Posts Tagged ‘Human sexuality’


ELCIC INFORMATION

EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN
CHURCH IN CANADA
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
Phone
1.204.984.9150 Fax 1.204.984.9185

NEWS RELEASE
From the National
Office of the ELCIC

ELCIC National Convention Delegates Approve Social
Statement on Human Sexuality

Saskatoon, 16 July 2011–Following more
than two hours of debate, delegates of the 2011 ELCIC National Convention
approved a Social Statement on Human Sexuality. The results came late in a day
and were done by written ballot, with 213 votes in favour of the motion and 134
against. 

The document is the
result of a four-year process involving: a study guide, a church-wide feedback
process, a draft statement that allowed for further feedback opportunities, and
the statement. The statement analyzes the current social problem, provides
theological and ethical foundations, and applies insights from the first two
sections to the contemporary situation.

Convention delegates first considered the statement Thursday
evening during a Committee of the Whole session. The Human Sexuality Task Force
introduced the 14-page report and responded to questions and comments from
delegates.

Delegates returned to
debate the matter in a Friday morning business session, and long lines of people
approached the plenary hall microphones to speak for and against the motion. As
on Thursday, comments covered a wide range of subjects, including the
interpretation of scripture, church tradition, theology, and human rights. Many
shared personal stories and many quoted the Bible.

“The statement is honest,” said a delegate in favour of the
statement. “The church is conflicted but the statement full of love and
grace.”

Another delegate said that
the social statement acknowledged homosexual orientation as a genetic reality.
“Our loving God gave them these characteristics,” he said. “The least we could
do is love them the way God does.”

Speaking against the statement, one delegate noted, “Nowhere in
the Bible do I see anything in support of same-sex relationships.” He continued,
“One day we will stand before God and we will be judged not by the UN
Declaration of Rights or the Canadian charter, but by God’s holy laws.”

Others said the statement was not
appropriate at this time for the church. “It’s so ambiguous no one understands
it,” said a delegate. “This isn’t our solid ground that we stand on. After ten
years of debate, we still do not have a consensus. We don’t have anything but
divisions.”

In this midst of this
conversation, delegates considered several motions that proposed to alter the
process of the vote. Delegates approved, almost unanimously, a motion to vote by
written ballot instead of public voting by raising cards. The delegate who
proposed the motion said this more private method would help people to vote
according to their consciences.

Delegates defeated another motion that requested a two-thirds
majority to pass the motion instead of the usual majority of 50 per cent plus
one vote. They also defeated a proposed amendment to provide more material in
the statement’s footnotes.

After the
allotted hour-and-fifteen-minute session during Friday morning’s session, the
question had not yet been called. National Bishop Susan C. Johnson, chair of the
meeting, proposed that delegates return from dinner one hour early to finish the
discussion and vote. She requested that those lined up at microphones maintain
their order until the later session.

After other business and a meal, convention resumed the
discussion in a similar tone. Many people stood up to express earnest opinions
both for and against the statement.

Following an hour of debate, and with people still lined up at
the microphones, a delegate asked for the question to be called.

Delegates voted on whether to call the
question and the results were announced as 166 in favour and 162 against. As
convention moved on to consider the adoption of the social statement, a steward
announced that there had been an error with the previous count and the majority
of delegates had voted not to call the question.

After a brief time of reflection, Bishop Johnson sited
Bourinot’s Rules of Order and ruled the decision to call the question stood
since delegates had proceeded in good faith according to information from the
stewards. A motion was made to challenge the chair, but delegates upheld the
decision of the chair.

The original
vote to approve the proposed Social Statement on Human Sexuality resumed, and
after voting, delegates heard a presentation and several announcements. They
then finally stood to sing hymns together.

At around 7:30 p.m., Bishop Johnson announced the statement had
been adopted by a vote of 213 to 134, plus two spoiled ballots. Following the
announcement and prayer, Bishop Johnson acknowledged the ongoing divisions in
the church and celebrated the continued unity that the church has in Christ.

The ELCIC Social Statement on Human
Sexuality is available online at:
elcic.ca/Human-Sexuality/default.cfm.

Over 500 Lutherans and special guests are
meeting in Saskatoon at the ELCIC’s 13th National Convention. Full agenda
details, highlights, and a live link to the proceedings are available on the
National Convention website: elcic.ca/In-Convention/2011-Saskatoon.

—————————————————————–
The
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination
with 152,500 baptized members in 607 congregations. It is a member of the
Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World
Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is
intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner
they may find useful.

For more information, please contact:
Trina
Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B
3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Subscribe or
unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing info@elcic.ca with a short
message.


ELCIC INFORMATION

EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN
CHURCH IN CANADA
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
Phone
1.204.984.9150 Fax 1.204.984.9185

NEWS RELEASE
From the National
Office of the ELCIC

Delegates to 2011 ELCIC National Convention
Approve Motions on Unity, Same-Sex Blessings and Qualifications for
Ordination

Saskatoon, 17 July 2011 — Delegates of the 13th Biennial
ELCIC National Convention approved three highly anticipated and vigorously
debated motions related to the ELCIC Social Statement on Human Sexuality.
Delegates approved an Affirmation Concerning the Unity of the Church; a policy
statement allowing rostered ministers to preside at or bless legal marriages,
including those between same-sex couples, according to the laws of the province;
and a policy paving the way for the ordination and installation of gay and
lesbian pastors.

These motions, put forth by National Church Council
(NCC), were drafted by the ELCIC Faith, Order and Doctrine Committee “to allow
us to move forward if the Social Statement on Human Sexuality was approved,”
said committee member and Saskatchewan Synod Bishop Cindy Halmarson. The social
statement itself was approved during Saturday’s business sessions, following
more than two hours of debate.

Affirmation Concerning the Unity of
the Church (Motion #26)


Passed
by a vote of 204 to 133, the affirmation states that the church should: not be
divided because of disagreement over moral issues and that ELCIC members,
congregations, synods, and churches who disagree with one another remain in
dialogue and unity; maintain unity in the gospel and the sacraments; refrain
from actions that will divide the body of Christ.

Delegates offered a
wide range of perspectives during the debate from serious reservations to
gratitude.

“I speak against the motion,” said one delegate. “The fruit
of the spirit are love, peace and joy, and since we have discussed this issue,
there has been no peace, love, or joy.”

“We are losing the heart of our
people, and it shows in their giving,” expressed another delegate. “You can not
legislate the hearts of the people we are serving.”

One church member
expressed her appreciation for the work of the committee and NCC for putting
forth the motion and offered this comment: “I have consulted with theologians
and biblical scholars, and they have verified that in the original language ‘to
love one another as I have loved you’ there is no ‘except’ or ‘but.’”

Delegates cast their votes as the last order of business on Saturday
night. “I want to commend you for the respect and patience you’ve shown,”
concluded National Bishop Susan C. Johnson following the announcement of the
vote results.

Motion on Same-Sex Blessings (Motion
#27)


Passed by a vote of 192 to
132, Motion #27 allows ELCIC rostered ministers to preside at or bless marriages
according to the dictates of their consciences and according to the laws of the
province in which they serve, including those of same-sex couples.

Early
in the debate, a delegate made a procedural motion to table the discussion until
the 2013 National Convention. “I believe the motions we have passed are a good
framework to build on. I am suggesting we take a bit of time to let this
document breathe before we take further steps,” he said.

The motion to
postpone failed, and debate continued.

“I’ve heard several people say
that this issue has been dealt with, but the status quo is unacceptable—to love
the sinner and hate the sin,” said one delegate. “That is hate, discrimination,
exclusion and alienation. That is saying I can ride the bus but sit at the back.
That is not love. That is not what Jesus would do.”

“I have serious
misgivings about how this might play out in practical terms,” expressed a
delegate. “The day will come when a couple will ask to be married in a
congregation that won’t participate in that kind of service. What will be the
ramifications?”

Another speaker encouraged delegates to open the door
for the congregations who do wish to participate in same-sex blessings. “I speak
in favour of this motion even though I know I won’t be performing these
marriages,” he said. “My congregation has made its position clear: it is not a
place they are prepared to go. As a pastor, I can marry couples because I have
been called by that congregation. I marry in their name, and it behooves me to
consider their wishes. I would be surprised if these marriages happen in five
per cent of our congregations. But the question is, can we still work with the
congregations that will do this? Let them do their ministry as we do ours.”

National Bishop Johnson led the delegates in song (Lord Listen to
Your Children Pray
) as ballots were cast.

Motion on Rostered
Ministry (Motion #28)

Passed by a vote of 205 to 114, Motion #28
states that sexual orientation is not in itself a factor that disqualifies a
candidate for rostered ministry. The motion rescinds two past convention actions
that disallowed self-declared, practicing homosexuals to be approved for
ordination and call.

“I thank you for your love and patience during this
debate. On behalf of my congregation, I speak against the motion,” said one
delegate. “It is against God’s will and Gods word, the Bible.”

“When I
look at my experience of 20 years, I can’t see that anything good has come from
church’s current policy on this issue,” said Eastern Synod Bishop Michael Pryse.
“I’ve seen the terrible results of this policy: broken people, broken families,
broken congregations, substance abuse, broken lives. That’s what happens when
you demand celibacy of those who don’t have the gifts to live celibate lives.
This motion provides the opportunity for willing congregations to consider these
candidates.”

“I urge you to not vote for this,” expressed a rostered
delegate. “Will congregations be allowed to ask a candidate’s orientation? Are
we opening a can of worms for congregations that are on the orthodox side? Will
pastors have to hide their orientation to get a job? Is this a decision that’s
made too soon?”

At the end of the debate, one rostered delegate
broke her silence. “I rise to speak in favour, and I do so praising God, for I
am fearfully and wonderfully made. God made me gay, and I celebrate God’s gift,”
she said. “This church has nurtured me and helped me become the person I am. As
I prepared myself to take this call, no one ever asked me about my sexuality,
but we were told we could stay if we were celibate or silent. Today I break my
silence on behalf of my sisters and brothers who cannot speak. I implore that
gifted gays and lesbians may be embraced, empowered and sent.”

Over 500
Lutherans and special guests are meeting in Saskatoon, July 14-17 for the
ELCIC’s 13th National Convention. Full agenda details, highlights, and a live
link to the proceedings are available on the National Convention website: elcic.ca/In-Convention/2011-Saskatoon.

—————————————————————–
The
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination
with 152,500 baptized members in 607 congregations. It is a member of the
Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World
Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is
intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner
they may find useful.

For more information, please contact:
Trina
Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B
3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Subscribe or
unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing info@elcic.ca with a short
message.


ELCIC INFORMATION

EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN CANADA
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
Phone 1.204.984.9150 Fax 1.204.984.9185

NEWS RELEASE
From the National Office of the ELCIC

A Letter to the Church from National Church Council

Mississauga, 3 April 2010–The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s (ELCIC) National Church Council (NCC) has been meeting in Mississauga, ON from April 1-3, 2011. The following is the text of a letter to the Church from members of NCC. A pdf version of the letter is available online at: http://www.elcic.ca/Documents/NCCLettertotheChurch-April32011.pdf

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Grace and peace to you.

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. —Ephesians 4:1-3

The National Church Council (NCC) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada has been meeting in recent days (April 1-3, 2011). As we began our work, the Council was deeply aware of the responsibilities commended to us by the church and we are grateful to all who have held us in their prayers.

Many of you have been anticipating our efforts as you have participated in the work of our committees and task forces. All of NCC’s work will be reported out in the Bulletin of Reports. For now, with a view to openness and transparency, NCC would like to share with you some decisions around two matters: Structural Renewal and Human Sexuality.

Structural Renewal Task Force: Report

National Church Council considered the Report of the Structural Renewal Task Force. The Task Force was given the responsibility to look at possibilities for renewal with a view (1) to equipping the Church to be In Mission for Others and (2) to developing a structural framework which is flexible, affordable and sustainable.

The report proposes that the ELCIC be re-organized into three synods, that existing conferences be reconfigured into “areas” (groupings of congregations) supported by leadership teams, that conventions of the National Church and synods be held triennially and that National Conventions be smaller in size.

As soon as the final text of the report is available, it will be published online and included in the Bulletin of Reports.

Council deeply appreciates the careful church-wide consultation and thoughtful analysis which are reflected in the Report.

NCC adopted the following motion: That the National Convention approve the recommendations of the Structural Renewal Task Force in principle and authorize the National Church Council to move forward with the implementation process.

Human Sexuality Task Force: Social Statement

National Church Council considered the Proposed ELCIC Social Statement on Human Sexuality. This proposed statement was prepared according to the vision and process articulated in The Public Witness of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada: A Policy on How the Church Addresses Social Issues (1991). Both documents are available on the ELCIC website: http://www.elcic.ca/.

The Statement has three sections: “Encountering the World in Which We Live” names, without judgment, some of the current issues of sexuality that face our world; “Facing God and Being Church” seeks to find common language to articulate the faith and theology which guide our life together; and “Doing Ministry” seeks to stimulate conversation about mission and ministry at the local and global level.

NCC adopted the following motion: That NCC approve and recommend for adoption to the 2011 National Convention the Proposed Social Statement on Human Sexuality.

NCC is grateful to the members of the Human Sexuality Task Force for the care and integrity with which they went about their work and for the breadth of their consultation.

Faith, Order and Doctrine Committee: Three Motions

National Church Council asked the Faith, Order and Doctrine Committee to review the Proposed ELCIC Social Statement on Human Sexuality and to prepare appropriate motions arising from the statement.

Council is grateful for the sound scholarship and pastoral sensitivity the Committee brought to their work.

NCC approved and recommended for adoption to the 2011 National Convention the following three motions:

        1. Motion on the Unity of the Church

MOVED that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in convention adopt the following affirmation as representing the position of this church and communicate this action to congregations, partner churches in Canada, sister churches in the Lutheran World Federation and other Lutheran church associations in Canada.

An Affirmation Concerning the Unity of the Church

As a confessional Lutheran Church which bases its life and teaching on the Scriptures, the Ecumenical Creeds and the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada affirms with the confessors at Augsburg in 1530 that “it is enough for the unity of the church to agree concerning the teaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments” (AC VII).

We affirm that the church ought not be divided because of disagreement over moral issues, no matter how distressing such disagreement might be. We believe that any attempt to divide the church because of disagreements over morals, polity or liturgy is an unacceptable confusion of Law and Gospel, which will lead inevitably to a distortion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We encourage ELCIC members, congregations and synods and churches who share our commitment to the scriptures, creeds and confessions and who disagree with one another over issues of morals, polity (including standards for ordination or consecration) and/or liturgy to remain in dialogue and unity with one another and maintain unity in the gospel and the sacraments as St Paul recommends in 1 Corinthians 1:10-17. We encourage all Lutherans to work for and nurture the unity of the confessional witness to the Gospel which is essential to the Lutheran tradition. We ask those persons, congregations, synods and/or churches who are in disagreement to refrain from actions that will divide the body of Christ.

2. Motion on Presiding at or Blessing Marriages

MOVED that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in convention adopt the following policy statement:

It is the policy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada that rostered
ministers may, according to the dictates of their consciences as informed by the Gospel, the Scriptures, the Ecumenical Creeds and the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, preside at or bless legal marriages according to the laws of the province within which they serve. All rostered ministers in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada are encouraged to exercise due diligence in preparing couples for marriage. All rostered ministers serving congregations are encouraged at all times to conduct their ministry in consultation with the lay leaders in the congregation and with sensitivity to the culture within which the congregation serves.        

3. Motion on Standards for Ordination and Consecration

MOVED that convention actions NC-1993-16 and NC-1989-96 be rescinded and that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in convention adopt the following policy:

It is the policy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada that sexual orientation is not in itself a factor which disqualifies a candidate for rostered ministry or a rostered minister seeking a call. Candidates and rostered ministers are in all cases expected to adhere to the qualifications and standards as set out in the constitution and bylaws of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and of the synod within which they serve. Synods and congregations are expected to evaluate candidates for ordination or consecration and rostered ministers for call in accordance with a conscience informed by the Gospel, the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions.

National Church Council recognizes that there are other areas of exploration that arise from the proposed statement which may require further study or action such as: “Stewardship of Media”, “Oppose Sexual Exploitation”, “Act for Justice” and “Create Safe Spaces” (items drawn from the third section of the statement).

A Call to Prayer

NCC is keenly aware that our commitment to a common faithful journey may sometimes challenge us or lead us into places of unease or hurt or pain. At the same time, we seek, as best we are able, to maintain the unity of the Spirit and to support one another on the journey.

At the National Convention, there will be many reasons for celebration and rejoicing: our National Bishop has called us into a time of spiritual renewal; our relationships with other Christians continue to grow; we are renewing relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous people; we are making an important witness around matters of justice; we have a wonderful 25th anniversary to celebrate; and much more.

We invite your prayers for congregations and leaders preparing for convention; for the officers of the church; for NCC; and for all who will gather at our 2011 ELCIC National Convention in Saskatoon to consider the important matters set before us and to experience spiritual renewal.

Please consider the substance of this letter and take the opportunity to study the various documents to which this letter points. As you have opportunity, please take the time to offer a word of thanks to the many people who have sought to do the church’s work, on our behalf, between conventions.

Grace and peace to you.

National Church Council
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

Documents:
– A Letter to the Church from NCC: http://www.elcic.ca/Documents/NCCLettertotheChurch-April32011.pdf
– The Public Witness of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada: A Policy on How the Church Addresses Social Issues (1991): http://elcic.ca/Documents/ThePublicWitnessoftheEvangelicalLutheranChurchinCanada.pdf
– Proposed ELCIC Social Statement on Human Sexuality: http://elcic.ca/Human-Sexuality/documents/PROPOSEDELCICSocialStatementonHumanSexuality.pdf

—————————————————————–
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 152,500 baptized members in 607 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

Material provided through ELCIC Information is intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner they may find useful.

For more information, please contact:
Trina Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
204.984.9172
tgallop@elcic.ca

Subscribe or unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing info@elcic.ca with a short message.