Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lutherans Concerned ‘let justice roll’ during biennial conference

LC/NA's Emily Eastwood, Executive Director, and
Ross Murray, Deputy Director, address the assembly.

The August issue of the Metro Lutheran contains a story on the 2010 Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters conference and assembly held July 7-11 at Augsburg College in Minneapolis.

“We have been given a great evangelical opportunity,” Ross Murray, deputy director of LC/NA explained. “We have been given the opportunity to share about God’s love in Christ Jesus with people who have experienced barriers” to their participation in the church, he said. 
The Rev. Stephen Bouman, executive director of Evangelical Outreach and Congregational Mission for the ELCA, shared Murray’s excitement. “It is in mission that we can be one church,” Bouman stressed. He said that LC/NA can help focus the ELCA’s attention on “including people who have been left out.”
Eastwood said, “If we move to the center [of the church’s mission], we must ask ‘Who is still left out?’” She said that Lutherans Concerned brings gifts to its collaboration with the ELCA. “We bring rich grassroots organizing experience which understands how people create change.”
See the full story here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

From San Francisco, Two Joyous Events in One Day

Yesterday, following their Sunday worship service and fellowship meal that followed, the congregation of St. Francis Lutheran Church voted to begin the process of returning to the ELCA.

St. Francis had been dismissed from the ELCA in 1995 for having called Rev. Ruth Frost and Rev. Phyllis Zilhart, out lesbians in a committed relationship, as pastors.

Following the decisions of the 2009 Churchwide Assembly and subsequent actions by the ELCA Church Council that implemented the changed policy and removed the barriers to service by LGBT ministers in committed relationships, the Sierra Pacific Synod reached out to St. Francis, inquiring if St. Francis would like to return to the ELCA.

The vote Sunday was with a quorum present and passed with only 1 vote against. There was much jubilation. By this vote the congregation indicated that it wants to begin the process with the synod. Over the next months, the constitution of St. Francis will be brought into compliance with the Model Constitution for congregations, with those exceptions that pertain because they are a congregation of a predecessor body that merged to become part of the ELCA. The president of the council of St. Francis assured all the assembled that there would be "lavish communications" as the process runs.

The end of the process will occur at the Annual General Meeting of the congregation in January-February at which they will take a vote to complete the process by rejoining the ELCA or not.

And then, in the afternoon, at a wondrous service held in St. Mark's Lutheran Church, seven pastors on the Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries roster were received onto the roster of the ELCA: Rev. Paul Richard Brenner, Rev. Jeff Robert Johnson, Rev. Ross Donald Merkel, Rev. Craig Michael Minich, Rev. Dawn Marie Roginski, Rev. Megan Marie Rohrer and Rev. Sharon Sue Stalkfleet were received.

Bishop Mark Holmerud of the Sierra Pacific Synod presided. Also participating were Bishop Dean Nelson of the Southwest California Synod, Bishop David Brauer-Rieke of the Oregon Synod, Bishop Emeritus of Southwest California Synod Paul Egertson, Bishop Emeritus Stan Olson of Sierra Pacific Synod, and Bishop Marc Andrus of the Episcopal Diocese of California.

There were 675 people at the celebratory service, 275 more than the sanctuary holds, necessitating seating the overage in the fellowship hall with remote TV screens. Also, hundreds more watched from home via an live online video/audio feed.

The service was one of healing and reconciliation, magnificent music, extraordinary preaching by Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber of the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, one of remembering those who have gone before, and lifting up the ministry of the received pastors. For more details, please download a copy of the bulletin and sermon text.

The event was covered by the New York Times and the Associated Press.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Eucharist & Rite of Reception/Reinstatement for 7 Pastors

All are invited to participate in a celebration of the official recognition of the ministries of seven LGBT pastors in the ELCA. This service is an opportunity for reconciliation with Bishops, congregations, and all the faithful who will come together for the service.

The service takes place on Sunday, July 25, 2010, at 4:00 pm (Pacific) at the beautiful St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco.

If you are unable to attend in person, you can take part in the service live online.

Go here for more info.  And don't forget to give God the glory!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Reflections on Lutherans Concerned Assembly

A blogger at "Daring to Hope" reflects on her experience at Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters, the 2010 LC/NA and RIC Assembly, which took place last week at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Katelyn writes:
I came in as an empty glass ready to be filled. The assembly is not over yet, and I am already overflowing. I am overflowing with the love of God, a deep respect and reverence for this community, and a renewed sense of strength in the Lord. I am immersing myself in things new and foreign, and going in with an open, willing heart makes all the difference.
Katelyn will be attending Augsburg College as a first-year student in the fall. See the rest of the story here.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Argentina Legislature Recognizes Same-Gender Marriage

As soon as the president signs the bill, which she's fully expected to do, Argentina will be the first country in Latin America to legally recognize same-gender marriage.

We here at Lutherans Concerned/North America clap with joy at this news. Some of us may even be moved to do the tango.

Other countries recognizing same-gender marriage are: Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland.

Map used with permission, www.planiglobe.com

Friday, July 2, 2010

signing off (mostly) for next week

Hi all,
This is just a friendly message from the staff here at LCNA. We'll be pretty swamped working on Let Justice Roll next week, so posts and updates will be pretty scant. But we hope to have at least a few pictures and updates while we're there.

See you in Minneapolis!

Flash Mob!

Here's a message from our friends at That All May Freely Serve, the welcoming church movement of the Presbyterian church:

Always wanted to be a part of a Flash Mob?
Always wanted to make the world just a little bit better, and just a bit more welcoming for LGBT folks?
Always wondered what it would be like to make a Presbyterian smile?
We thought so.

During the week of July 3-10, That All May Freely Serve, an organization working for fairness and equality in the Presbyterian Church will be initiating several Flash Mob events. Join us at 2 pm Saturday, July 3rd, at the Wesley Church, 101 Grant Ave. next to the Convention Center in Minneapolis, to learn more.

For more info, email Jennifer.lauren.martin@gmail.com. Or check the blog at http://www.welcome-revolution.blogspot.com/.