.


  1. You know, I am happy that the ELCA is moving ahead on this, but it still hurts when you are one of the people that have been left in the ELCA's dust.

    I am without a call, a job, and soon to be without a house. All of this because the ELCA says it is welcoming to all and it is, as long as you don't have aspirations of being in leadership.